The year 2013 has been a very enjoyable one. It began well in early January when two lifers were had in one day. A Bonaparte’s Gull was seen at Ogmore-by-Sea and a short while later a Black-Necked Grebe was seen at Kenfig Pool.
A few quieter months followed, with the only bird of note being a male Lesser Scaup – my fourth – at Bryn Bach Park in north Gwent.
A male Woodchat Shrike was seen at Kenfig NR in late May. In July, a Pectoral Sandpiper was seen briefly at the Newport Wetlands, and then a holiday in Scotland in August proved productive. Species such as Dotterel, Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill were had as well as finally catching up with my longest standing bogey bird – Golden Eagle. Also, a visit to Northumberland produced Little Tern, and a single Roseate Tern was seen briefly at North Queensferry in Lothian. A Wood Sandpiper was seen at Newport Wetlands in late August.
A Wryneck was seen at the same location in early September. A Pied Flycatcher was seen near my home which took my patch list to a total of eighty, before I birded it for the last time before leaving for University. A week spent in Cornwall and on the Scillies in late September produced some good species the best of which are shown below:
Self-found Great Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Balearic Shearwater, Storm-Petrel, American Golden Plover, Buff-Breasted Sandpiper, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Yellow-Legged Gull, Citrine Wagtail, Red-Backed Shrike and Rose-Coloured Starling.
Then I began birding my new (University) patch near Swansea and several Chough and Dark-Bellied Brent Geese were enjoyed. Also, a twitch to Rhaslas Pond provided cracking views of a juvenile Long-Billed Dowitcher. After dipping several birds in a row (including the Two-Barred Crossbills in the Forest of Dean), it looked as though the year would end poorly.
However, on the first day of my christmas holiday a superb first-winter Desert Wheatear was enjoyed at point blank range at Severn Beach.
Then, a short one day visit to the Edinburgh area produced another lifer in the form of a female King Eider at distance near Eyebroughy. Also seen that day were species such as Long-Tailed Duck, Red-Breasted Merganser and Purple Sandpiper. The following day, a stop at Caerlaverock WWT on the way home produced some good species including a drake Green-Winged Teal, another bogey bird of mine. Also present were a first-winter drake Scaup, many Barnacle Geese and Whooper Swan along with the commoner wildfowl.
A walk on the old patch also provided Brambling which was a pleasant way to see out what has been a memorable birding year.