This year, I was determined that there would be none of this stupidity, none of this weakness. As such, I started out with no goals, no predetermined targets. I will see what I see, I said. My love-hate relationship with twitching also started off at a new low, though a Lesser White-fronted Goose on Jan 2nd tells another story. Largely I have stuck true to my word, though why I deemed a trip to Landguard for a Short-toed Treecreeper necessary I really have no idea - the one trip, which despite the tick, I still feel embarrassed about. Rubbish, and then some. As the year progressed, I became progressively more twitchy, which culminated in not one but two trips to Scilly, finally paying me back for an entire week in 2009 where all I saw was a crappy Radde's Warbler.
I have of course, despite any protestations to the contrary, been keeping a year list all along. Well, not keeping one as such, but at any point in the year I could have told you how many. Does that count as not keeping one? I think it does. Anyhow, I reckon the year's birding is basically done, and so I am proud (er, maybe) to be able to announce that my 2011 year list is on a whopping 271. This strikes me as quite a lot, particularly given my stated intentions, for it puts my just outside the top ten on Bubo, and if you look at what I have not seen, I suspect I could very easily sneak in. I won't of course, I can't be bothered, but it does show that if you twitch a few things, and it doesn't have to be very many, your incidental count of birds will be surprisingly high.
I twitched about twenty birds this year, and dipped just one - an extremely uncooperative (though previously highly cooperative) Great Snipe at Cley. By the time I got there, it was bored of all the tape recordings and had buggered off to the far side of the marsh, where it remained until after I left. Such is life, but on the whole my approach to twitching is so tempered in sensibleness that I very rarely dip. This is great, as dipping sucks. It means I'll never have the enormous list that those who drop everything at the slightest hint of a possible have, but it ensures an almost one hundred percent happy outcome.
So, 271 birds, and very nice they were too. More interesting is what I didn't see. Birds you would think would be absolute gimmes that any birder worth his salt would see at least once a year. Here is the roll of shame.
Black-throated Diver, Little Auk, Long-eared Owl, Bewick's Swan, Scaup, Grey Partridge, Turtle Dove, Little Owl, Dipper, Willow Tit, Water Pipit.