|Northern Wheatear, Priest Hill, August|
|Spotted Flycatcher, Canons Farm, September|
|Whinchat, Canons Farm, September|
|Adult Sabine's Gull, Beddington, August|
It was entertaining to read all of the tweets, blogs and texts from the many birders who were able to take advantage of this invasion to add the species to their life list, patch list, county list - whatever list it may have been. For many it was the first time of being able to regularly observe Hawfinches, to study their behaviour and listen to their calls. I enjoyed walking out of the front door knowing that I would see them. Each birding year brings such unexpected highlights. When they happen you need to go out and experience them.
This has been my 44th year of birding. During that time my birdwatching focus has rarely stayed the same - a bit of twitching here, a bit of year-listing there, some UK wide wandering - but as each year passes I find myself far more interested in staying local. Part of it is not wanting to spend time sat in a car, but it is also a case of searching for that thrill to be had from finding your own birds on your doorstep. Admittedly they will rarely compare in number or notability with what I would find if I went down to the coast, but that largely misses the point.
What about 2018? As far as the birding goes, what ever comes along will come along. That's good enough for me.