As promised, this week, we’re bringing you our favourite birding moments of the year. As our regular readers will know, this has been a difficult year for us with Lee having a heart attack and major surgery – he was out of action for a while.
However, we’ve still managed to capture some amazing moments – often a surprise in an unexpected place, or something we were looking for and found, and which exceeded our expectations.
Some of our best spots have been very local, which has made them all the more special. Examples of this are the redwings we found down the river just a few yards from where we live.
It was also special to find goosanders on the local canal:
Lee was delighted to capture these rather beautiful bullfinches in our local park on one of his walks into town this week:
These striking birds are fairly common, but it’s always exciting to see them, especially so close to home.
Another favourite time for us was when we took a holiday at Barmston Beach on the East Yorkshire coast at Easter. We experienced sand martins flying over our heads on the beach every day.
We also had a trip to RSPB Bempton Cliffs and saw some amazing seabirds such as guillemots, razorbills, gannets and puffins.
We really enjoyed it and are looking forward to visiting again in 2018.
One of our first outings after Lee’s operation was to Harewood House in search of red kites. They did not disappoint, and it was certainly a spectacle to experience them soaring over our heads.
Another special time was when we spotted a great spotted woodpecker feeding its chick at the nest on a walk down the local canal. We stopped and watched it feeding for quite a while – this was the first time we’d watched a woodpecker chick being fed.
On our birding outings, we often stop to talk to people, who are sometimes interested in what we’re looking at. At one of our regular spots, we got talking to a lovely lady and her husband who lived in the village where we often go bird spotting. To their and our delight, they had spotted flycatchers nesting in their garden, and they invited us in to sit and watch them from a safe distance. They raised two broods this summer, and this was such a privilege to watch. We also made some lovely new friends!
I have to mention the bee eaters that nested in Nottinghamshire this year, although obviously it was regrettable that Lee was in hospital at the time and didn’t get to see them. Unfortunately they weren’t successful in raising young, but hopefully they will return in 2018.
Probably our best birding moment this year was the cuckoos, which sat on the grass in front of us! We’d been looking for them for ages, and they showed up and posed for photographs. What an honour!
This may only be topped by hearing a nightingale at Whisby on May Bank Holiday. Unfortunately we didn’t get a photo, but the sound was the most exquisite thing we’ve ever heard. To stand just a few feet away listening was truly awesome – it literally stopped us in our tracks!
So, as we end this year, there’s been a lot of good things to look back on despite the difficulties we’ve had. We look forward to sharing more exciting birding moments with you in 2018. Thanks for reading, and we wish you a Happy New Year!