This year I had some great birding highlights, seeing a total of 170 species in the UK (depending on classification of some hybrids and subspecies). It would be hard to ignore the common nighthawk in Wantage as the highlight due to its undeniable rarity. However, I probably enjoyed some of my other lifers throughout the year even more, such as the waxwings found just outside of Edinburgh; the European bee-eater seen during a very drizzly trip to Portland Bird Observatory; and the Siberian chiffchaff seen within Oxford at Port Meadow.
For 2023, I've decided to take part in the Patchwork Challenge, where I'll focus on a local area less than 3km^2 and see how many species I can record across the year. I've chosen a patch within Oxford that includes the river Cherwell, with areas of floodplain, as well as agricultural land and small pockets of woodland.
I had a great time at the British Ecological Society's annual meeting this year in Edinburgh, where I was presenting on some of my PhD research while also learning about some great ecological and evolutionary research conducted by others! I was also lucky to go up a couple of days early for some birding, where I saw 73 species including 8 lifers (pink-footed goose, common eider, velvet scoter, common scoter, long-tailed duck, red-breasted merganser, Slavonian grebe & waxwing). The reserve at Musselburgh was an excellent coastal site, with various sea-ducks bobbing around the choppy waves, while hoards of waders could be watched piping around the mouth of the river Esk. My highlight has to be the moderate flock of waxwings which were feeding quite happily on a residential street in Portobello.
A blog of my ideas, photography and research of the natural world.