Well here we are the last month of 2020 and what a year it’s been. As we all know it’s not been a great start to the new decade we were hoping for with coronavirus hitting not just the UK but the world. It’s been tough but I’m grateful that everyone I know has been well and safe, but I have to say it has been good year for me and like I have done the past two years this blog is going to be a 2020 highlights blog.
The start of a new decade started on New Year’s Day when I looked out my window to see my first birds of the year. The birds I saw were a Bullfinch & Redwing.
I was back as a guest on The Casual Birder Podcast hosted by Suzy Buttress, talking about my winter birding, what I’ve got planned this year & how to inspire a new birdwatcher. After the interview I headed to town to see Waxwings that had been spotted at Dalry and I was lucky I spotted them with Redwings.
At the end of the month I took part in The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch and did it in the summerhouse and the birds I saw were Blue Tit, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Robin, Blackbird & Magpie.
This month I returned to Lagos in Portugal. It was lovely to get away from the UK winter and enjoy some warm sunshine. Not only was it great being back at a familiar place it was great to see the birds including White Storks, Little Egret & Cormorants. I also saw my first Hoopoe which was very exciting.
February marked my 18th anniversary as a Birder. I returned to my first local patch at The Botanic Garden in Edinburgh and had a great time watching Mallards, Moorhens, Crows, Woodpigeons & Dunnock. Suzy Butress host of The Casual Birder Podcast got in touch asking if I can add a extra piece to my interview about my trip in Lagos. I said yes, the episode would be out in March.
At the beginning of the month I went to Musselburgh Lagoon, I hadn’t been for awhile but I enjoyed watching a lot of Waders including Oystercatchers, Redshanks & Shelducks. When I was walking to the different hides I spotted a Pheasant walking in the bush and got a great view.
The next day my episode on The Casual Birder Podcast was released. Like my first interview on the show in 2018 I got really good feedbacks online from family and friends I’m sure I’ll be back on the show soon.
I went to Figgate Park and watched Gooseanders, Moorhen, Graylag Geese & Mute Swans, little did I know that turned out to be my last outdoor outing.
During lockdown The RSPB held Breakfast Birdwatch every weekday 8-9am I took part and enjoyed it . I posted a picture online and got asked by a reporter on BBC Reporting Scotland if my picture could be included on a news bulletin and it got included the next day.
By now COVID 19 had hit the UK so sadly I couldn’t travel due to lockdown but that didn’t stop me instead I went Birding locally. I had a walk along the river at the park, and what was great about lockdown there were no aircraft so all you could hear was silence but birds calling. On my walk I saw a Blackbird & Shelduck.
I returned to Cammo my local patch and a great time listening to the birds and listening to the birds and watching the resident Heron. I decided to visit Cammo every Wednesday & Saturday.
The good thing about lockdown you could walk anywhere even a golf course. The Royal Burgess across the road was allowing families to walk on the golf course and it was a incredible experience to walk somewhere you can’t have access to unless you play golf, on my walk I watched Buzzards soaring above.
Back at Cammo I enjoyed the warmth of the sun and watched The Heron at the pond. With no one around I got really close up with the bird who was happy standing at the pond.
The next week I was back and the pond was full of green stuff and The Heron was back fishing.
By this time Cammo was bursting with birds singing including Blackcaps who I saw regularly in the field.
It was a great start of the month when I noticed a lot of House Martins flying around my house, I went outside to look and noticed they were clinging on wall on the house they returned the next day doing the same thing it got me excited thinking they might nest but sadly it wasn’t to be there’s always next year fingers crossed.
In April I did a Q&A interview for Birdwatching Magazine and my interview came out in the July Issue. It was a honour to be in the magazine I’ve been getting for years, I got two copies one to have and the other to frame.
This month saw the arrival of a young Great Spotted Woodpecker coming with its mum to the feeder in the garden. I enjoyed watching the mum feed it’s youngster before flying off . I also got a Stock Dove visit the garden too.
One day at Cammo I noticed The Heron was perched above a tree next to the pond. Little did people know a Heron was watching them below.
The young Great Spotted Woodpecker had recently been arriving to the feeder a lot and this time by itself . There was one day I noticed it was feeding and a Starling flew in trying to annoy the Woodpecker but it didn’t succeed.
It was a quiet morning in Cammo one day so I did The Butterfly Count as well as Birding, it was great fun doing both things. By now lockdown restrictions had eased but I was still being safe and staying local.
It was also this month I had my first trip away out of Edinburgh. Spent a few nights at Coldingham and I wasn’t far away from St Abbs Nature Reserve and I went there to see what was there. It was amazing saw lots of Fulmars & Kittiwakes.
It was also this month I got two new visitors to the garden a Goldfinch & a Greenfinch. It’s been years since I last saw a Greenfinch but I’m happy to say they have been a regular visitor ever since.
September was a great month I spent most of it in The Outer Hebrides. I won’t go into too much detail you can read it about it in my October blog but I did enjoy watching a lot of Golden Eagles and lots of Starlings.
I returned to Figgate Park after not been there since March it was quiet on the pond but it was nice to be back.
October saw me back at Argarty Red Kites in Doune which I hadn’t been for a long time it was a much better encounter when I was last there a few years ago got better views.
Autumn was really lovely with such beautiful colours on the tree especially down in Cammo . It was pretty quiet Bird wise but it was nice to be back looking at the amazing colours.
I took part in the new Global Bird Weekend on the Saturday I was in Cammo but didn’t see much but on the Sunday was much better seeing Pink Footed Geese, Heron & Mallards.
I finally saw some Otters in Edinburgh. After been Birding at St Margaret’s Loch I headed on over to Dunsapie Loch which wasn’t too far away. I was expecting to see nothing but when I arrives I saw two playing about.
Had a nice afternoon walk in Cammo. The Heron was back at the pond walking quietly. Place was still quiet but Pink Footed Geese flew over .
It was also this month Cammo installed new signs which will be handy for visitors arriving.
I also spotted my first Waxwing of the year. One had been spotted at Balgreen so I thought I check it out and I did see the bird. It was strange just seeing one as normally there’s a lot more then that but I didn’t mind I saw one that’s good enough for me, I also saw a Mistle Thrush too. I saw the Waxwing again at the end of the week with Redwings.
Before I saw The Waxwing with Redwings I saw my first Redwings of the year during the middle of the week in the garden. I counted four it was a good week.
At the weekend I saw a Goldfinch at the tree against the sun and managed to get a good shot.
As you can see I’ve had a very good year considering. I’m looking forward seeing some birds before I take a break during Christmas all will be told next year in my blog. Until then have a Merry Christmas & A Safe Happy New Year for 2021.