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.
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:
TOTALS TO DATE:
Birds = 226
Moths = 255
Wildflowers = 290