An early Christmas present arrived for me today in the form of the British Ornitholigists' Union decision to 'split' Northern Harrier from Hen Harrier, thus bestowing it with full species status in the eyes of the keepers of the official British list. This makes it the 599th addition to said list, and the 452nd to my own via that most decadent of means, the 'armchair tick'. More importantly, the one I discovered on Portland in April last year (identified from my photos by Martin Cade) gets an upgrade to become the most recent addition to the Dorset list, which now stands at 423. The fact that I was the only person to see it still creates mixed feelings, sort of summed up by the reaction to today's news from birding friends: the public Tweets have been generous ('well done'), the private texts less so ('jammy get')!
For those in the 'jammy get' camp, I will try not to dwell on the Northern Harrier again, though I reserve the right to make a brief reference to it in the forthcoming 'review of the year' post. Until then, a very merry Christmas to you all, and many thanks for reading.
10 months ago