Another year over, and here are some of my best bits birding in 2014.
My first trip out was just down the road from home, to see a Glossy Ibis, although this was not a new species for me, it was a scarcity for Bedfordshire.
In Feb' Sarah and I along with friends, Mark,Gill,Jill, travelled to Extramadura to visit our friend Neil and get in some fantastic birding. The weather was awful, with rain and flooding! But the one day we were graced with sunny skies turned out to be on the day we needed it most...a trip to Monfrague for the vultures...wow. Even though the weather was bad and most of the birding was done from the car, the abundance of bird species was overwhelming with goodies like these below.
Iberian Grey Shrike
Spanish Imperial Eagle
Blue Rock Thrush
Great Spotted Cuckoo
And not forgetting the White Storks, below was where we connected with Alpine Accentor, the weather had closed in so bad the visibility was very bad and raining too.
A trip into Cambridgeshire at Fen Drayton for the stunning Baikal Teal.
June was a month of Mega's and firsts. A journey down to Ashdown Forest for the awesome Short Toed Eagle. After a 3 hour search and wait it finally gave itself up.
Second Mega of the month was my first Spectacled Warbler, my Dad and I got soaked twitching this, despite the forecast as being dry! Still worth it though.
A great trip to Blows Down in Bedfordshire for the county's first ever Barred Warbler.
My first ever Masked Shrike, my Dad and I travelled to Spurn for this gem of a Mega.
A short trip for myself and Sarah to Norfolk gave us this lovely Rose coloured Starling.
This was a busy month, and what better way to start it than with a very showy Hoopoe, and just a short drive from home. It stayed at Willington, Bedfordshire long enough to delight many birders.
Sarah and I spent quite a lot of time in Norfolk this month and were rewarded handsomely.
This Red Flanked Bluetail put in a few appearances but was very elusive.
And a added bonus whilst looking for the Bluetail, was this Long eared Owl.
Our next great bird was a Raddes Warbler at Wells Woods, our stay in Norfolk was turning out to be a memorable one, with a calling Yellow Browed Warbler showing itself briefly right outside where we were staying in Cromer.
A Grey Phalarope posed for a few pics at Cley.
Our last day in Norfolk and joined by my Mum and Dad, we walked out to the shoreline to see the Surf Scoter.
Although this was a sight seeing tour of Rome, I had to mention the birds we encountered. With Yellow Legged Gulls all over the place and very close too, other birds noted were Hooded Crows, Parakeets loudly calling all over the place, Italian Sparrows, a most enjoyable trip, and a place I shall return to.
Bringing us to the last month of 2014 and after a nightshift I drove to Boyton Marshes in Suffolk for the "presumed escape" Trumpeter Swans. As a lot of birders had no doubt done, this was more of an insurance tick just in case by chance they were accepted onto the British list. Being unringed and turning up after a Winter Bomb, with no place declaring any missing surely they warrant a better chance than normal?
And to the final stunner of the year, and also turning up in Bedfordshire close to home, a lovely Penduline Tit. Sarah and I visited Meadow Lane GP's on the afternoon of the 29th and immediately were graced with great views of this bird. The next, very cold, morning I returned to Meadow lane and after some time it finally showed itself only for it to then fly off high south east and not return.
A great end to the year birding wise, and I cant forget other great non avian sights such as the Fallow Deer rutting in Norfolk, or the butterfly searching around Bedfordshire, lets hope 2015 is even more successful.
Happy New Year to you all.