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CactusD
Wednesday 11th January 2012, 09:59
Another year, another list!
Iím not expecting to come anywhere close to last yearís total of 244 birds seen, since I have no dedicated overseas birding trips planned, and work + childcare will demand my attention back home. I am hoping to get away to Greece in the summer, partly for butterflies, but this should bring in some new birds too: some Greek mountain species Iíve still not found, such as Alpine Accentor and Alpine Chough, that should be relatively straightforward in the right places.

To recap on previous years,
2009: 209 species (including trip to Cyprus in March)
2010: 153 species (no overseas, but including Scotland)
2011: 244 species (including Lesvos in April, and Scotland)

So letís see what happens :t:

As before, Iíll post pics when I can (though difficult to take all the gear with a toddler in tow!); lifers (hopefully there will be some!) will appear in bold.

This year my birding companions will be my wife (Maenad here on BF) and soon-to-be-2 son.

Outings for birding from home will include such luminous destinations as Port Meadow, Otmoor, Farmoor, Draycote Reservoir, Brandon Marsh, and (slightly further afield) Slimbridge.
In Derbyshire, locations may include Carsington Reservoir, Cromford, Beeley Moor, Lathkill Dale, and Longshaw.
If, as I hope, I get to Greece in the summer, the plan is to visit the mountains of the Northern Peloponnese (Mts. Chelmos and Erimanthos) and Southern Sterea Ellada (Mts. Parnassos, Oita, and perhaps Vardousia), with Kalavryta and Delphi as my bases.

CactusD
Wednesday 11th January 2012, 10:00
After only three years of listing, my best for January is 83 species, so letís see if I can beat that. Weíll be in Derbyshire quite soon for a long weekend, so that should bump up the numbers.

January 1st

The year started gently with a walk around the local patch in Bodicote and a brief drive into the Cotswolds. Itís great to have reasonable numbers of Linnets, Yellowhammers, and Corn Buntings just down the fields opposite where we live.

1. Jackdaw
2. Wood Pigeon
3. Collared Dove
4. Blackbird
5. Magpie
6. House Sparrow
7. Linnet (flock of 60+)
8. Yellowhammer (flock of 6+)
9. Corn Bunting (at least 2)
10. Carrion Crow
11. Robin
12. Long-tailed Tit
13. Blue Tit
14. Pheasant
15. Kestrel
16. Chaffinch
17. Fieldfare
18. Common Buzzard
19. Feral Pigeon
20. Rook

CactusD
Wednesday 11th January 2012, 10:01
January 2nd
A trip to Brandon Marsh to see what was about

21. Golden Plover (seen en route)
22. Goldfinch
23. Black-headed Gull
24. Mallard
25. Mute Swan
26. Moorhen
27. Redwing
28. Great Tit
29. Greenfinch
30. Reed Bunting
31. Dunnock
32. Coal Tit
33. Nuthatch
34. Great Spotted Woodpecker
35. Bullfinch
36. Lesser Redpoll
37. Tufted Duck
38. Coot
39. Grey Heron
40. Goldeneye
41. Shoveler
42. Herring Gull
43. Lapwing
44. Cormorant
45. Teal
46. Gadwall
47. Wigeon
48. Pochard
49. Great Crested Grebe

CactusD
Wednesday 11th January 2012, 10:01
January 4th
Trip to Farmoor

50. Red Kite (en route)
51. Little Grebe
52. Starling
53. Greylag Goose
54. Canada Goose
55. Song Thrush
56. Great Northern Diver
57. Slavonian Grebe
58. Lesser Black-backed Gull
59. Common Gull

CactusD
Wednesday 11th January 2012, 10:02
January 6th
Trip to Draycote Reservoir

60. Pied Wagtail
61. Goosander
62. Meadow Pipit

CactusD
Wednesday 11th January 2012, 10:14
January 7th
Trip to Slimbridge

63. Wren
64. Shelduck
65. Pintail
66. Blackcap
67. Bewickís Swan
68. Ruff
69. Redshank
70. Dunlin
71. White-fronted Goose
72. Barnacle Goose
73. Peregrine
74. Lesser Scaup
75. Bittern
76. Black-tailed Godwit

We took it in turns to entertain the toddler in the play-area while the other popped into the Zeiss hide to see the accommodatingly showy Bittern.
As I sat with the small boy in the play area, I couldn't help but liken the scene in front of me - eager birders hurrying in to the Zeiss hide, and then emerging some time later with slow satisfaction - to that marvellous scene in the film of The Name of the Rose soon after Christian Slater and Sean Connery arrive at the abbey ("You'll find the place you're in need of behind the third arch." "But you told me you'd never been to this abbey before." "When we arrived, I saw a brother making for this spot in some haste. I noticed that he emerged more slowly, with an air of contentment." "Thank you, master.") Those of you who know this excellent film will know to what I'm referring... :-O :-O ;)

CactusD
Wednesday 11th January 2012, 10:16
January 8th

Bodicote
77. Goldcrest

Another trip to Draycote for the gull roost (very intimidating for a beginner! Not enough time/skill to pick out any rarer gulls sadly |:(|)
78. Great Black-backed Gull

CactusD
Saturday 14th January 2012, 21:19
January 13th

A trip to Brandon Marsh with the family produced one or two nice birds, including a flash of blue darting past providing me with a new bird for the list:

79. Kingfisher

CactusD
Saturday 14th January 2012, 21:33
January 14th

I spent the afternoon today with the camera gear at Otmoor to get some more shots (hopefully) of Short-eared Owls. These duly obliged between c. 3 and 4pm :t:
Got some shots of a few other things on my way around too, and some more additions to the list.

80. Red-legged Partridge (1 flew over the car as I was driving down the lane)
81. Short-eared Owl (at least 3 and probably a few more, at The Pill)
82. Sparrowhawk

This means I'm now only 1 behind my last year's list for January with plenty birding still to do, so boding reasonably well so far for a good list.

Some shots from today:

CactusD
Wednesday 18th January 2012, 18:14
January 18th

A spare couple of hours this morning took me to Draycote for the Smew - seemingly a regular January spot for them, as last year. On my walk around to Draycote Bank a Raven obligingly cronked past, and the Smew showed reasonably close in. On my walk back around Rainbow corner I stopped to examine a tit flock, and heard, and then saw, a Willow Tit: rather a surprise since though I have a couple of places to find these, this wasn't one of them. But of course I'll take it!

83. Raven
84. Smew
85. Willow Tit

A shot of the Smew.

CactusD
Monday 23rd January 2012, 09:30
January 20th-22nd, Derbyshire

A weekend away to visit my parents picked up a small number of new birds for the year, though not as many as hoped for since the weather conditions were highly grim for birding.

We took a couple of trips to Longshaw, which even in howling winds and rain is a pretty good bet for winter finches; here I picked up Siskin (and lots of Lesser Redpolls) but sadly no sign of Mealy Redpoll or Brambling.

A couple of forays onto Beeley Moor got me Mistle Thrush (along with a lone Raven and a nice flock of Bullfinches) but nothing more exciting than that.

The wildlife centre at Carsington produced the expected good views of Tree Sparrow and Willow Tit.

A final stop at Rowsley (thanks to Nick Sismey's thread for this tip-off!) picked up Mandarin duck.

Hence:
86. Siskin
87. Tree Sparrow
88. Mistle Thrush
89. Mandarin Duck

To top it all, we arrived back home to discover that during our time away I'd missed the chance to see the Grey Phalarope at Farmoor.
:C :-O :-O
Never mind. I'm sure there will be more and better opportunities in the future!

CactusD
Friday 27th January 2012, 15:54
27th January

This morning saw me on something of a wild-phalarope-chase, in a failed attempt to see the Grey Phalarope at Farmoor. Sadly it seems that the bird has moved on, or at least I certainly didn't see it for the couple of hours I was there. :C

However, a quick walk up the local farm track this afternoon produced good numbers of Starlings, Fieldfares, Redwings, Blackbirds, and Yellowhammers bathing in the puddles, and finally also a Skylark, a new bird for the list. That takes me to 90 so far, which is very good for me for January. :t:

90. Skylark

CactusD
Saturday 28th January 2012, 20:02
28th January

A quick walk up the local fields produced a Golden Plover on the ground (probably a patch tick, at least for a non-flyover), a flock of 18 Pied Wagtails, some Thrushes, and a couple of Stock Doves, new for the list.

91. Stock Dove

I now see that apparently the Phalarope was seen again today, so hopefully I'll have the chance for another attempt at it tomorrow. Meanwhile, a couple of shots of the (sadly un-rare) birds I did see on Friday:

CactusD
Wednesday 8th February 2012, 19:17
8th February

All pretty quiet here recently, what with the lousy weather and all. However, a birthday treat for my wife took us to Slimbridge today while the small boy was at nursery. Though the Bittern failed to show, we had gripping views of a Water Rail on the ice and under the feeders opposite the Robbie Garnett Hide.
B (:B (:B (::t:

92. Water Rail

CactusD
Friday 13th July 2012, 21:18
Many apologies for failing to update this: things have been very hectic this year (esp. with a toddler in tow). Sadly no trip to Lesvos this year, but I have just got back from a few days in Greece looking for butterflies in the mountains: trip report for this to be posted shortly. This means that I have a select number of species to add to this list along with some catch-ups:

93. Snipe - local patch, Bodicote Oxfordshire
94. Green Woodpecker
95. Chiffchaff
96. Little Egret
97. Curlew
98. Jay
99. Oystercatcher
100. Swallow
101. Grey Wagtail
102. Sand Martin
103. House Martin
104. Swift

CactusD
Friday 13th July 2012, 21:21
105. Wheatear
106. Common Tern
107. Hobby
108. Whitethroat
109. Spotted Flycatcher
110. Stonechat
111. Redstart
112. Dipper
113. Common Sandpiper
114. Bar-tailed Godwit
115. Treecreeper
116. Willow Warbler

CactusD
Friday 13th July 2012, 21:21
117. Cuckoo
118. Sedge Warbler
119. Lesser Whitethroat
120. Ringed Plover
121. Rose-ringed Parakeet

CactusD
Friday 13th July 2012, 21:24
Northern Peloponnese, Greece: 28th June - 8th July:

122. Hooded Crow
123. Serin
[Firecrest H]
124. Middle Spotted Woodpecker
[Cirl Bunting H]
125. Red-rumped Swallow
126. Red-backed Shrike
[Wryneck H]
127. Woodlark
128. Black Redstart
[Tawny Pipit H]
129. Lesser Kestrel
130. Short-toed Eagle
131. Hoopoe
132. Spanish Sparrow
133. Crag Martin
134. Rock Bunting
135. Ortolan Bunting
136. Crested Lark
137. Yellow-legged Gull