Friday, 8 January 2021

2020 a very strange year

2020 Round up

Species Highlights: 
Raven, Snow Bunting, Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull, Whooper swan, Greater Skua, Arctic skua, Dartford Warbler, Wilsons Phalarope, many more

Bit of a round of that crazy year of 2020, I know Pandemic is not over yet! But this is what we did surprisingly despite Locksdowns and many things canceled.
We spent New Year's Eve in /Iceland and what an amazing trip it was with the largest fireworks display I've ever seen.

The birds were a little different to start the year list Raven being the first followed by Eider and Glaucous Gull in Reykjav√≠k A great start to the year. 

This was the Hire car that took us across Iceland to Kirkjufell Mountain.

Kirkjufell Mountain the most photographed mountains in Iceland, the area around was pretty devoid of birds but Snow Bunting were feeding along the roadside. 

Back home and the Listing started Barrow Tanks becoming a tradition with Great northern diver and Long-tailed duck, back home just 500yds from my house and just outside patch a lone Parrakeet.

Chew Valley Lake becoming a great place to catch up with Bearded Tits, seen or heard almost every time this year.

A trip into Wiltshire and my favorite Little spot for a few ticks, Tree Sparrow

Corn bunting, Yellowhammer and Short-eared Owls just a short distance away.

Little did we know these would be the owly shorties of the year.

No year would be complete without a visit to the levels for a Starling or 2!

Try counting this lot!!

On the 25/01 we'd had a few days in Lisbon Portugal mainly sightseeing but a few birds along the way.

Castelo dos Mouros or Moors Castle Sintra fabulous veiws.

Spotless Starling from the battlements.

In Lisbon itself people everywhere and the beautiful Crested Myna has made its home here.

Staying a bit local after Lisbon and Blackcap on the home feeders.

The Whooper was still present, he/she arrived on 31/10/2019 it was now February.

Visit to Devon, Brixton The Turnstones so friendly kept coming to close!

Cirl bunting a top little bird.

Even managed to find a Black Redstar, it was raining heavily in this shot. 

Arriving home this Sparrowhawk was looking for its lunch. 
What a beauty.

Into March and had to go for these beautiful birds, Waxwing, near Worcester.

With the pandemic looming and lockdown on the cards, staying local was imminent and my Newton Park Lake was shut due to Dam Work!! NO !!!

We were still allowed to travel so a trip to Chew valley lake and caught up with the Great-crested Grebe mating rituals.

The following day we made a dash for the Forest of Dean Great Grey Shrike in perfect light.

Was a great trip with my first ever Adder.

Marsh Tits from Cannop ponds are always good.

Lockdown was now in effect meaning no travel and only exercise locally. So I built a Moth trap, I can recommend this a great way to spend a few months!!

Spending more time in the garden, put up feeders and perches.

O, and built a hide, worked well but not the number of birds I would like, my cat was not happy and watched me from the kitchen window!

Did get Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, Crow, Blackcap, and all the Tits visiting most days.

Walking locally came across this Green woodpecker.

Wheatear from a walk to Lansdown with Garden Warbler and even Lesser Whitethroats.

Back on the patch and River Avon the regular Sedge warblers

The countryside looking fabulous this time of year.

My Moth trap not just attracting Moth, every night frogs from my pond sat near or even on the trap!

21 May a Collared Pratincole turned up at Pilling Wetlands, travel advice was to stay local and be aware so face masks on we headed for a twitch.

A real delight was finding a Spotted Flycatcher nest on my patch, I watched many times and saw 4 birds with juveniles too.

Travel was now allowed so our the first trip of the year to Weymouth, mainly for butterflies but birds high on the agenda, Common Tern at Lodmoor.

Butterflies ticked and next a real surprise was this high up, but a Uk tick for us both a  Honey Buzzard.

Another Garden visitor this Male Great Spotted Woodpecker.

On my lonesome made a trip to Devon for Heath Fritillaries and stopped on my way home for this lovely Rosy Starling, my first!

I arrived home and Lauren was itching to get to Chew Valley Lake for this distant Red-Necked Phalarope, another lifer.

My Butterflies always take priority this time of year, I normally spend a few days in the Lake District but this year was different and a day trip was all I could do, but a great trip was had.

Large Heath, Northern Brown Argus, and unfortunately I missed the Mountain Ringlet, this year, I walked Irton fell until dark with no joy drove home a little disappointed.

Disappointment didn't last long as the Red-footed Falcon turned up in Somerset a few days later, what a bird.

The garden still doing the business and Bullfinches looking beautiful.

While doing a patch walk came across this stunner a Lunar Moth just sat on the road!

It's not just Moths in the Garden during my moth nights up to 3 Hedgehogs keep me company.

Greenfinches on our feeders bringing their young.

21/07/2020 we managed to get down to Cornwall for a few days, doing Penzance, Lands End, St. Ives, Sennan Cove a few birds, and even a boat trip.
Manx Shearwater, Dolphins, Fulmar, Gannet, Guillemot and a very grey day on the Mermaid Boat.

Into July and patch walk with this Grey Heron looking splendid on the top lake.

Another Lockdown trip to Scotland, a £30 Easy jet flight, and a cheap hire car, a superb trip all within the lockdown rules I might add, Black Gullimott in Oban.

Glenfinnan Viaduct, yes on route to Harry Potter school.

this Red Dear stag oblivious to our presence.

Did the John o Groats thing and walked along to Duncansby Stacks, the best place ever!!
Great Skua in good numbers, Fulmar,  Gannet, Kittiwake.

Spent a couple of hours here watching the amazing birdlife Arctic Skua-Parasitic jaeger too, dive-bombing the incoming Puffins and other seabirds.

Puffins watching on disappearing into their holes when threatened.

The Weather changed and drizzle and heavy rain for the last 2 days of the trip but with 2 bird lifers, then  Scotch Argus, Northern Damselflies added to my tick list it was all good!

A trip to Cheddar proofed successful with this tiny Grey Phalarope showing down to inches as they do.

Dropped into Marshfield on way home and even got a Red-backed Shrike a Uk lifer for us both.

A trip down to Chew Valley was a cracker with Hobbies zipping past and even sat on the ground checking for one he'd dropped.

Always take lots of pictures of these fantastic birds, love them.

Normally sat on my own, just me and the birds, best time ever!

 Even got my last butterfly of the year taking me to 57 species, Long-tailed Blue, Brighton. 

Restrictions lifted slightly we booked a holiday to Kos, Greece.
Long-Legged Buzzard was almost my first bird of the trip
Ive done a trip report if you'd like to look at more detail.

Kos report

Little-ringed Plover on the Salt Lake

Greater Flamingo

The bird I really wanted was the Roller and searched for the whole week, every day and the last day, Bosh!!

Back home, Cattle Egrets at Chew Valley, how long before one on the patch?

Feeders getting very busy with goldfinch wars every day.

a Wilsons Phalarope had turned up at Keyhaven marshes a lifer for us both so headed down on a twitch

2 Grey Phalaropes also present.

While leaving the site heard then this little cracker popped up Dartford Warbler.

Went for a walk on Sailsbury Plain had an amazing flypast from this Great Bustard, had Tree sparrow and Red Kites also.

Lockdown being stricter we managed a walk to Seven Beach to see this Snow Bunting.(Mother in Law moving house so a stopped off on the way home to see this bird keeping within the rules)

Back on Patch had this Brown Hare ran across a field and stop within a few feet of me!

Home feeders our first Blackcap of the year.

Tier's now introduced for Covid but Somerset was in our tier so a trip to Steart Marshes for the Eastern Yellow Wagtail, life tick with Hen Harries male and female seen, a good trip

Christmas fast approaching and Bath looking great, very different to last year with the Christmas market canceled.

A  Rosy-billed Pochard turned up on the top Lake, shame it not a tick, but think it's the bird from Victoria park Bath its has been there a while, it stayed 2 days on NSL and has now returned to victoria park.

Redwing in the Garden.

The Red Kites on the patch showing very well.

My watchpoint is a great spot to see other wildlife too with this always present Kestrel.

Last picture of the year this lovely Stonechat had 9 a record this year for the patch.

Newton St. Loe patch ended on 87 species with 2 new ticks Reed Bunting & Green Sandpiper

So that was 2020, a good year apart from the obvious Covid19 thing, thought by end of the year it would be ending but it's now 2021 and the 3rd lockdown is in effect! looking now like March 2021, but at least we now have a vaccine so we wait patiently to return to whatever normal is. 
Thanks for all your support, and a happy 2021 to everyone Stay safe.

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