Started the year with a lot of local birding and it was a local bird which took the highlight of the month. The Little Bunting at Bexley was a surprise and a lovely start to the year.
Sue and I spent an early weekend birding in the area around Abberton in Essex. It was a great weekend and we saw a very good selection of birds, but my highlight of the month was the White Stork at Tilbury.
Looking back over the records for March, I spent a very wet and unproductive few days on the Hampshire coast and visited Dungeness, where we briefly saw Glossy Ibis, and Rye Harbour but could not find a bird that was really a highlight.
Early April saw Sue and I make a weekend trip to Suffolk and Norfolk. Again the weather was not helpful but the highlight of the trip was a Common Crane which flew past the obs window, about 4 feet from the windows! I have never been so close to this most spectacular of birds. It was all over before I could even reach for the camera but here is a picture I found to give you an idea.
May saw trips to Lea valley, Rainham marshes, Thurrock & Tilbury, and amongst local birding a trip to.Regents Park to ‘hear’ Iberian Chiffchaff. My highlight was a Cuckoo seen at Rye Meads in the Lea valley
Trips this month included the River Medway estuary, 5 days in Dorset, and a day in Norfolk. Despite all the good birds seen in Dorset, my highlight of the month has to be the Bee-eaters that bred at Trimmingham Gravel pits in Norfolk.
July saw trips to the Lea valley, Staines Reservoir and a chance to do some birding in Yorkshire whilst visiting friends there. Staines deserves a mention, it is not often you can record 4 species of Grebe in the same place on the same day. But the highlight of the month has to be Black-browed Albatross at Bempton in Yorkshire. It was only a distant view but a magnificent bird.
This month included a trip to Knepp to see the nesting White Storks, a 5-day trip to Sandwich Bay observatory, a visit to Thurrock on the Thames estuary. So many birds here that could have been voted the highlight. The breeding White Storks, were a contender along with Spotted Redshank, Wheatears and Pied flycatchers at Sandwich Bay but in the end, I chose the Moths seen at Sandwich, not because any were rare but because of their diversity.
Our main holiday was in Cheshire this year and a chance to explore some new birding spots. Strong contenders for the highlight were Pectoral Sandpiper, Chough, and the torrent of Curlew Sandpipers that seemed to be everywhere we went. But the highlight was the American Golden Plover at Seaforth. The Seaforth bird was beginning to lose the black on the belly but it was still stunning.
September also saw a day trip to Minsmere in Suffolk which was disappointingly quiet, by its usual standards.
October was mostly local birding with a weekend trip to Northumbria. although we expected some good birds, little did we know what we would experience. This was the weekend of the Pallid swift invasion, when a large flock of these Meditteranean birds were blown up the North sea and were seen along the east coast of England and on the channel coast of Europe. It is impossible to know how many birds were involved but at least 100 would not be far away I think. Anyway, we probably saw 1 or 2 on a wet windy Saturday at Alnmouth but our views were not clear enough to be sure. thankfully we did catch up with them again on Sunday, when in sunlight it was much easier to see the necessary plumage details.
The month saw a day trip to Rye Harbour and Lymphne where we picked up an easy UK Lifer in the Sabines Gull at Port Lymphne. We drove into the car park and the bird was just walking around on the grass about 2 foot from our car! Later in the month wee had a few days in Norfolk which produced some good birds but my highlight of the month was the seals at Horsey Gap.
The final month of the year was a quiet one and bad weather and other commitments restricted me to local birding. In total in 2022 I recorded 195 species of Birds, 8 species of Bee, 23 species of Butterfly, 23 species of Moth and 14 species of Dragonfly. 2023 is going to be the year of the invertebrate and I am already making plans for the places I am going to visit as I seek to increase both my recording and knowledge of Bees, Butterflies, Dragonflies as well as other invertebrates.
My thanks to Sue, my wife and to Andrew and Nicole without whom I could not have made some of these trips away from London and to Keith for his companionship on some of the trips in London and Kent.