Sunday, 30 December 2012

2012: The year of the aquatic mammal?

Well, 2012 is drawing to an end and I think my wildlife watching account has now closed for the year. At some point in the first week of 2013 it will resume and I'll be participating in the Foot It birding by foot challenge over the month of January. I have set a target of 65 species which I think is a realistic target - we'll just have to see.

Wildlife watching over the last 12 months has been pretty exciting and it would be fair to say that the highlights for me have all been mammalian - African Elephants in Malawi, Humpback Whales off Cape Cod and River Otters in the Outer Hebrides and Edinburgh all being outstanding experiences.

Looking back on the year the birding has been good as well. I saw about 80 species for the first time - mostly in Malawi but a handful in the States as well. The raptors in Malawi were diverse and the seabirds in the States excellent. I also added a few species to my Scottish list including a self-found Wryneck and a local twitch for Buff-breasted Sandpiper(s) in Lothian. I have shots of the latter as the images were on a cf card lying around the house - the others are still in limbo on a crashed disc which may get sorted in the new year...

And finally, what about gulls. Well, 2012 has been a good year for gulls for me with lots of white-wingers in Ireland, the Outer Hebrides and Orkney, more exotic species in Africa and America and a hybrid Herring x LBBG closer to home. My quest to find a YLG or a Caspo in Lothian continues but I have been trying very hard on that front over the last few weeks - I have grilled thousands of Herring Gulls and that is what they have proved to be... well alongside a fair few GBBGs and a single LBBG!

 Here's to 2013 being lucky for Larids in Lothian!

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