Friday 30 December 2022

Reflections on 2022

Wet and windy, mild - This afternoon I had a run out with my Apprentice Birder, in less than favourable weather conditions. Much of the birding was carried out from the car due to the heavy rain; some of the lanes were flooded and almost impassable, however we still managed to rattle up a respectable 56 species in three hours (he does love a list!). The highlights were: a mixed flock of 47 Bewick`s, two Whoopers and five Mute Swans near Hawthorn Corner, several Cattle Egrets from the Lydd Road, a ringtail Hen Harrier over Burrowes and a cracking view of a Goldcrest by the bird feeders; the sea also delivered Kittiwake, Gannet and Red-throated Diver. The rain did ease off enabling a thorough look through the Teal flock on Burrowes for the Green-winged but without success. So, an excellent afternoon of bonding with the lad then, amid the realisation that my aging eyesight cannot compete with that of a 12 year old! 

                                   Birding from the comfort of the VC!

Looking back over 2022 there were many highlights during the birding and guiding year across Dungeness and the Romney Marsh. My personal year list reached a modest 210 species as I missed a few rarities such as the Caspian Tern, R-b flicker and Pallas`s Warbler. For me the year will be remembered for the drought conditions that resulted in record numbers (certainly in my time at least) of waders across the peninsula of 34 species, including several Pectoral Sandpipers and Temminck`s Stints, Purple Sandpiper, Grey and Red-necked Phalaropes; but the flocks of Curlew and Wood Sandpipers, Little Stints and Greenshanks was quite staggering. Seawatching also produced the goods in both spring (Poms and Garganeys) and autumn (Sooties, Puffins and Little Auk) .Sadly though both migrant and resident passerines continue to decline rapidly across the board; Redstart and Tree Pipit have attained near sub-rarity status, while the likes of Tree Sparrow, Corn Bunting and Greenfinch are on last knockings. Anyhow, onwards and upwards and here`s to a New Year full of birding surprises, hopefully!


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