Best birding moments of 2014

It’s that time of year again when I look back at 12 months of birdwatching classes and trips with the aim of listing my top 5 birding moments. I think that this year has been easier than most of the others, mainly because so much has happened locally (which gives me an extra buzz).

I’ve been so lucky to share most of my 2014 highlights with regular members of my birdwatching classes, or my personal friends, by far the best way to experience wildlife. However, with focusing on birds nearer to home, this year’s total is only 201 (with 2 days to go), down on last year’s total.

Well, here is my list in reverse order:

Number 5: Getting close up views of a female (therefore more brightly coloured) red-necked phalarope at North Cave Wetlands. 

Red-necked phalarope at North Cave Wetlands

Number 4: Finding dippers breeding on my local patch in Leeds

Dipper chick being fed by its parent

Number 3: Talking briefly on Radio 4’s Saturday Live about swifts coming to my nest boxes at home.

Click to hear the broadcast

Number 2: finding a woodcock sitting out in the sun about 3 feet from me at Bolton Abbey. So close that I could  almost have touched it.

Spot the woodcock sitting so close that non of my group could see it!

And (drum roll) the Best Birding Moment of 2014 was the first successful breeding attempt by swifts in new nest boxes at a friend’s house in Gledhow. Here is a photo of just one of the birds just before it fledged in September.

A ‘home grown’ Gledhow swift

My favourite ‘other wildlife’ moment was watching a stoat chasing a rabbit the full length of Snettisham Beach in Norfolk.

Not my photo but this was very close to the amazing sight

If you’d like to find out more about my birdwatching classes for beginners then please get in touch via the form on the right of this page.

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