The birds that got away

Today we headed away from Wells on our way to Scotland – where we started this blog 362 days ago! We’re stopping the night at Gretna Green on the Scottish border and heading up the remaining way to our house near Insch tomorrow. On the journey I was musing about the birds I hadn’t seen, although I have to admit – as I’ve mentioned before – that 2023 has been amazing: I got to 200 species much sooner than I had expected, and to now be on 231 at the end of the year is more than I had hoped for.

Looking at the list I made – with tentative “how likely” scores – at the beginning of the year I’ve had to add 15 species that I didn’t put on the list at all, and I’ve seen all the species I put down as “most likely” (1) except for Bewick’s swan. This is unexpected as I would normally see some on visits to Welney or similar wetland habitats in winter, but I just haven’t managed to see any this year.

Other than that the main missing species are woodcock, whimbrel, whinchat (obviously I have a problem with W’s!) and I might have hoped to catch golden eagle, black grouse and at least one species of skua. Beyond that it’s a little bit the luck of the draw (or the amount of twitching I’m prepared to do!).

A pair of whimbrel – one of the birds that “got away” in 2023! (photo taken in 2013)

The two that maybe got away were definitely corn bunting – which I heard at Frampton Marsh but failed to see – and Dartford warbler, which eluded me despite several visits to Kelling Heath where there are definitely some resident birds.

Overall though an amazing year for me for birds!

No new species for December 28th:

Birds = 231
Moths = 259
Wildflowers = 291