I should just like to say 'Happy New Year' to you all and thank everyone for their support, constant help, enthusiasm and delight in the hobby in 2009 and to look forward to another unpredictable year in 2010.
For me, with 7 new birds (UK) and 12 (WP), 2009 was an exceptional year, but in real terms, a frustrating and somewhat depressing year, with further great reductions in numbers of common resident farmland birds and summer migrants such as Wood Warblers, Pied Flycatchers and Willow Warblers. The World is certainly changing and the UK is feeling the brunt of these changes, definitely from an ornithological point of view. My UK Year list ended on 347 species, about average for recent years, but well below those annual totals of the 1990's - with many 'banker birds' unseen, like Little Auk, Pallas's Leaf Warbler, Hume's Leaf Warbler and Desert Wheatear. Although we seem to get far more unforeseen absolute mega vagrants these days, once frequent scarce migrants such as Bluethroat, Ortolan, Common Rosefinch, Aquatic Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Tawny Pipit and Red-breasted Flycatcher are now hard to come by and involve expensive trips out to see. The twitching scene is continually changing and new innovations may be required to keep the hobby inspiring and active.
I hope that you all have an exciting and enjoyable evening and remember to stay safe
The UK400 Club and British Birding Association