Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Hitting 400 British species

Though I'm fully aware that there are many birders out there that have reached the 400 UK species in a handful of years by spending their bank account and overdraft doing big years etc.  I also have friends that have reached 500 for UK, but as essentially a county birder and not an out and out Twitcher this turned out to be more of a challenge than I thought it would be. Early in 2016 I realised that I was nearing the 400 species for the UK and thought I would try and reach this goal by the end of the year.

Anyway cutting a long story short I reached December 2016 and I was on 399, I was holding out for that 400th tick to be in my own county.  Well that wasn't to be, so I had to look further afield and there were two species that were possible without driving many miles. One was the Blue Rock Thrush at Stow-on-the-Wold and a Desert Wheatear in Devon at Thurlestone. Well the thrush won so on the 31st December when it was obvious that nothing was going to turn up in Dorset Jackie and I headed off to Stow.

After a two and a half hour drive we arrived at Stow and after searching for parking, we headed for the nursing home garden where our target had taken up residence. It took us all of three minutes on arrival to see the bird which flew out of a garden up onto a roof the first sighting for an hour and a half. It was such a shame that it was such an overcast and dull day as it didn't show this super bird at its best for photography.
Blue Rock Thrush - Stow-on-the-Wold © Nick Hull
Once we had our fill of this stunning thrush we headed back towards the car and found out that a Waxwing had been found in a tree at Union Street just two roads away from where we parked the car so we gave it a try and found a couple of other birders watching it.  Good views were had and we headed for the car and home after a very successful twitch. Just wish all twitches were so easy I'd probably take a few more trips to see good birds.

Waxwing - Union Street - Stow-on-the-Wold © Nick Hull

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