Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Review of year 2011

No time for any great analysis - fairly static on year list at 159 (assuming descriptions accepted, cf 157 in 2010, 160 in 2009), all about 50 species off the pace of best local year listers, i.e. consistently poor! But all were self-found, only extras beyond that being Aberlady Little Egrets and Dunsapie Iceland Gull seen in passing, and all were local, Firth of Forth and local haunts, one exception being an adult LTS on a rare trip to Dunbar. Notable omissions are Red-legged Partridge (how could I have missed them?!) and Shoveler, and found by others in my areas, Brent Goose around East Fenton/Brownrigg and Twite at Blindwells both missed, and BTD another bad omission given hours scanning Forth :(

Most memorable feature for me must be the best skua passage I've seen in the Forth, trek tells me this was 48 Arctic, 17 Great, 9 Pom and 35 skua sp (nearly all Arctic/Pom, most the latter), not including resident birds in the Forth which persisted into 2012. The massive influx of formerly very scarce geese, viz Tundra Beans and Euro Whitefronts, will long be remembered and I was also lucky to get in on the Curlew Sand influx, pick up a single Black Tern and also to get a tiny share of the Mealy Redpoll influx early in the year. Other obvious highlights were the juv Sabine's Gull on local patch off Cockenzie, a fortuitous Turtle Dove at Auldhame during atlas trawl for Collared Dove fledged young, and returning Mandarin at East Fortune.

83 species logged on "passage" via trektellen, taking overall total here to 110 species (full list, 23 non-migrants are subtracted). Particularly pleasing to add Sooty Shearwater off Cockenzie, having let a couple slip throo my fingers the previous year, not to mention adding Sabs!

A "good" year for road casualty owls, record low of only 3 Barn Owls logged Oct/Nov, BUT, this probably means there are less of them around, though perhaps also that it's been mild and they have not needed to move. Fewer other raptor casualties too though results are awaited from the first SEO casualty.

In the garden, 71 species logged, back to more typical after the bumper 77 in 2010, particularly pleasing to add both Woodcock and Short-eared Owl; omissions include Kestrel, less than annual previously though, and surprisingly Lapwing. A decent passage of Crossbill was logged, 38 in total including some in the mid-summer movement along with Siskins, and the single flock of 10k Pinkfooted Geese is also a new record for peak counts (of any species).

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