The final year list for the parish was 113 species, the best annual total yet recorded.
Taking a quick look back at the year. The early months’ highlight was the first record of Water Rail (in the boggy area of the Magic Garden). Birds were seen in both January and February here.
The first winter record of Little Egret was also noteworthy as was the second sighting of Goldeneye for the parish. A superb wintering flock of buntings near Langlands included more than 200 Yellowhammers. Barn Owls have recovered well locally and I caught up with my first ever village bird in February, one of a good series of sightings this year.
March is the peak time for Whooper Swan migration as they move up the Vale of York and onwards to their breeding areas. Seeing them is very much a case of being in the right place at the right time and I was fortunate to spot a group of nine flying over the river at Morton.
March also saw the first summer migrant with a Chiffchaff singing in Ainderby on 20th March and a Wheatear in Morton-on-Swale on 26th but generally birds were late in arriving with Sand Martins in particular not appearing in any numbers until late April.
Scarcer spring birds included a pair of Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Red Kite, Hobby, Whinchat and my first village Grasshopper Warbler (this is the best picture I managed!)....
I was also particularly pleased to hear Cuckoo, my first parish record for almost a decade.
To be continued…