#My200birdyear: half year up­date!

In Jan­uary, Bird Watch­ing magazine launched a fun and flex­i­ble chal­lenge to get peo­ple out see­ing even more birds – and #My200birdyear is prov­ing to be ex­tremely pop­u­lar with UK bird­ers

Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents -

Hun­dreds of you are tak­ing part in our fun and flex­i­ble chal­lenge

THE HALF­WAY POINT of 2017 is upon us, so it’s a good time to take stock of how you’ve fared in Bird Watch­ing’s #My200birdyear chal­lenge, and to plan the rest of your bird­ing cal­en­dar to fill in the gaps on your list. It’s not a com­pe­ti­tion, of course. You’re free to set your own rules about ex­actly what counts. Some peo­ple are stricter than oth­ers about species that are only heard, for ex­am­ple. Some count birds seen out­side the UK, while oth­ers don’t. The idea, above all, is to see more bird species by set­ting your­self a tar­get.

HOW HAVE THE TEAM DONE? Matt Mer­ritt on his #My200birdyear

As I write, in late May, my to­tal is 165. Un­like Dr Wee­don (see panel right), I’ll take any ticks go­ing, so that in­cludes birds seen close to home in War­wick­shire, and oth­ers seen close to our Peter­bor­ough of­fices, plus a few more picked up dur­ing work­ing trips to Cum­bria, Northum­ber­land, Spey­side and Aus­tria (Short-toed Treecreeper, Red-crested Pochard, and Crested Tit, the lat­ter a sur­pris­ing ‘dip’ in Scot­land). I’ve missed some waders, like Spot­ted Red­shank, Whim­brel and the stints, so I’m look­ing for­ward to putting in a few hours dur­ing au­tumn mi­gra­tion, and I need to do some search­ing for the two fly­catch­ers, Red­start and Wood War­bler over the sum­mer. Add in a skua or two, and a con­certed ef­fort where win­ter wild­fowl are con­cerned, and the 200 looks well within reach. Best of all, it’s taught me a lot more about my new patch. I’m get­ting to know where to find pas­sage mi­grants, and if there’s one bird I’d like to make part of the 200, it’s one of the Bearded Tits that drop in at Nap­ton Reser­voir now and then.

Mike Wee­don on his #My200birdyear

In a nor­mal year, I am out bird­ing quite a lot, try­ing to see as many birds as pos­si­ble around Peter­bor­ough. Luck­ily, #My200birdyear has pro­vided me with a ready-made ex­cuse for busi­ness as usual, but even more so! As I write, it is the last week of May, and I al­ready have 171 on my Peter­bor­ough area year list. This in­cludes such gems as Red-rumped Swal­low, Rough-legged Buz­zard and, re­cently Black-winged Stilt; with 10 bird species I didn’t see at all last year, nicely bagged on the list. I have strayed from my home area on just a few oc­ca­sions: to see the Bluethroat and White-billed Diver in South Lin­colnshire, and for our BW reader hol­i­day in the High­lands. These trips have boosted my year list so that when I heard Spot­ted Crake near home a cou­ple of weeks ago, I had reached the 200-bird yearly tar­get. How­ever, the Peter­bor­ough area chal­lenge is spurring me on. The record is 189 bird species in a year, so 190 will do (200 would be even bet­ter, of course, but is surely not pos­si­ble. Or is it?).

BLUETHROAT Both Matt and Mike made pil­grim­ages to see this beauty at Wil­low Tree Fen LWT, in South Lin­colnshire, early in the year

PTARMIGANS Male (right) and fe­male moult­ing into spring plumage on Cairn­gorm Moun­tain, dur­ing our BW reader hol­i­day in the High­lands in April

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