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lazza
Friday 2nd March 2012, 11:39
OK, first time I have ever kept a year list, and decided to split it into countries, as I'm lucky enough to travel quite a bit for work (and occasionally remember to take my bins)

Running TOTAL is 204

lazza
Friday 2nd March 2012, 11:39
UK (Northumberland unless otherwise stated)
1 House Sparrow (Garden)
2 Starling (Garden)
3 Carrion Crow (Garden)
4 Rook (Garden)
5 Magpie (Garden)
6 Blue tit (Garden)
7 Great tit (Garden)
8 Goldfinch (Garden)
9 Chaffinch (Garden)
10 Robin (Garden)
11 Black-headed gull (Garden)
12 Yellowhammer (housing estate play-park)
13 Siskin (housing estate play-park)
14 Blackbird (Garden)
15 Fieldfare (housing estate play-park)
16 Wood pigeon (Garden)
17 Coal tit (Garden)
18 Jackdaw (Garden)
19 Long-tailed tit (Blyth pond)
20 Ferral pigeon (Blyth pond)
21 Canada goose (Bothal pond)
22 Lapwing (Bothal pond)
23 Coot (Bothal pond)
24 Mistle Thrush (Bothal)
25 Grey heron (Bothal)
26 Mute swan (Woodhorn)
27 Greylag goose (Woodhorn)
28 Curlew (Newbiggin)
29 Pied wagtail (Newbiggin)
30 Rock Pipit (Newbiggin)
31 Bar-tailed Godwit (Newbiggin)
32 Oystercatcher (Newbiggin)
33 Sanderling (Newbiggin)
34 Turnstone (Newbiggin)
35 Knot (Newbiggin)
36 Herring gull (Newbiggin)
37 Collared dove (Newbiggin)
38 Cormorant (Newbiggin)
39 Redshank (Newbiggin)
40 Sparrowhawk (Ashington)
41 Mallard (Ashington)
42 Kestrel (Bothal)
43 Wigeon (Bothal)
44 Teal (Bothal)
45 Moorhen (Bothal)
46 Tufted duck (Bothal)
47 Reed bunting (housing estate play-park)
48 Greenland White-fronted goose (Bothal pond)
49 European White-fronted goose (Bothal pond)
50 Buzzard (Prestwick Carr)
51 Pheasant (Prestwick Carr)
52 Bullfinch (Stannington)
53 Dunnock (Barnard Castle, Co Durham)
54 Little Owl (Stannigton Station)
55 Treecreeper (Plessey Woods)
56 Nuthatch (Plessey Woods)
57 Great spotted woodpecker (Plessey Woods)
58 Jay (Plessey Woods)
59 Whooper swan (Bothal pond)
60 Goldeneye (Bothal pond)
61 Song thrush (Haymarket, Newcastle, Tyne & Wear)
62 Redwing (Bothal)
63 Linnet (Bothal)
64 Shelduck (Bothal pond)
65 Skylark (Ashington)
66 Wren (Garden)
67 Gadwall (St Mary's Island, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear)
68 Lesser blackback gull (St Mary's Island, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear)
69 Pink-footed goose (from St Mary's Island, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear)
70 Greenfinch (Bassington Ind Est, Cramlington)
71 Grey partridge (Cramlington)
72 Pochard (Arcot Lake)
73 Goosander (Arcot Lake)
74 Mandarin duck (Hampstead Heath, London)
75 Ring-necked parakeet (Hampstead Heath, London)
76 Green woodpecker (Hampstead Heath, London)
77 Common gull (Hampstead Heath, London)
78 Great-crested grebe (Hampstead Heath, London)
79 Dunlin (St Mary's Island, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear)

lazza
Friday 2nd March 2012, 11:40
Switzerland:

1 Tufted duck (Montreux, VD)
2 Carrion Crow (Montreux, VD)
3 Ferral Pigeon (Montreux, VD)
4 Mute swan (Montreux, VD)
5 Blue tit (Evionnaz, VS)
6 Blackbird (Evionnaz, VS)
7 Jay (Evionnaz, VS)
8 House Sparrow (Martigny, VS)

(0 unique species, not on other lists)

lazza
Friday 2nd March 2012, 11:43
France:

1 Great-crested grebe (Thonon-les-Bains, Haute Savoie)
2 Goosander (Thonon-les-Bains, Haute Savoie)
3 Carrion Crow (Thonon-les-Bains, Haute Savoie)
4 Rook (Thonon-les-Bains, Haute Savoie)
5 Magpie (Thonon-les-Bains, Haute Savoie)
6 Ferral Pigeon (Thonon-les-Bains, Haute Savoie)
7 House Sparrow (Thonon-les-Bains, Haute Savoie)
8 Blackbird (Thonon-les-Bains, Haute Savoie)
9 Black-headed gull (Thonon-les-Bains, Haute Savoie)
10 Mute swan (Evian-les-Bains, Haute Savoie)
11 Cormorant (Evian-les-Bains, Haute Savoie)
12 Tufted duck (Saint-Gingolph, Haute Savoie)
13 Grey heron (Douvaine, Haute Savoie)
14 Blue tit (Servoz [Chamonix], Haute Savoie)
15 Great tit (Servoz [Chamonix], Haute Savoie)
16 Willow tit (Servoz [Chamonix], Haute Savoie)
17 Hobby* (Servoz [Chamonix], Haute Savoie)
18 Lesser Blackback gull (Evian-les-Bains, Haute Savoie)

(1 unique species not on other lists *)

lazza
Friday 2nd March 2012, 11:44
Sweden:

1 Blue tit (Uppsala)
2 Great tit (Uppsala)
3 Treecreeper (Uppsala)
4 Great spotted woodpecker (Uppsala)
5 Blackbird (Uppsala)
6 Magpie (Uppsala)
7 Hooded crow* (Uppsala)
8 Jackdaw (Uppsala)
9 Goosander (Södertälje)
10 Mallard (Södertälje)
11 Herring gull (Södertälje)
12 Tufted duck (Södertälje)
13 Bullfinch (Huddinge)

(1 unique species not on other lists*)

lazza
Monday 12th March 2012, 10:40
UK update:

80 Willow Tit (Hepscott)
81 Tree Sparrow (Big Waters)

lazza
Friday 16th March 2012, 18:05
UK update:

82 Hawfinch (Sizergh estate, Cumbria) - lifer

lazza
Monday 19th March 2012, 09:39
Had a very pleasant ride out on my bike Sunday afternoon, adding a couple more species to my UK list. More-or-less followed the River Wansbeck out from Morpeth to the North Sea, along tracks and paths, with plenty of birdlife about. First up was

83 Short-eared owl (Bothal)

at one of the smaller ponds to the east of Bothal. Two owls were hunting across the fields, one quite distant but the other coming to within 20-25m for long periods. Also, 4 teal on the pond and 2 reed buntings destroying the bulrushes!

Then further along the river, at Castle Island, my first

84 Great black-backed gull (Castle Island)

of 2012 among a mixed gull flock resting on the exposed mud flats. There were also a good number of Redshank on the mudflats after the weir, probably around 30-40, with 2 Curlew.

Then, this morning, while waiting at Morpeth station, my first singing

85 Chiffchaff (Morpeth)

of the year showing that summer is on it's way :)

lazza
Tuesday 20th March 2012, 18:25
On an overnight trip to London, had time for a quick scoot around a couple of parks in Highgate/Hornsey...to add

86 Common Redpoll (Alexandra Park)

lazza
Tuesday 27th March 2012, 10:26
Out on my bike on Friday evening for a short cross-country route from Morpeth to Bedlington and back, added:

87 Meadow pipit (Nedderton)

And then out again early Saturday for a circular cycle to Blyth and back. The thick sea fret at the coast prevented any meaningful sightings, but did add:

88 Eider (Blyth)

which were a-oooo-ing out of the mist! Also think there was a snow bunting in among a flock of linnet but did not get a good enough view to be sure.

lazza
Wednesday 28th March 2012, 18:33
Out at Bothal ponds this afternoon, and as well as the usual suspects on the main pond (greylag, wigeon, canada goose), there was a lot more to see on and around the smaller ponds, including lapwing, moorhen, around 20 teal, and a few reed bunting, I flushed several:

89 Common Snipe

lazza
Monday 2nd April 2012, 09:07
Another jaunt out on the bike Sunday morning. Headed down into Morpeth first, over the footbridge, where there were two

90 Grey Wagtail

on the banks of the Wansbeck, joined briefly by a redpoll. I loitered for a while hoping to see a kingfisher but no luck - saw them a lot on that part of the river at one time, but not seen one for a while.

Onwards up through Longhirst out to Linton nature reserve, which I hadn't visited before (I failed to find it last time I tried!). Plenty of tufted ducks with several teal, one pair each of gadwall and mallard, coot, moorhen, and a grey heron. A good number of greylag and canada geese, and several mute swans, together with a large number of b/h gull and herring gull. And my first

91 Little Grebe

of the year. Three pairs near the hide on the larger pool competing to make the most noise.

lazza
Tuesday 3rd April 2012, 14:14
One target species in mind on an extended lunch break... so despite the atrocious weather, I went out to Ellington to try to find the common crane that's been seen in amongst a flock of swans.

After a failed attempt to get near the reported location along a bridleway past Highthorn farm - because the track was completely flooded - I tried again through the caravan park itself. Parking up at the northern end of the site, I could just make out several swans in a field in the distance, so walked northwards up the path through the woods. About 2-300m up the path, there was a clear view over the fields to the birds... and there it was, a new UK life-tick for me:

92 Common Crane

(my previous sightings had been in Sweden last summer, and several years ago in northern Poland)

While I was out, and seeing as I was already completely soaked through to the skin, I took a quick look over Cresswell pond. Not a lot to see, as the conditions were really awful, and I didn't hang around long as the snow was starting to fall (well, it was horizontal actually), but still enough time to add:

93 Red-breasted merganser
94 Common tern

lazza
Monday 9th April 2012, 21:21
OK, so have had a long weekend with the family in Spain, staying at the in-laws' house near Elche / Elx in the Alicante region.

Having been going there for several years, I only recently found out about a local reserve called El Hondo / El Fondo, which is a large wetland and marsh area 10 miles or so inland from the Mediterranean coast. Made my first visit there on Saturday morning, with pretty decent results:

First sightings were in the car park on arrival:

1 Northern Wheatear
2 Stonechat
3 Corn bunting*

At the first hide, there was not too much to see, but still picked up:

4 Pochard
5 Coot
6 Red-crested pochard
7 Little grebe
8 Great-crested grebe
9 Great reed warbler* - heard but not seen
10 Sardinian warbler*
11 Zitting cisticola*

On the way to the second pool

12 Marsh harrier
13 Swift

And at the second lagoon, there were many more pochard and little grebe, joined by

14 Black-necked grebe* - lifer
15 White-headed duck* - lifer ,
16 Moorhen
17 Little egret

Next, along a path parallel to a canal and a third lagoon:

18 Serin*
19 Mediterranean gull*
20 Little tern*
21 Whiskered tern* - a third lifer for the day!!
22 Avocet
23 Black-winged stilt*
24 Collared pratincole*
25 Grey heron

Back near the visitor centre around midday there were several

26 Spotless starling*
27 House sparrow

And finally back to La Marina via Dolores and San Fulgencio,
28 Kestrel
29 Greenfinch
30 White wagtail
31 Woodchat shrike*

So, 31 species, of which three were lifers for me! And of which 14* are unique species for 2012 not on other country lists for me.

lazza
Monday 9th April 2012, 21:28
Also made a couple of other trips out while in Spain, and picked up several species in and around the Urbanizacion:

32 House martin (Urbanizacion La Marina)
33 Collared dove (Guardamar)
34 Audoin's Gull* (Guardamar)
35 Mallard (Guardamar)
36 Barn swallow (Urb)
37 Red-rumped swallow* (Dolores)
38 Little Owl (La Marina farmland)
39 Hoopoe* (La Marina farmland)
40 Slender-billed gull* (El Pinet salt lakes)
41 Greater Flamingo* (El Pinet salt lakes)
42 Redshank (El Pinet salt lakes)
43 Shelduck (El Pinet salt lakes)

(of which 5* are unique species not on other country lists)

lazza
Wednesday 11th April 2012, 17:30
A brief trip out to Cresswell pond and Druridge pools yesterday added:

95 Shoveler (Druridge pool)
96 Stock dove (Druridge pool)
97 Barn swallow (Cresswell pond)
98 Red-throated diver (Druridge Bay)

lazza
Saturday 14th April 2012, 00:40
I rarely venture much further north than Cresswell at Druridge Bay, as I don't often get the time, but ventured up to East Chevington and Druridge Bay CP today, with good results!

At East Chevington, there were three

99 Stonechat

along the paths, as well as several Meadow Pipit, and in the fields south of the lake were a reasonable number of Greylag goose and Mute swan.

From the headland just below Hauxley, out at sea, were a large number of gulls, mostly BH gull as far as I could see, but also some Herring, LBB and GBB gulls (and possibly others!). Closer in to the shore were

100 Common Scoter (4M + 6-8F)
101 Gannet (1 heading north)

And then heading back to Cresswell, a single Short-eared owl was flushed from the dunes, quickly followed by 4 Grey Partridge.

lazza
Sunday 15th April 2012, 18:30
A cycle ride from Morpeth up to Harwood forest today, heading back via Wallington and Bolam lake gave me a total of 40 species for the day, with several new birds for the 2012 list including one lifer for me.

Conditions were quite harsh to say the least, with weather starting and finishing with sunshine, but going through sleet, rain and hail in between, and always with a strong, icy wind coming from the north/north-west.

After a first stop at Dyke Neuk to shelter from the sleet, I picked up a willow tit in trees by the road, but the first list-bird of the day was

102 Red-legged partridge

just before Longwitton. Also had the first of 6 or 7 buzzards here, and a couple of churrrring mistle thrush. Then soon after the Rothley Crossroads, I was surprised to find a small group of geese in the fields right near the road - 2 greylag and 17

103 Bean goose

Reaching Harwood forest, I ventured off into the trees on one of the tracks, and was immediately rewarded with lage numbers of chaffinch, siskin and

104 Crossbill - a lifer for me

...and the sun had come out to add to the general feeling of wellbeing!

Heading back to Morpeth, I took a more southerly route, calling in at Wallington, where the highlights were GS woodepecker and nuthatch, and then on to Bolam lake, where there were a large number of hirundines over the lake, including barn swallow

105 House martin
106 Sand Martin - only one seen

Also, a very confiding treecreeper and around 30-40 mute swan

lazza
Monday 16th April 2012, 18:38
Another day, two more on the list! While waiting for my family to arrive back at Newcastle airport, I called in to Prestwick Carr, and walked along the path towards Ponteland golf club. There were lots of calling

107 Willow warbler

although only one observed.

Just before leaving, I heard a faint whistling, which eventually turned into a flock of birds coming in from the south, which grew and grew until there were about 200-300

108 Golden Plover

circling overhead calling. They eventually came in quite close over where I was standing, before heading north out of sight.

lazza
Thursday 19th April 2012, 22:23
Norway:

A couple of days working in Norway with just enough time to spend an hour or so at Fetsund, which leads into the large inland Øyeren delta, plus some time wandering around a couple of towns during lunch!

As soon as I left Gardermoen airport, there were plenty of sightings over the motorway of:

1 Wood pigeon
2 Feral pigeon
3 Hooded crow
4 Magpie

and also heading south from Oslo, a flyover

5 Grey heron

Just before a meeting in Halden, right at the south east tip of Norway, just a few miles north of the border with Sweden, I spent half an hour by the river with my lunch, adding

6 Lesser blackback gull
7 Common gull
8 Mallard
9 House sparrow
10 Goldeneye
11 Jackdaw
12 Yellowhammer
13 Kestrel

Heading back north to Oslo, I took a slightly longer route, avoiding the main E6 motorway, and taking the less busy local route 22. This allowed a detour to the banks of the Øyeren lake, a large inland delta, but before reaching there, not far of Halden, there were a pair of

14 Common crane

in fields near the main road. Once at Øyeren, it took some time to find a suitable place to get down to the lakeside, but eventually found a nice walk along the Fetsund at the north end of the lake. There was a (closed) nature-park visitor centre, which provided a feeding station, and this - together with the various mudflats, pools and the lake, provided:

15 Fieldfare (lots!)
16 Great tit
17 Blue tit
18 Chaffinch
19 Brambling (lots!)
20 Greenfinch
21 Siskin
22 Bullfinch
23 White wagtail
24 Robin
25 Great spotted woodpecker
26 Black-headed gull
27 Eurasian Teal
28 Whooper swan
29 Goosander (m+f in courtship display)
30 Reed bunting

Finally, on the way home via Stavanger, as I boarded the plane at the airport, fluttering above the runway and fields were a couple of

31 Skylark

(no species not already on the year's global list)

lazza
Tuesday 1st May 2012, 18:01
A trip out from Morpeth to Newbiggin on my bike proved quite fruitful, with three new species for the UK list, of which two are new for 2012's global list.

First stop was at Bothal pond, where there were few waterfowl to speak of - just a handful of canada and greylag geese and some tufted duck - but there were 50-60 hirundines over the water - a good mix of swallows, house martin and sand martin. On the horse field on the other side of the road however, was my first UK

109 Northern Wheatear

of the year.

On to Woodhorn, and no sign of the reported GG shrike, although I was not exactly sure where it had been spotted, so onwards to Church point in Newbiggin, where 30 minutes sea-watching was fairly productive. As well as quite large flocks of linnet (25-30) and starling (15-20), the sea was reasonably busy. The bay and rocks held several paris of eider and a small number of oystercatcher, while just out to sea were about a dozen terns (not sure which, although they appeared small and dark billed). Heading north over the half hour I was there, were around 40-50 gannet, and several small groups of

110 Kittiwake, and
111 Guillemot

Also, two red-throated diver were seen for the first 10 minutes or so, and further out to sea I think there were several groups of puffins, also heading north, but I didn't get a good enough view to be sure.

lazza
Wednesday 2nd May 2012, 13:39
Another good day, with a brief stop off at very wet Prestwick Carr, giving me a life and a UK tick :) Parked up by the gate to the horse fields, and straight away there was a singing:

112 Whitethroat

also showing well for a minute or so before a passing van sent it up the gulley. Also a brief appearance from a willow/marsh tit (I'm presuming willow as I believe it's more commonly seen here, but not sure the gentle sisipuuu song fits)

In the horse field I got my second wheatear of the year (with another seen later by the house on the cross-roads) plus a godwit which was too distant to identify. And in the fields on the other side was a solitary

113 Whimbrel (a UK tick for me)

Along the track heading north, in the flooded fields were plenty of gulls (herring and BH) and two (immature?) mute swans and a group of around 12 more whimbrel. One species which confused me were two sparrow-sized brown, streaky birds, both sitting on top of fence posts in the marshy fields to the east of the bridleway. Their song was a very gentle, descending series of 8-9 notes, 2 at one tone then 2 down a semitone etc. They looked a little like larks, thickish beaks, and one took off pretty vertically, calling, before swooping down fast into long grass.

Anyway, yet another mystery!

Back at the car came my life tick of the day, as four waders flew over, with clear white rumps and wing bars:

114 Black-tailed Godwit

lazza
Tuesday 8th May 2012, 09:55
Nice weekend up in Berwick at the caravan park north of the town. Despite some strong winds, there was still plenty of birdlife about. Lots of herring gull and a few common gull around the caravan site, and the cliffs held good numbers of linnet and rock dove, together with several rock pipit and a pair of reed bunting.

Out to see, there was a continuous stream - north and south - of guillemot, and there were several pairs of eider active in the waves. And on the Saturday morning, around a dozen

115 Sandwich tern

were fishing off the headland.

On the way home, we stopped off in Seahouses hoping to go out on a boat, but unfortunately, by the time we got there, the trips had stopped due to rough seas. So we had to make do with fish-and-chips and Pinnacles instead, and then a walk along the beach and rocks north of the town centre, where there were dozens of eider, several oystercatcher. and a lifer for me:

116 Purple sandpiper

lazza
Wednesday 9th May 2012, 10:41
117 Common swift

15-20 over Bothal pond yesterday, together with lots of house martins and swallows, and a few sand martins.

lazza
Thursday 17th May 2012, 16:10
Finally got down to Cresswell this afternoon, to see the

118 Avocets

There were two pairs north of the footpath across the pond, one of which was quite mobile and flighty.

Also, as well as several gadwall, shelduck, b/h gulls and a couple of sandwhich tern, there were very vocal

119 Reed warbler (at least three), and
120 Sedge warbler (one by the small pond, one next to the ramp to the hide)

lazza
Monday 21st May 2012, 09:49
A good weekend, with a couple trips out with my visiting parents and our twins paying dividends on the 2012 species list.

On Saturday, we were at Gibside, and although the woodland birds were few and far between (along the paths we managed to get around), the highlight of the day came as we left, and were treated to a very close fly-by from a

121 Red Kite

as we drove out of Rowland's Gill. The bird was swooping low over playing fields, seemingly unnoticed by any passers by (or maybe they are just used to such lovely birds down there). Wasn't able to see any tag, however.

The on Sunday, we went up to Seahouses, and the boats our to the Farnes were running, so we took a trip that stopped off at Inner Farne. New for 2012 were:

122 Puffin
123 Razorbill
124 Arctic tern
125 Shag
126 Fulmar

Missed out on the roseate terns (which were seen on Inner Farne just before we arrived) and the black guillemot was not around when we were there, but we also saw several small groups of gannet, thousands of guillemot, sandwich tern, b/h gull, gbb gull, lbb gull, herring gull, oystercatcher, turnstone, stock dove, kittiwake, eider, mallard, and swallows

lazza
Monday 21st May 2012, 14:05
Some Farne Islands photos

lazza
Monday 21st May 2012, 14:28
More from the Farnes

lazza
Monday 28th May 2012, 11:10
As this is my first year doing a list, it's all a new experience to me... so I am now realising that as the summer seems to have arrived, that adding to the list in the next few months will get harder and harder. So I was thinking - while I was out on my bike at the weekend - what common species am I missing from my UK list? To me, this is species that I know I have seen regularly in the area but somehow have not yet added to my 2012 list.

SO here goes:

1. Kingfisher (seen often in Morpeth and Plessey Woods but not so far this year)
2. Dipper (usually common in Plessey Woods on the R Blyth, but missing from 2012's list)
3. Blackcap (pretty common in the summer, but not yet seen one)
4. Yellow wagtail (maybe still early, but used to seeing them at Druridge, Creswell, even Plessey Woods)
5. Corn bunting
6. Raven
7. Goldcrest (think I heard several at Cragside a few weeks ago, but couldn't see them, although the presence of our 4-year old twins didn't help!) seen in Morpeth just a day after posting this!
8. Osprey (not been to any good sites to see them this year)

lazza
Wednesday 6th June 2012, 16:27
During a quick whizz around Morpeth on my bike, I stopped off on a bridge over the River Wansbeck east of the town centre, and got

127 Goldcrest

lazza
Wednesday 6th June 2012, 16:34
And on a recent work trip to Switzerland, I managed to add 12 new species to my 2012 Swiss list:

9 Greenfinch - outside Geneva airport
10 Black kite* - two over Geneva plage by Lake Geneva
11 Mallard - Lac de Morgins, near Troistorrents, VS on the Swiss/French border
12 Coot - Lac de Morgins, near Troistorrents, VS on the Swiss/French border
13 White wagtail - Lac de Morgins, near Troistorrents, VS on the Swiss/French border
14 Robin - Lac de Morgins, near Troistorrents, VS on the Swiss/French border
15 Coal tit - Lac de Morgins, near Troistorrents, VS on the Swiss/French border
16 Collared dove - Martigny
17 Marsh tit* - Col de la Forclaz, VS
18 Chiffchaff - Col de la Forclaz, VS
19 Chaffinch - Col de la Forclaz, VS
20 Dipper - Le Châtelard, VS, on the Swiss/French border

* of which 2 are not on any other list in 2012

lazza
Wednesday 6th June 2012, 16:40
...and during the same trip, I drove through France on a couple of occasions, as well as staying just over the border in France near Geneva Airport on the way home. This added several species to my France list, and also one lifer:

19 Black kite - Douvaine, Haute-Savoie
20 Kestrel - Douvaine, Haute-Savoie
21 House martin - Douvaine, Haute-Savoie
22 Dipper - Vallee d'Abondance, Haute-Savoie
23 Goldfinch - Servoz, near Chamonix
24 Black redstart - Ferney-Voltaire, Ain
25 Nuthatch - Ferney-Voltaire, Ain
26 Short-toed Treecreeper* - Ferney-Voltaire, Ain - lifer

* of which 1 is not on any other country list in 2012

lazza
Monday 11th June 2012, 10:45
An enjoyable trip to Washington WWT this weekend added:

128 Little ringed plover
129 Green sandpiper

Both in fact new UK ticks for me!

lazza
Friday 22nd June 2012, 09:47
Another visit to Switzerland with work.... our annual sales meeting, held at a rather nice ski chalet in Les Marécottes up in the mountains of the Valais region, and preceded by a day on a steamer on Lake Geneva!

21 Common swift - over Geneva rail station

22 Black redstart - Lausanne (Jardin Botannique)
23 Grey heron - Lausanne (Port d'Ouchy)

24 Red-crested Pochard* - several on the water near Montreux
25 Black-headed gull - Montreux
26 Yellow-legged gull* - Montreux

27 Raven* - several noisy birds around Les Marécottes
28 Black Woodpecker* - watched for around 10 minutes during a walk in the woodland around our chalet. An impressive sized woodpecker, and a lifer for me!
29 Magpie
30 Sparrowhawk

* of which 4 are not on any other country list in 2012

lazza
Monday 25th June 2012, 09:47
One addition from the weekend:

130 Ruff (Creswell Pond)

lazza
Thursday 5th July 2012, 10:42
Up to Beacon Hill north of Morpeth last weekend on my bike, in search of redstarts, but failed once again to get my target species.

But did have 2012's first

131 Blackcap

Have heard several singing in and around Morpeth this year, but somehow not managed a visual until this noisy fella!

lazza
Thursday 5th July 2012, 10:52
Out to Germany Monday/Tuesday with work, with a couple of hours spare Monday afternoon, which I spent at Echinger Stausee, just north of Munich.

Got a great list of birds, and a new country list for the year!

1. Mute swans (well over 200)
2. Coot (at least 500)
3. Mallard (100-150)
4. Pochard (40-50)
5. Reed warbler (30-40)
6. Great-crested grebe (15-20)
7. Greylag goose (5, plus one presumed hybrid that was mostly white, except for a grey-brown neck and back, but also showing the white forehead of a whitefront)
8. Tufted duck (50-60)
9. Common tern (20-30)
10. Black-headed gull (100-150)
11. Little gull (2)
12. Grey heron (2)
13. Gadwall (8-10)
14. Cormorant (20-25)
15. Lapwing (80-100)
16. Common sandpiper (6)
18. Coal tit (2)
19. Great tit (2)
20. Blue tit (20-25)
21. Woodpigeon (10)
22. Nuthatch (1)
23. Chaffinch (8)
24. Chiffchaff (1 heard)
25. Marsh tit (1)
26. Blackcap (2)
27. Icterine Warbler* (1) - a lifer for me
28. Barn swallows (50-60)
29. House martins (10-15)

Then, on the way north, on one of the pools just by the Autobahn near Erlangen:
30. Little egret

And the following day in Friedberg (Hessen):
31. Corn bunting
32. Carrion crow
33. Linnet
34. Jay

*Of which 1 is not on any other country list for 2012

lazza
Monday 16th July 2012, 09:36
A trip out on the bike to Cresswell Pond on Saturday gave me two new birds for my 2012 list, one of which is a new UK tick for me:

132 Little gull (which I haven't previously seen in the UK)
133 Yellow wagtail

lazza
Tuesday 24th July 2012, 15:27
Following a report on the Northumberland forum, I came home the scenic route via Bothal pond from a trip to Plessey Woods on my bike. And the target bird was found after being flsuhed from reeds by a grey heron...

134 little egret

But the more exciting bird (another UK first for me) was on the tracks up from the bridge at sheepwash past the smaller ponds directly east of Bothal (and south of the main pond).

135 Marsh harrier

It was circling over the reedbeds for a couple of minutes when I arrived before being driven higher by a couple of crows, who were then joined by a flock of around 50-60 lapwing, who eventually drove the harrier away (northwards). Great stuff!

lazza
Monday 30th July 2012, 09:17
Up to Cragside and back on my bike gave one addition to the UK list for the year:

136 Dipper

Good views from the bridge by the Anglers Arms in Weldon of a single bird preening and then making a few fishing forays along the river bed!

lazza
Thursday 2nd August 2012, 09:36
An early evening ride out along the Wansbeck gave plenty of birdlife, but only one new species for 2012:

137 Common Sandpiper

Four on Castle Island (although one may have been a green sandpiper)

lazza
Friday 3rd August 2012, 09:07
Drove up to Cresswell with my bike for a ride along the coast, aiming to call in at as many ponds and pools as possible! Quite variable numbers of birds around. A lot out on the sea initially, with several red-breasted merganser out on the surf with a few eider and, I think, a pair of razorbill.

But the first new bird for 2012 - and a long awaited and welcome addition to the list - was:

138 Barn Owl

First one was over the dunes near the parking area for Cresswell pond, and then, as usual, once you've seen one, along comes another - the second circling and gliding over the grass and reeds to the south of East Chevington pond.

Creswell Pond also held significant numbers of whimbrel and curlew as well as the 2+4 avocet, 5 snipe and several redshank. Also, a yellow wagtail on the farm buildings nearby

Nothing much on Druridge Bay pools, but I'm pretty sure I heard a Tawny Owl twit-twoo-ing as I headed on up to East Chevington, and there were a lot of Stonechat in the bushes and shurbs along the paths (and a lot of swallows and house martins taking advantage of the clouds of insects which I was swallowing a fair number of too...)

At East Chevington, there was a decent flock of greylag on the pool, and one or two sandwich tern and common tern and a single great black-backed gull among the black-headed gulls. And in addition to the Barn Owl mentioned above, a brief view of a female marsh harrier hunting, but which never reappeared after diving down into the reeds.

Back to Creswell, and another scan of the beach revealed the arrival of a good number of waders: a few turnstone, 20-30 sanderling, 10-15 dunlin, 3 oystercatcher, and several

139 Ringed Plover

All in all, a good potter along the coast :)

lazza
Tuesday 7th August 2012, 15:32
A very wet cycle around Kielder Water on Sunday was more productive than expected. In addition to lots of goldcrest, chaffinch and willow warbler, I added a lifer to my list:

140 Spotted Flycatcher

In my bird book, I had it noted as a possible sighting (in Backworth of all places, in 2007), but this was my firs confirmed sighting.

The water was pretty quiet, but 6 goosander were a highlight, and a single female mandarin duck was the first I've seen in Northumberland

lazza
Tuesday 7th August 2012, 15:34
Second lifer of the week, and this one of the more unusual variety. Following posts on this forum over the last couple of days, I decided to head up to Low Newton on an extended lunch break today, and for the first time ever, I successfully twitched a real rarity (my record of trying to see some of the rarer local birds is appalling!)

141 Stilt Sandpiper

Just realised this takes my world list to 396, so 4 more to reach 400! Off to Spain later this week, so wonder what will they be?!

lazza
Tuesday 28th August 2012, 09:50
Two scorching weeks in Spain, staying in La Marina, near Elche/Elx (about 30km south of Alicante on the Costa Blanca). The focus was very much on rest and relaxation, with lots of trips to the beach and pool, but also managed a few bird-trips out on my bike to some great sites.

This added 6 lifers, 17 birds to my Spain list, and 14 new species to the 2012 list!

lazza
Tuesday 28th August 2012, 10:43
My first trip out was an early morning cycle ride around the local Urbanizacion and between several local villages, which turned up plenty of birds including hoopoe, house martin, common swift, and 3 new additions to the 2012 Spain list:

44 Southern grey shrike*
45 Red-legged partridge (new for my overall Spain list)
46 Cattle egret*

in the fields around San Fulgencio, and also, around Urbaznizacion La Marina, several groups of serin and collared doves, together with:

47 Magpie (also new for my overall Spain list!)

A couple of days later, I made my first proper trip out for birding, riding over to El Hondo (El Fondo) nature reserve. On the ride over, along dirt tracks following the many canals that criss-cross the farmland, I watched a flock of around 25 or 30

48 Bee-eater*

making feeding flights from an electricity pylon. There was also a mid-sized raptor perched at the very top of a dead palm-tree trunk, which had a very rufous breast, but I couldn't get a clear enough view to identify it (the closest species I can find is a red-footed falcon, although this seems rather unlikley for the region in summer).

And although many of the species present at El Hondo were the same as at Easter - flamingo, black-winged stilt, coot, pochard, great-crested and black-necked grebe - I also had my first lifer of the trip:

49 Little Bittern*

A really beautiful black, white and orange-yellow bird that perched at the top of large reeds on an island in front of the hide. To this was also added:

50 Reed warbler - new for Spain
51 Common sandpiper
52 Ringed plover - new for Spain

On the way back, I also added another surprising species to my Spain list:

53 Carrion crow

The next morning, in the hope of identifying the mystery raptor, I headed back along some of the nearby farm and canal tracks, but without success. However, I did add several new birds, including two new brids to my Spain life list:

54 Glossy ibis* - new for Spain
55 Tree sparrow - new for Spain
56 Yellow-legged gull
57 Rock dove

And on the way to Dolores:

58 Crested lark*

Further cycle rides around La Marina over the next few days also added

59 Redshank
60 Roller*

and a second lifer for the trip:

61 Water pipit*

Having stuck to the in-land waterways and wetlands, I next headed out to the coast, to El Pinet salinas, adding:

62 Common tern - new for Spain
63 Kentish Plover*
64 Turnstone - new for Spain

and yet another lifer:

65 Curlew sandpiper*

- four of which made a brief appearance on one of the salinas fringes before heading over the hide towards the sea.

A second trip to El Hondo also added more species, with the discovery of the "bella vista" road hides (although one of these only looked out over a baked mud-flat!)

66 Black-tailed godwit - new for Spain
67 Shoveler - new for Spain
68 Purple heron*

and from the hides near the visitor centre another lifer:

69 Purple swamphen* - the 400th bird on my life list!

The final two new species came on a cycle over to the Lagunas of La Mata and Torrevieja, which were surprisingly lacking in water birds, but did result in two further lifers:

70 Thekla lark*
71 Pallid swift*

* of which 14 were not on any other list in 2012

lazza
Friday 31st August 2012, 15:30
A diversion to Cresswell Pond while picking up a repaired bike wheel from Bedlington(!) showed that migration is well underway, with a sudden influx of ducks and waders. The reported Garganey wasn't visible however, and I left with no new species for the 2012 list....

until I got to my car, when I spotted what I thought was a sparrowhawk, only for it to turn out to be a

142 Cuckoo

Unbelievably, that's a lifer for me, as I have previously only ever heard a cuckoo before (and the last of those was rather a long time ago!). Seems very late for a cuckoo to still be around, but it has been reported in the last few days in the area, and was verified by another birder heading towards the hide. :)

lazza
Thursday 13th September 2012, 22:23
At last, the first September addition. A trip to Cresswell pond via Bothal gave me

143 Great skua

Which also happened to be a lifer! So edging slowly towards 200 species for the year, this being 187 across 7 countries!

Cresswell also held a lot of other life with several curlew, a bar-tailed godwit, a whimbrel, lots of dunlin and snipe, and a large influx of autumn/winter ducks (teal, gadwall, wigeon, pochard). And although far fewer birds altogether, a juvenile ruff (with 4 redshank and dozens of coot) at Bothal was a nice addition.

lazza
Wednesday 19th September 2012, 20:03
A trip to Sweden for work left very little spare tIme to visit any good places for birds, but still managed a lifer, and a few more birds added to the Sweden list!

At Arlanda airport, there were a lot of

14 House martin
15 White wagtail

enjoying a feast of mozzies!

Then, on the drive down to Södertälje, a lifer: a small flock of about twenty

16 Barnacle geese

in a field by the motorway near Salem.

Once in Södertälje, I had an hour to spare so had a wander around the lake and into the nearby woods, adding:

17 Black-headed gull
18 Chaffinch
19 Nuthatch

And later, while waiting for a train at Ostertalje station, there was a very active flock of

20 Tree sparrow

in the bushes.

Back at Arlanda airport, with 3 hours to wait until my flight, I went for a wander and found a small wood and river to the north east of the airport, which was teeming with birds, mostly great tit, a few chaffinch, and a GS woodpecker, but also several

21 Goldcrest
22 Goldfinch

There were also a couple of LBJs I couldn't identify as I didn't have my binoculars (possibly redpoll of some type) and very loudly calling bird - chu-chu-chu-chu-chu - which I think came from a rather plump, brownish-pink, bull-finch sized bird and may possibly have been a Wryneck (but not at all sure).

lazza
Monday 24th September 2012, 12:46
What a weekend! 5 birds added, of which 4 were lifers!!

Headed to St Mary's lighthouse with the kids on Saturday for a day of rockpool searching and a walk up the 137 steps.

My suspicions were aroused as we walked from the car park by the Seaton arms, as several people passed with scopes, but with 2 four year olds in tow I wasn't expecting much! The rocks and beach by the causeway had plenty of small waders: 15-20 sanderling, 4 dunlin and 8-10 ringed plover, with a few oystercatcher, turnstone and redshank.

On the way over the causeway, I asked two people with scopes what was around and they mentioned that a yellow browed warbler was in the trees by the reserve. However, with lunch time looming, I knew we would have to wait for that!

A couple of hours on the rocks eating lunch, dabbling in the rockpools and taking turns with the binoculars was great, all in beautiful sunshine too! And it also gave me my first lifer:

144 Brent goose

Also, a couple of (common?) tern over the sea, one in winter garb, with its dark glasses on, the other still in summer plumage.

After a whizz up and down the lighthouse, we headed back across the causeway and went investigating the rarity (although one of my girls did say "Daddy, when you come out with us, you can't just stare through your binocliers all day..." :-O

And after just 5 minutes in the willows north of the small reserve, we (all 3 of us!) got good views of

145 Yellow-browed warbler - 2nd lifer
146 Pied flycatcher - 3rd lifer!

Then on Sunday, I headed out to Cresswell on my bike, which was rather devoid of waders (just a few snipe and redshank) but was swamped with wildfowl, including teal, gadwall, mallard, shoveler and wigeon; mute and whooper swan (the first whooper of this autumn); and Canada goose, greylag, pinkfoot and

147 Barnacle goose

(almost a lifer but for the sighting last week in Sweden, but a new UK tick all the same). Then, to cap a great weekend, as I packed up to leave the hide, a

148 Merlin

whizzed past right below the windows!

lazza
Tuesday 2nd October 2012, 14:03
After the influx of rarities and migrants along the coast a couple of weeks ago, the last week has been fairly quiet, but a trip to Cresswell this lunch time added another couple of species to the list, taking me to 150 for the UK for 2012 :)

149 Long-tailed duck
150 Little stint

These, in fact, were both lifers for me :D

lazza
Friday 12th October 2012, 17:56
Had a trip to Madrid with work - a whole week at a conference - and managed to get out to Casa de Campo one afternoon for a stroll around. Although there was nothing amazing, I managed to add

72 Monk Parakeet - a lifer
73 (Iberian) Green woodpecker (is it a full species or ssp?)
74 Great spotted woodpecker
75 Robin
76 Chaffinch
77 Blackbird!
78 Blue tit
79 Great tit
80 Short-toed treecreeper

Only the parakeet is new for the year, not on any other list. And they seem to be a real feral pest now, screeching and squawking over all the parks like the rn parakeets in London.

lazza
Tuesday 30th October 2012, 08:52
A great long weekend away in Berwick-upon-Tweed, adding two more species to the UK list for 2012, including another lifer.

On the first evening, there were a large mix of waders in one of the bays by the caravan site. Mostly oystercatcher, redshank and turnstone, but also 3 curlew and singles of ringed plover, black-tailed godwit, sanderling, and

151 Grey plover (lifer)

The next day, another walk along the cliff revealed large numbers of turnstone and ringed plover, as well as small flocks of rock pipit, and several eider offshore. Then, on the cliffs:

152 Raven

And, further inland, with a few tits in trees near the Co-op, were two

153 Black redstart

Only one seen, but a second heard returning the first one's call. (New species for my UK lifetime list).

lazza
Friday 2nd November 2012, 15:16
Creeping towards that 200 mark....

After a few local reports of an influx of waxwings, I headed out on my bike around Ashington this lunch time, and although the reported locations held nothing more than a single blackbird feasting on the rowan berries, further down the Morpeth road, there were three in a tree by a petrol station

154 Waxwing

lazza
Monday 19th November 2012, 09:58
Two additions to my UK list this weekend, one a new species to the 2012 list... taking me to 199 species for the year!!

Out on my bike on Sunday afternoon, the first tick was a pair of

155 Brambling

just north of Ashington Rugby club. Then, on to Cresweel Pond, where the long-staying

156 Jack snipe

was just visible poking its head out of the reeds in front of the hide, and occasionally indulging in some bobbing... a life tick for me!

So, am I going to make it to 200 for the year? What will it be? Where will I find it?!?!

lazza
Friday 23rd November 2012, 11:43
So, 2 days in Germany, just south of Frankfurt added several species to my Germany all-time list, as well as bringing me a (debatable) 200th tick for the year!! All species seen at the small Lampertheimer Altrhein reserve during an hour's lunch break and the half hour of twilight before it got too dark to see anything!

35. Canada Goose
36. Bar-headed goose*
37. Swan Goose*
38. Blue tit
39. Bullfinch
40. Blackbird
41. Robin
42. Redwing
43. Long-tailed tit
44. Goldcrest
45. Great-spotted woodpecker
46. Buzzard

Of which the two goose species* are new to the 2012 list.

lazza
Tuesday 4th December 2012, 00:06
OK, I can probably ignore the dubious ticks above now as I made it to 200 for 2012 today ;)

On a trip to Bothal pond to examine some Canada geese for anything unusual, there was a surprise in store:

157 Great northern diver

Yes! On Bothal pond, 8 miles in land! Not sure how common this is but was a mighty surprise to me. So that's 200 for the year (or 202 depending if naturalised escapes seen in Germany count) with 27 days left to go!

lazza
Thursday 13th December 2012, 15:58
A final work trip of the year took me to Copenhagen, with a short walk around the University campus in Ballerup before my meeting and an hour or so around Vestamager and Kastrup afterwards! And pretty productive:

1. Goldeneye - from the motorway bridge connecting Amager to Copenhagen!
2. Goldfinch - Ballerup
3. Chaffinch - Ballerup
4. Hooded Crow - Ballerup
5. Magpie - Ballerup
6. Woodpigeon - Ballerup
7. Jay - Ballerup
8. Mallard - Ballerup
9. Grey heron - Ballerup
10. Blue tit - Ballerup
11. Great tit - Ballerup
12. Blackbird - Ballerup
13. Robin - Ballerup
14. Fieldfare - Ballerup
15. Redwing - Kalvebod Fælled
16. Hen harrier* - Kalvebod Fælled
17. Kestrel - Kalvebod Fælled
18. Mute swan - Kalvebod Fælled
19. Canada goose - Kalvebod Fælled
20. Bean goose - Kalvebod Fælled
21. Siskin - Kalvebod Fælled
22. Cormorant - Vestamager
23. Little grebe - Vestamager
24. Coot - Vestamager
25. Herring gull - Kastrup
26. Black-headed gull - Kastrup

* of which, one species is new for 2012

lazza
Thursday 27th December 2012, 20:10
On possibly my last trip out this year, I finally got the most unlikely of the missing species -

158 Kingfisher

taking my total for 2012 to 204