Counting Down The Last Few Days Of 2020 And Looking Forward To 2021

One of the local highlights on the Great Orme Dotterel in May 2020.

The year 2020 will always be remembered for the global pandemic when COVID-19 virus brought the vast majority of the world to its knees. A terrible of year of mass death and terrible illness the like none of us alive today have witnessed and hopefully never will again. The spread of the virus took the world by surprise despite the fact that it had been predicted many times in the past. We can only hope lessons will be learnt from the terrible events of 2020 and when, and it will be when, the next virus strikes the world will be so much better prepared and be prepared to take swift action.

From a trivial birding point of view the year was of course very poor indeed with some ten months of it spent under various COVID-19 restrictions wiping out almost all birding activities and from our business point of view a financial disaster and one we can only hope we can survive. With vaccines now being rolled out we can hope that in the months to come things will slowly improve. In the meantime we all need to work hard to keep ourselves and everyone else safe.

A huge surprise in 2020 looking out of our Llandudno window and seeing an Alpine Swift - libary photo

So time to look forward to better times ahead we all hope. The first few months of 2021 will likely look very like the end of 2020 with COVID-19 restrictions still in place until the vaccines reach enough people to make the world a safer place, but it will get better. We can hope for some better times by Spring perhaps and certainly better by Summer, fingers crossed! So it is time to make plans and look forward to more birds in 2021, should not be too difficult to see more birds than in 2020, having said that I just counted up my 2020 UK bird list and was surprised to see it was 222 not bad for a year with so many restrictions! Of course most of those birds were recorded right here in Llandudno and on the adjacent Great Orme where we can walk from the door. A few of the highlights included a wonderful Alpine Swift hurtling low over the rooftops watched from the window and twitched by fellow local birder Marc Hughes. Our first Red Kites and Great White Egret added to the window list along with a Hobby seen on several days. On the Great Orme Dotterel were the highlight in the Spring including finding a wonderful “trip” of eight birds which stayed for other locals to enjoy. In the Autumn Yellow-browed Warblers were the high and later the local beach produced both Lapland and Snow Buntings! Not a bad place to be “lock-downed” in!

Here is a bird that I would love to find on the local patch in 2021 - a Hoopoe.

So the plan for 2021 is of course like every other year to see more birds and smash that 222 total of UK birds when it is safe to venture about. Hopefully we can resume our Birdwatching Trips tours here in the UK and overseas and enjoy wonderful birds and wildlife with lovely people. We plan on keeping a few lists in 2021, a Great Orme year list, a North Wales year list and a UK year list. Lists are not the be all and end all of birdwatching by any means at all; the most important thing is to enjoy birds whenever and wherever you see them. But, they are useful comparisons and can provide an incentive to get out and see more birds. With this in mind the Great Orme list might be the most important getting us up off the sofa and out into the fresh air more often than if we didn’t have that list to keep! The recording area for our Great Orme list will be the area north of Gloddaeth Avenue here in Llandudno and that includes our home so birds seen from the window can be included making even sofa time birding time! The North Wales year list will be anything north of Porthmadog and a line drawn directly east to the Welsh/English border – an area we run most of our Welsh Birdwatching Trips in and will be interesting to see how that list develops. All for fun of course and no pressure on reaching a number just adding to the enjoyment of watching wonderful birds in great places. Why not keep a 2021 list of birds where you are? It can be very interesting to see which common birds are absent from your area and by keeping a list new birds are really exciting even though the species might be very common! For instance on a recent walk here on the Great Orme a Shelduck was the star of the walk even though we had seen Chough, Peregrine, Great Northern Diver and Rock Pipit because we realised the Shelduck, even though common just a few miles away, was rare here in December! Local patch birdwatching can be so rewarding and all you need is a place you can see birds and visit regularly, even a list of birds seen from your window, go on give it a go!

We are looking forward to a much better 2021 and we hope we can share some of it with you, Happy New Year!

Come and join us for a “Tour for Two” – very small group just two guests with two guides, tailor made itinerary, low risk in these COVID-19 times and of course lots of birds and an excellent chance of enjoying them all. Do drop us a line and we can make all the arrangements be it a day trip, two days, three day or as long a tour as you wish. Our recent Tours for Two have visited the Highlands of Scotland, North Wales, Norfolk and the Yorkshire coast and we are planning many more! Let us know where you would like to go and we can put together a proposal perfect for you.

We are so lucky to have so many species and habitats within easy reach here in North Wales we would love you to join us for one of our Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trips days out. We expect to enjoy a lot of birds during these relaxed pace tours and we can tailor make the day to suit you.

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips in the future just drop us a line to arrange a custom tour and please see our tours pages for set departure trips. If you have any questions at all please fire away here….

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds in beautiful places with you soon!

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