My very good friend Mark Hollingworth has joined in with the spirit of 'looking back over the year' to select his birding highlights from 2018. One of the great things about Mark is that, even after 60+ years of birding, his enthusiasm has not dimmed in the slightest, and I think it's fair to say that he gets even more out of his birding now than he ever has done. So, here they are, in chronological order (with a few extra bits of info from myself in brackets).
19 April Dungeness 3 Hawfinch, female Goshawk and 20 Manx Shearwater.
(I was lucky enough to be present for this lot, the first two species occurred during a notable 'skywatch' from the RSPB reserve and the Shearwaters were sitting on the sea off of the fishing boats - the first time that either of us had seen this species doing so at Dungeness)
Late April Dungeness Mark's sister ticking Arctic Skua and 3 Manx Shearwater with close views.
(Other people's joy is infectious, and is shared by those present. Mark particularly enjoys this aspect of birding).
2 May Dungeness 420 Manx Shearwater
(Part of a DBO record-day total of 472 that passed the point in 11 hours of sea-watching).
September Galicia, Spain 7 Nightjar on road on the way to a dawn sea-watch.
September Galicia, Spain 39,000 Manx Shearwater in an afternoon.
September Galicia, Spain 2 Balearic, 2 Manx and a Little Shearwater together.
(Mark has spent the past five autumn's enjoying a few weeks sea-watching at Estaca de Bares. He was accompanied by the King of the Marsh, Chris Philpott. You can read more about this amazing headland by clicking here.)
20 October Dungeness 2050 Mediterranean Gulls.
(Another record day total, and one that came out of the blue, as the sea off of the peninsula was, unusually, adopted as home by this loose flock of Mediterranean Gulls over several days).
5 December Dungeness Big auk movement that included 7 Puffin, plus Grey Phalarope, wildfowl and divers.
(The sea-watcher at Dungeness can never rest, can never pack up the scope or sit back at home resting on their laurels. The weather conditions did not suggest that anything out of the ordinary would occur, with the Puffin a rare species at Dungeness, being barely annual).