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rylirk Tuesday 1st January 2019 22:09

Rylirk's 2019 list
I'll be moving from the UK to Texas in February, so this list should be rather different to last year's...
Key: * for 'not seen previous year', bold for lifer, italics for birds which others may not count as wild (i.e. Salisbury plain bustards). All names IOC compliant.

January 1 - West Sussex, UK

Had a go at a proper Jan 1 bird race this year ;) My species count could have been better, but there were a lot of cracking birds mixed in! There's a bit more pressure to find some of the rare-ish birds now as I've only got about a month to add to my 2019 UK list.

First of all, a few birds from the garden in Crawley in the morning:

1. Eurasian Blue Tit
2. Carrion Crow
3. Eurasian Magpie
4. Great Tit
5. Common Chaffinch
6. Common Starling
7. European Robin
8. Common Wood Pigeon
9. Common Blackbird

Two more from on the road, both in the vicinity of Brighton:

10. European Herring Gull
11. Rook

Then onto the first proper stop of the bird race: a quick check for waders at the Adur Estuary in Shoreham-by-Sea.

12. Black-Headed Gull
13. Common Redshank
14. Eurasian Curlew
15. Rock Dove
16. Common Kingfisher
17. Ruddy Turnstone
18. Northern Lapwing
19. White Wagtail

Then onto Shoreham fort with the hope of picking up the purple sandpiper. The redstart was a pleasant surprise; we knew there had been one at the area, but didn't expect to see it at the fort!

20. Great Cormorant
21. Eurasian Rock Pipit
22. Black Redstart
23. Purple Sandpiper
24. Great Black-Backed Gull
25. Mute Swan
26. House Sparrow

Then onto Widewater Lagoon nearby for mergansers (of which there were none...)

27. Eurasian Coot
28. Little Egret
29. Eurasian Teal

The car park at Widewater was an all-day ticket, so we decided to do a spot of seawatching while we were there. Probably my most succesful seawatch ever!

30. Common Murre
31. Razorbill
32. Northern Gannet
33. Red-Throated Loon
34. Great-Crested Grebe

To Goring gap next, to try and pick up Med gulls and roosting plovers. Tide was too low for the latter at this point, but got a few more ticks:

35. Eurasian Collared Dove
36. Sanderling
37. Dunlin
38. Grey Plover
39. Mediterranean Gull
40. European Stonechat

After quite some deliberation over where to go next (out of Arundel WWT, Pulborough Brooks and Warnham LNR), we decided to go for Arundel. Picked up a few more birds on the drive from Goring.

41. Western Jackdaw
42. Mallard
43. Tufted Duck

Then onto the WWT itself. Had a false alarm early on with some wigeon which turned out to be captive, but found some wild specimens later on so all was good!

44. Greylag Goose
45. Common Pochard
46. Common Moorhen
47. Canada Goose
48. Common Chiffchaff
49. Long-Tailed Tit
50. Common Shelduck
51. Common Snipe
52. Gadwall
53. Grey Heron
54. Mew Gull
55. Common Buzzard
56. Dunnock
57. Eurasian Wren
58. European Goldfinch
59. European Greenfinch
60. Eurasian Wigeon
61. Stock Dove
62. Water Rail
63. Little Grebe
64. Coal Tit
65. Eurasian Nuthatch
66. Eurasian Bullfinch

Then, just as we were about to leave, by *far* the best bird of the day flew over! A UK first for me already on Jan 1, and almost certainly the best bird I've ever been the first reporter of.

67. Common Crane

Then one final bird on the drive back to Crawley:

68. Common Kestrel

rylirk Wednesday 2nd January 2019 12:54

January 2 - Crawley, UK

A quick walk around the local area over lunch yielded a few more firsts for 2019:

69. Eurasian Jay
70. Mistle Thrush
71. Redwing

rylirk Saturday 5th January 2019 19:57

January 4 - Bough Beech & Hartfield, UK

A trip to Bough Beech reservoir in Kent today with the aim to get Barn Owl and Fieldfare on the year list. A Mealy Redpoll had been seen recently, but no luck on that front. The pheasant was from the car enroute:

72. Common Pheasant
73. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
74. Fieldfare
75. Great Spotted Woodpecker
76. Western Barn Owl
77. Marsh Tit

Then onto the Old Lodge reserve in the Ashdown Forest; incredibly quiet at first, but the reserve eventually yielded another early highlight of the year in the form of my first ever good sighting of crossbill! ~25 actively feeding in a well-lit tree very close by.

78. Dartford Warbler
79. Red Crossbill

A quick pitstop at Worth Pond enroute to home to pick up some obliging geese...

80. Egyptian Goose

rylirk Saturday 5th January 2019 20:03

January 5 - Emsworth & Pulborough, UK

Started the day intending to go to the Burgh, but reports of a group of waxwings at Emsworth changed our plans...

81. * Bohemian Waxwing

Then onto Pulborough Brooks to fill a few of the more common holes in my year list:

82. Song Thrush
83. Common Linnet
84. Northern Shoveler
85. Northern Pintail
86. Western Marsh Harrier
87. Goldcrest

rylirk Sunday 6th January 2019 10:41

January 6 - Crawley, UK

A trip to the local lake in Tilgate to try for the regular Mandarin Duck and the Ferruginous Duck which appeared yesterday; no sign of the mandarin. The origin of this particular Ferruginous Duck isn't clear; indications are it may have come from a reintroduction scheme in Germany, so I'm not sure if others would consider it countable? It's going on my list regardless ;) ...

88. Ferruginous Duck
89. Eurasian Siskin

rylirk Thursday 10th January 2019 21:21

January 10 - Warnham, UK

A couple more year ticks from a relatively quick visit to Warnham LNR today. The treecreeper was a relief to find; didn't get one until April last year, and was starting to think they were going to evade me completely this year!

90. Common Reed Bunting
91. Eurasian Treecreeper

rylirk Sunday 13th January 2019 16:32

January 11 - Winchelsea & Rye, UK

First residential birding trip of the year; 2 nights down in Dungeness and Rye. First stop was at Pett Levels to try for White-Fronted Geese and the Velvet Scoters which had been seen regularly offshore. No sign of the velvets, but got their common cousins...

92. Eurasian Oystercatcher
93. Greater White-Fronted Goose
94. Common Scoter

Then onto Rye Harbour reserve to try for the trio of Twite which had been seen recently. Managed the briefest of glimpses just as we were about to leave... first lifer of the year!

95. Eurasian Skylark
96. Meadow Pipit
97. Common Ringed Plover
99. Bar-Tailed Godwit
100. * Twite

rylirk Sunday 13th January 2019 16:36

January 12 - Dungeness & Jurys Gap, UK

2nd day of the trip involved a look around a fairly anemic Dungeness... still, managed to plug a few holes on my 2019 list. Still no Brant or Greenshank... no sign of the Cattle Egrets or Tree Sparrows at Boulderwell Farm.

101. Great Egret
102. Cetti's Warbler
103. Common Goldeneye
104. Peregrine Falcon
105. Lesser Black-Backed Gull
106. Northern Raven
107. Common Firecrest

Then back towards Rye via Scotney gravel pits. A lot of birders seem to turn their nose up at the barnacle geese at Scotney GP, but I've never really worked out why? Bloody thousands of them, so I assume they are self-sustaining!

108. Barnacle Goose

rylirk Tuesday 15th January 2019 21:06

January 15 - Newhaven, UK

A rather eclectic set of year ticks today... the aim was the warbler, which has apparently been on-site since December but news had been suppressed. Got the green woodpecker nearby, and then the Fulmars nesting at Newhaven Fort!

109. * Hume's Leaf Warbler
110. European Green Woodpecker
111. Northern Fulmar

rylirk Sunday 20th January 2019 19:13

January 20 - Goring by Sea & Burpham, UK

Another full day trip, this time to combine a visit to the snow bunting at Goring with a trip into the South Downs to tick off some upland birds! First, down to the beach in Goring-by-Sea:

112. Snow Bunting

Then off to get eyes on the Bewick's Swan family that has been overwintering near the village of Burpham:

113. Tundra Swan

Then up to the Burgh for a few more year ticks I've been urgently lacking!

114. Red Kite
115. Red-Legged Partridge
116. Hen Harrier
117. Grey Partridge
118. Yellowhammer

rylirk Tuesday 22nd January 2019 17:15

January 22 - Redhill, UK

A long time spent at the Mercer's Lake gull roost trying to pick out the glaucous gull which had been using it for the past few days; eventually flew in just as I was thinking about leaving!

119. Rose-Ringed Parakeet
120. * Glaucous Gull

rylirk Thursday 24th January 2019 19:39

January 24 - Lymington, UK

Back in Southampton for a few days to clean up the last few bits of red tape on the way to getting my PhD. Took today off to go visit my old haunt of Pennington Marshes; in addition to finding the scaup, I got a few more common birds that I was somehow still missing!

121. Brant Goose
122. Black-Tailed Godwit
123. Pied Avocet
124. Common Greenshank
125. Greater Scaup

rylirk Sunday 27th January 2019 11:56

January 27 - Crawley, UK

Finally met up with this Tilgate Lake 'regular' on the 3rd attempt this year!

126. Mandarin Duck

rylirk Thursday 31st January 2019 15:50

So, I finally did it! Been thinking about going for this bird for quite some time...

January 31 - Wageningen, the Netherlands

I guess this was my first foreign twitch! And what a bird! Came to my hand almost immediately upon being offered some peanuts (although it didn't eat any and just bit me instead...). Easily bird of the year so far, and a strong contender for my bird of the year 2019!

127. * Spotted Nutcracker

Summary for January:

127 year ticks
4 lifers

rylirk Saturday 2nd February 2019 12:22

February 1 - Utrecht, Netherlands

Spent my second day in the Netherlands looking round Utrecht. Didn't do any birding per se, but got one European speciality for the year list.

128. * Short-Toed Treecreeper

rylirk Sunday 3rd February 2019 21:07

February 3 - Goring-by-Sea & Small Dole, UK

Re-traced part of our route for our Jan 1 bird race (switching out Arundel for Woods Mill), but with significantly worse results... Did manage to get a few birds of interest during a seawatch at Goring, including the mergansers, and the wagtail turned up as we were leaving Woods Mill.

129. Red-Breasted Merganser
130. Grey Wagtail

rylirk Monday 4th February 2019 15:58

February 4 - Redhill, UK

A quick trip up to Mercer's Park to see the diver which appeared on-site yesterday evening.

131. Black-Throated Loon

rylirk Sunday 10th February 2019 11:59

February 10 - Swords, Ireland

So today I start the big move out to Lubbock, Texas. But first things first; picked up a year tick from a layover at Dublin airport.

132. * Hooded Crow

rylirk Monday 11th February 2019 21:53

February 11 - Sellersville & Doylestown, PA, USA

Spending a couple days with family in Pennsylvania enroute to my new job in Texas. First of all, found a few birds out and about in the housing estate in Sellersville, but generally fairly quiet in the snow:

133. Northern Cardinal
134. Turkey Vulture
135. Mourning Dove
136. Dark-Eyed Junco
137. Red-Tailed Hawk
138. Double-Crested Cormorant
139. American Crow
140. American Robin

Then onto my usual Pennsylvania haunt at Peace Valley in Doylestown; my first time at the site in Winter! First a few birds from the hide:

141. Tufted Titmouse
142. Carolina Chickadee
143. Downy Woodpecker
144. * White-Throated Sparrow
145. White-Breasted Nuthatch
146. Song Sparrow

Then a few from the trails around the lake, including my long-awaited first flicker!

147. Blue Jay
148. * Hooded Merganser
149. * Hairy Woodpecker
150. Bald Eagle
151. * Northern Flicker

Then down to the dam end of the reservoir to pick through a mass of gulls:

152. American Herring Gull
153. Ring-Billed Gull

rylirk Tuesday 12th February 2019 20:48

February 12 - Tinicum, PA, USA

Awful weather in Pennsylvania today, but got a couple of year ticks around a frozen pond near an airport hotel.

154. Common Merganser
155. * Brown-Headed Cowbird

rylirk Thursday 14th February 2019 13:12

February 13 - Lubbock, TX, USA

Well, here I am in Lubbock; I'll be here for 2 years if all goes well! Tried some local birding in the afternoon at Clapp Park, but conditions were difficult (poor light and very high winds). Managed a few Southwest specialities, and picked up my first Lubbock lifer.

156. Great-Tailed Grackle
157. Northern Mockingbird
158. American Goldfinch
159. * Red-Shouldered Hawk

rylirk Thursday 14th February 2019 23:24

February 14 - Lubbock, TX, USA

Had a look around another park this morning (McAlister, to be precise), with considerably more success than yesterday! Unlike Clapp Park, McAlister's lake actually has water in it at the moment! A nice mix of new birds, birds I've seen elsewhere in the US and American birds I've seen as vagrants in the UK!

160. * Northern Harrier
161. * Savannah Sparrow
162. Horned Lark
163. Red-Winged Blackbird
164. Ring-Necked Duck
165. Pied-Billed Grebe
166. Great Blue Heron
167. * Killdeer
168. * Prairie Falcon
169. * Cackling Goose

And then, after an afternoon of paperwork for my position at Texas Tech, one more year tick on campus:

170. * White-Winged Dove

rylirk Sunday 17th February 2019 02:59

February 16 - Lubbock & Ransom Canyon, TX, USA

With weekend upon us and my father down to visit from Pennsylvania, we could finally have a proper look around the town! After setting up a US bank account for me, the first stop was Lubbock's ranching heritage centre, which yielded a couple of birds for the year list:

171. House Finch
172. * Myrtle Warbler

Then on to the small town of Ransom Canyon to the east:

173. * Curve-Billed Thrasher
174. * Snow Goose
175. American Coot
176. Cedar Waxwing

rylirk Monday 18th February 2019 04:28

February 17 - Palo Duro, TX, USA

Went a little further afield today, up to Palo Duro canyon near Amarillo. But first of all, a lifer from the car near the town of Abernathy:

177. * Chihuahuan Raven

Then picked up a few more birds hiking around the (very impressive) canyon:

178. * Golden-Fronted Woodpecker
179. * Canyon Wren
180. * Spotted Towhee

And then... the motherlode! Found a bird hide with feeders:

181. * Pine Siskin
182. * White-Crowned Sparrow
183. * Black-Crested Titmouse
184. Brown Thrasher
185. * Bewick's Wren
186. * Red Fox Sparrow

All in all, the best bird day in Texas thus far.

rylirk Tuesday 19th February 2019 01:48

February 18 - Lubbock, TX, USA

No lifers today, but one year tick in a park after work:

187. * Ladder-Backed Woodpecker

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