Well its that time of year again when i look back on my last years birding with fond memories , 2012 did not produce lots of lifers for me , i only had 4 Lifers and a year list of 226 . However i did see some amazing birds and had some great trips , here is a review of 2012 and i have added a picture of my bird of the month ( where possible ) .
JANUARY Year list : 105
Many highlights this month including : Western Sandpiper , Coues Arctic Redpoll , Ring Necked Duck , Ferruginus Duck and Dark Eyed Junco . However the bird of the month for me came in my first lifer of the year , a quite stunning male Spanish Sparrow .
Male Spanish Sparrow in Hampshire.
FEBRUARY Year List : 118 .
I added 13 year ticks this month , the main event happened in Wales with quite simply fantastic views of a 1st winter male Common Yellowthroat , this was not a lifer for me but was most definitely bird of the month , i also saw a male Lesser Scaup nearby .
Male Lesser Scaup.
And bird of the month.
1st Winter Common Yellowthroat.
MARCH Year List : 134
16 year ticks added this month , highlights included Common Crane , Garganey , Dartford Warbler , Richards Pipit and brief views of a Humes Yellow Browed Warbler, However although not the rarest bird i saw this month i have chosen the two Glossy Ibis that i saw at Radipole Lake in Dorset as my bird of the month .
Two Glossy Ibis .
APRIL Year List : 167
I added 33 year ticks this month and i had an amazing trip to Scotland to thank for that, many highlights this month including all the Scottish speciality's plus King Eider , Hoopoe , Iceland Gull and Greater Yellowlegs ,i had a lot to choose from for my bird of the month and i finally chose this amazing Capercallie .
Male Capercallie .
MAY Year List : 191
24 year ticks added this month , May never disappoints and this year was no different , waders were well represented with good views of Kentish Plover , Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint , i also had superb views of a Nightjar in broad daylight at Pagham , plus great views of 2 adult summer plumage White Winged Black Terns at Stodmarsh .
White Winged Black Tern at Stodmarsh
However my bird of the month was an adult summer plumage Squacco Heron at Chew Valley Lake in Somerset.
Squacco Heron in Somerset .
JUNE Year List : 199
Another 8 year ticks added this month with good views of , Night Heron , Woodlark and Goshawk , however i have chosen two species as my birds of the month , they are both predominately black and white in colouration and both species have long legs and bills , and they are Black Winged Stilt and my second lifer of the year 3 Whites Storks in Sussex .
Black Winged Stilt .
3 White Storks .
JULY Year List : 200
Only 1 year tick this month and that was at Oare Marshes in Kent and that was two smart Wood Sandpipers .
Two Wood Sandpiper.
AUGUST Year List : 203.
Only 3 year ticks this month all at Dungeness in Kent which were Arctic Tern , Arctic Skua and my bird of the month Little Gull .
Little Gull .
SEPTEMBER Year List : 218
This was an amazing month with top quality birds seen through out , starting with my third lifer of the year in the form of a Short Billed Dowitcher in Dorset where i also saw a Monarch .
I also had great views of a male Red Footed Falcon in Chichester plus a smart looking Baillons Crake at Rainham Marshes in Essex.
Baillons Crake .
However the highlight of the month was on my trip to Shetland when i finally connected with a quite stunning Lanceolated Warbler which was my fourth and final lifer of the year , other highlights this month included : Little Bunting , Common Rosefinch and Red Backed Shrike .
Lanceolated Warbler .
OCTOBER Year List : 225
7 year ticks added this month all of top quality , starting off with an adult Red Breasted Goose at South Swale , then Reculver produced Dusky Warbler , Lapland Bunting and Shorelark , however a trip to Norfolk on the 25 th was amazing with thousands of thrushes everywhere , i also added Arctic Warbler and Ring Ouzel to my year list on this trip but the bird of the month was an amazing view of a very special bird indeed and that was a Red Flanked Bluetail .
Red Flanked Bluetail .
NOVEMBER Year List : 225
No birding this month with work and other commitments getting in the way so year list still stands at 225 .
DECEMBER Year List : 226
Only one year tick this month and that was Waxwing with 35 birds seen near Yorketts on the 2nd and a further 20+ birds seen near my local Tescos on the 24 th increasing to 50 + birds on the 29th , other than that a trip to Oare Marshes produce excellent views of a Kingfisher , however bird of the month goes to Waxwing.