Mulling over my list

Sadly this was another rainy day in Scotland for me and a similar (but busier) one for Brenda down south!

I was mulling over the bird numbers as we are rapidly approaching the end of the year (no – I won’t mention Christmas, though I note that shops are already doing displays!). When I started the blog my UK life list (the number of distinct bird species that I have seen within the UK in my life time – which is basically from about 1976 when I started birding) was standing at 281. As I wrote at the time I had the thought that I might possibly get to 300 by the end of 2023, but actually – since I only historically add maybe 2-5 species a year in recent times – this seemed a bit unlikely.

But the act of actively going out and birding much more in 2023 than I have done previously has resulted in many more new sightings than I expected, and the UK list is now currently on 297. Of the 16 new species several were “blockers” that I really should have seen earlier, but just hadn’t put the effort in. Species like goshawk, Lapland bunting, water pipit, velvet scoter, woodlark and pied flycatcher.

An excuse to re-use a woodlark photo from earlier in 2023 – a species that I was absolutely delighted to finally see!

Others are fairly regular visitors to the UK which I had failed to connect with, such as long-billed dowitcher, pallid harrier and Kentish plower, whilst others – like Hume’s warbler and Pallas’ leaf warbler – were species which weren’t really even on my limited bird radar!

And then this year there were the species that came to the UK in large numbers and surprised everyone – alpine swift and night heron.

Whether or not I can get the UK list to 300 (a modest list by serious birder standards of course!) by 31st December is a leading question: The only really obvious addition would be Dartford warbler, which I keep looking for at Kelling Heath. This plus a couple of passing rarities, or passing seabirds (little auk, pomarine skua and others) would do the trick.

I live in hope!

No new species for October 29th:

Birds = 226
Moths = 255
Wildflowers = 290