Wow, what an amazing year. Before I talk about my birding highlight of 2012 I have to say how fantastic it has been to meet such great people over the past twelve months. I have found peoples friendship and amazing support very valuable; continuing my faith in human nature! Rather than list names (you guys know who you are); I would like to give you all a HUGE THANKS and wish you a fantastic holiday period and great 2013.
……..now, back to the birds!
So many birds to choose from this year. Lots of contenders in both Norway & Israel (not so many from the UK…….though Thayer’s Gull……..no promised I wouldn’t pick a gull)! To pick a single bird highlight is very tricky. The spectacle of seeing over 30,000 Common Cranes at close quarters ranks very high as does seeing Syrian Serin on Mount Hermon and that family gang of Arabian Babblers at Nizzana Fishponds (thanks Yoav). However this year my bird highlight comes from Arctic Norway! Perhaps surprisingly it’s not the experience of seeing a Hawk Owl lured to within a few feet of us by a reindeer (though this came close to making the top of the list)! It was the excitement of seeing my first ever Steller’s Eider in the Varanger Fjord! I dreamt of seeing this species when I was a child. I never really thought I would ever see one, so this bird had near mythical status in my imagination. Watching that small group from my hotel window in Vardø under the afternoon sun was simply magical.
Very best wishes