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Green Sandpiper's 2020 (part 1) (1 Viewer)

Where did the time go?

Its amazing, every year I set myself targets/ goals/ ambitions for this birding life, and included in these without fail are to keep up with this blog. And, as you may notice, every year this fails miserably.

This, for obvious reasons, hasn't been any normal year. It has both dragged, and flown in. Each day seemed to last forever, yet here we are in December. The uncertainties of last spring and summer have given way to new uncertainties for next year. Do we have light at the end of the tunnel? Will we face new threats? I think the best way to prepare yourself for the future is to examine the past, and lo and behold, Green Sand has prepared a retrospective of 2020. I'll split it into 4 parts- from New Year to Lockdown in March, Lockdown itself, the easing of restrictions in July, and lastly the autumn period where we faced a second wave of restrictions.

The year started so well, Covid19 was a minor story on the news that at most, created a slight nagging worry that was easy to put to one side. Australia being on fire was by far a bigger concern. A ne'er day trip to Caerlaverock WWT got me Little Egret, Hen Harrier and Tree Sparrow, in amongst more obvious ticks. The next day saw me visit my local patch of Baron' Haugh RSPB where the highlight among the more obvious birds was a stonechat. January 3rd and a quick drive to Musselburgh in E. Lothian saw long- tailed Duck and Velvet Scoter as the highlights. 3 consecutive days birding are a rarity given family commitments, but I reaped the benefits of this unlikely occurrence.

January continued with a trip back to Dumfries and Galloway, for Red Kite and Willow Tit at RSPB Ken Dee Marshes. My next time out saw me visit East Lothian again, a quieter day, but still 3 year ticks. These trips had created an incredibly positive vibe and a confidence that it was going to be a special year. Meanwhile, news was breaking about the first case of Covid spreading across the world.....

The positivity ground to a halt when weekend plans were replaced by Dad duties and I was reduced to twitching a waxwing in a residential street in Glasgow (going against my principles in many ways) but the mojo was regained by February with grey plover and stock Dove at Levenhall Links in Musselburgh. The highlight of this early period was a black redstart in Dunbar- East Coast again- and my first lifer of the year.

On paper, this was an amazing start to the year, multiple trips, good birds, ticks, but by now the spectre of covid loomed over everything. At this point, the 'plans' for migrant season, for seabird cities and coastal visits, for mountain expeditions and camping in remote places were suddenly downgraded to 'hopes'. Limited restrictions were put in place, and I stretched the limits by visiting Baron's Haugh RSPB for Tawny Owl. Within 3 weeks of this, the country was on lockdown as Covid ran riot. The year had changed dramatically, what had once been nagging worries were suddenly and starkly upgraded to 'fears' as the death toll rose. And rose. And rose.
 

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