2017 TOP TEN: #9

As this is a countdown, we start with a reminder of what came before today's entry at Number 9. 

10. Best plant: "Roding Orchid"

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9. Garden Hawfinch

‚ÄčAt Richard Moores' instigation, our group of Norwich birders has got deeply into garden birding since 1 Jan 2016. Last year we garden-bird-yearlisted for the first time. Will Soar, whose flat overlooks a marsh and valley, won by dozens of species. I shocked everyone (particularly myself) by coming second with what seemed an astonishing 69 species, the highlights including Mediterranean Gull, Spotted Flycatcher anda singing Firecrest. This year, we have been wiser - and both more competitive and more collaborative: a great community initiative. Two broad events stand out: a night of invisible migration when ducks and (mainly for people other than myself) waders flooded over Norwich, and the amazing visible migration of late October (which I missed, being overseas) and early November. Both events racked up the species such that I have smashed last year's total - I'm currently on 78 species, although I doubt that will change - yet think I've dropped two places to 4th, following Stuart White'shouse move and Craig Robson'sobsession with scoping the airspace above Norwich Cathedral. Probably the most bizarre full-fat garden tick I had this year was a Kingfisher zipping through my airspace, but that November vis-migging will be remembered even more fondly, given that it brought me three brilliant house ticks: Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow and - finally, after much frustration given this autumn's epic invasion - a Hawfinch on 13 November that got me whooping with delight and dancing across the garden and Whatsapping everyone and swearing and whooping again. What a bird! What a garden bird!  



James Lowen