Thursday, 14 January 2016

Review of 2015!

2015 has been a year focused on patching, visiting new sites nearby, but also trying to get the Life List up. Dad and I also visited the Birdfair at Rutland Water for the first time, where I had a great time helping the BTO promote the Young Birder's Membership with Toby Carter and Evie Miller. (if interested, click the link -

In total, I got 225 for the British Year List, which contained 12 Lifers.I will run through each month of the year...

January - Year List 123, Lifers 0

The New Years Day bird race got 2015 under way in Norfolk with 89 species to start the year off with a bang. Highlights from the North Norfolk Coast were White-fronted Goose, Twite, Hen Harrier and Rough-legged Buzzard. The real highlight of January were the Shorelarks at Covehithe, and Snow Buntings and Twite at Dunwich which we saw on the 4th.

February - Year List 151, Lifers 5!

On the 1st, we got some Waxwings in Ipswich, taken in very poor light from the car.

February also featured our winter trip to mainland Scotland, where I got 5 Lifers out of the target 6, Capercaillie the bird we didn't see. The Lifers were Harlequin Duck, American Wigeon, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse and Red Grouse. Did also get self-found Glaucous Gull and Crested Tit...

March - Year List 159, Lifers 1

On the 1st, we got a Great Grey Shrike down at Hollesley with a Spoonbill and Dartford Warbler, and then in the brecks we added Firecrest, Stone-curlew, Caspian Gull and Wheatear on the 22nd. Also during March, we added Lesser-spotted Woodpecker at an undisclosed site. This was the best ever view I'd had of this species... 

At the end of March, I bagged another Lifer, where I managed to re-locate an ICELAND GULL in the pig fields at Great Livermere! No pictures unfortunately, but a great bird!

April - Year List 181, Lifers 0

The summer migrants started to come through in April, with 22 year ticks. No rarities, but Bean Goose, Black Redstart, Jack Snipe, Water Pipit, Mandarin and patch Yellow Wagtail the highlights...

May - Year List 194, Lifers 1

Little Bittern undoubtedly the highlight of the month being a lifer at Lakenheath Fen on the 27th May after a 5 hour wait, but unfortunately, not great pictures were obtained.

Other highlights were Red-necked Grebe at Livermere Lake on the 25th, Red-necked Phalarope at Minsmere on the 24th, and Great White Egret and great views of Bearded Tit also at Minsmere on the 28th.

June - Year List 200, Lifers 0

A quieter month was June, with only 6 year ticks, in the form of Nightjar, Tree Pipit, Garganey, Arctic Tern, Gannet, but best of all HONEY-BUZZARD which was over my house!

Was very happy to see my Honey-buzzard got accepted by the Suffolk Rarities Committee, but was gutted I couldn't get any pics as it all happened a bit quick!

Didn't take any pictures of the year ticks this month, so will swiftly move on to July...

July - Year List 203, Lifers 1

July was a brilliant month. Only 3 year ticks, but 1 of which was a LIFER, and the other 2 were a couple of my favourite birds. Long-eared Owl was the 1st year tick on the 3rd at a undisclosed site, followed by the amazing BEE-EATERS at Theberton (LIFER) on the 9th...

The months other year tick was a Black-necked Grebe at Great Livermere on the 17th. Did get Caspian Gull at Walberswick, and Black-tailed Godwit on the patch during July.

August - Year List 209, Lifers 0

The month got off to a great start in the form of a patch lifer, an Osprey! It had present for a couple of days, and we picked it up over Needham town Centre! So there I was, in the middle of a town of busy shoppers, with a telescope, looking at a bird! Loved it...

August was the month of the Birdfair, where I added Wood Sandpiper and Black Tern, and later in the month of the 27th, we added Pied Flycatcher and Whinchat from Winterton

September - Year List 215, Lifers 1

The first year tick in September came in the form of a Red-backed Shrike at Minsmere, along with my best views of migrant Redstarts too, and a couple of Whinchats were present too on the 2nd...

On the 13th, we got some views of a White-winged Black Tern at Filby Broad, but I say some as it was torrential rain, and the bird was very distant, so the views were awful. I finally added Shag from Winterton on the 13th too. The LIFER of the month came in the form of a cracking Red-breasted Flycatcher which was trapped and ringed on Orfordness on the 27th.

(pic by David Walsh)

Also got Short-eared Owl on Orfordness on the 27th. The last tick hoewever was 2 Yellow-browed Warblers at Landguard on the 28th...

October - Year List 216, Lifers 1

As the year starts to come to an end, year ticks are harder to find, but LIFERS are easier, so this month, we managed a Lifer, in the form of a cracking male Siberian Stonechat at Caister! It showed really well, providing good comparison with the nearby stonechats...

November - Year List 223, Lifers 0

Good sea-watching conditions approached on the weekend of the 22nd, so Dad and I went to Sheringham, where we added 7 year ticks: Grey Phalarope, Little Auk, Great-northern Diver, Bonxie, Slavonian Grebe, Purple Sandpiper and Velvet Scoter. No pics, but a good haul for my first ever sea-watch.

December - Year List 225, Lifers 2

A class month, with Cattle Egret being a LIFER at Sea Palling on the 28th...

And then brief and distant views of a Pallid Harrier at Flitcham on the 31st, but we did see it better earlier this year, but I will do a post on that soon.

Thanks for reading, sorry its a bit long but hope you enjoyed it!

Happy Birding!


  1. Congrats on a great years birding , very good photos to Ben.

  2. Thats a good list - and I think there is only one bird in this post I have any chance of seeing!

    If you are interested I run a bird-blog 'link up' on my photo-blog called "Wild Bird Wednesday" where bird bloggers can add a thumb nail link from their blog to a weekly post on my blog - at present about 50 bloggers join in - but I would always like more! Hope to see a link!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne, Australia