Wednesday 8 May 2024


 * pops head round door *

Oh, hi. You still here? I've not been around much, one of those phases I'm afraid. We've been here before. They happen, they pass, they come round again. I've got loads to write, tons to say, lots to report. But I can't be bothered. Or at least not right now. The only reason I'm here typing this is because three milestones have recently been passed and I am nothing if not a numbers guy. Let's get right into it.

1) My 2024 World year list recently went through 500 with a Blue-winged Warbler in Arkansas. I know, who goes to Arkansas right? Well I did, and also to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois and Kentucky. An epic southern road trip last month. Will I ever write it up? Probably. This year? Seems unlikely y'all. 

2) I went to Scotland last weekend to stay with my parents. Owing to a communication failure it turns out that they weren't there so instead I just went birding. What a bummer. Mick joined me up there and on Saturday we had a big day - we managed over 100 species, not something I think I've ever done before. It turns out that I know the county well enough in terms of what's where to be pretty proficient at taking someone round. Everything just fell into place, Goldeneye were on two out of the three water bodies I thought they would still be on in early May. Raven were right where I knew they would be, as was Short-eared Owl. Goldcrest was in the exact tree I'd found one in before, and Garden Warbler was found in both spots where I thought there would be potential. That kind of thing. Probably not that impressive if you live there, but I live in London. But even though Saturday was a nice round number that's not the milestone I'm talking about. That milestone is 200 for Fife. I couldn't quite manage it in February, with a Waxwing and Bearded Tit leaving me on 199, but a lovely Red-breasted Flycatcher at Kilminning on Friday evening became my 200th bird. Shortly afterwards, and at the same site, Pied Flycatcher became my 201st. I've been knocking on this particular door for some time now and it was great to finally get over the line. 

3) As the points above probably make clear, I've not spent every single waking hour in Wanstead. But such is my dedication, ahem, that this afternoon a Hobby became my 100th bird of 2024 for the local patch. Barring 2021 which will never happen again, this is actually the earliest I've reached this milestone, beating 2020 by a day! 

So a lot of nice round numbers. 500, 200 and 100. I need to have a look around and see if I am close to any others. Anyway, that was it. As you were. Bye now.

The incomparable Ruddon's Point and Largo Bay. Note the discarded camera....