Lazza's 2017 lists
Same set-up as usual:
I'll be keeping a separate list for each country I visit, so each country's list will be numbered separately. This initial post will be used to keep a running count of each country's total, as well as an overall total of species seen across all countries visited and possibly list of anything else of note!
As there will be species that are common across several lists, the list on which that species first appears will be the one on which it is counted as "unique" unless the species is seen in the UK - my primary list - in which case, it will count towards the UK total (which probably makes no sense to anyone but me!)
Switzerland: 57 (7*)
France: 55 (4*)
Spain: 87 (39*)
Sweden: 52 (4*)
USA: 43 (35*)
2017 Total: 250
And, for the record:
- mammal total: 14
* unique species to that country's list
Rather a slow start this year, as I didn't get a chance for any birding outings in the first few days of January. Nevertheless, a few garden birds to tick, plus those seen when out-and-about for other things, brings me to 31 for my first post:
In the garden, at Stobhill in Morpeth (1st of January):
1. Starling (heard in their loft roost around 4am!)
3. Carrion crow
5. Black-headed gull
Also on the 1st, in Morpeth town centre:
11. Feral pigeon
13. Herring gull
14. Little grebe
On the 2nd, just one species added, driving through Stannington Station:
15. House sparrow (not sure where the garden sparrows have been hiding!)
And on the 3rd, another garden species added:
16. Blue tit
Finally, today: a very brief call by Shadfen and Bothal Pond (where an icy wind and inadequate clothing prevented me from lingering):
17. Fieldfare (Shadfen)
21. Canada Goose
23. Tufted duck
25. Greylag goose
And at the flash on the road down to Sheepwash bridge:
28. Pinkfooted goose
And on Stobhill Manor estate:
30. Collared dove
31. Coal tit
Today, while picking my kids up from school:
32. Greenfinch - eezzzzing from the top of a tree in the school grounds
And back at home, in the garden, two "usual suspects" finally decided to put in appearances:
34. Great tit
Another quick stop at Bothal Pond this morning, in rather warmer conditions than the last one, and so rather more productive with 31 species noted in all, in just 20 minutes. New additions for the list:
38. Mistle thrush - one in with a small flock of Fieldfare on the horse field
41. Mute swan
42. Redwing - 9 flew over
Called in on friends living nearby, in Hepscott, on Saturday evening, and as I got out of the car, I heard a
43. Tawny Owl
ker-wicking from their neighbour's garden.
Then yesterday, as I was trying to tidy the garden a little, I was serenaded by an excitable sounding
Finally, a couple of drives by Bothal pond (without stopping) still added:
46. Song thrush
Still not had much time to get out, but I added:
48. Pied wagtail
at Birch services on the M62 last week!
Only two more species to add, but one's a beauty - a long awaited garden tick!
49. Waxwing - six of them in a neighbour's tree and flying over this morning as I left the house to take the kids to school! oh, yes!
50. Bullfinch - 3-4 seen around the estate when I went back out looking (unsuccessfully) for the waxwings!
Still ticking along, but as 4 of the 5 below came from driving along motorways, you can see I've still not really got going yet this year!!
First, end of last week, near home:
51. Common gull
- one among a few dozen BHGs on the field next to our housing estate.
Then, on a drive down to my in-laws in Preston, and my own parents in Stockport, I added 4 more species from the driver's seat...
52. Long-tailed tit - flying over the A1 at the A69 turnoff , West Denton, Newcastle
53. Buzzard - perched on a fence post, Shap summit, M6
54. Grey heron - flew over M60 near the Ashton turn-off
55. Lesser Black-backed Gull - on a lamppost by the M65, near Bamber Bridge, Preston
Also, for the record, my first two mammal sightings of the year: firstly, a stoat  ran across the road at Stannington Station, Northumberland; and then, at my parents' house in Hazel Grove, the usual grey squirrels  made an appearance.
A few updates from the last week.
Mid-last week, another addition to the year's garden list:
Then, on a ride out to the coast on Sunday, I added several more species, including my target bird (and a lifer!):
57. Golden plover - about 400 in a field at West Chevington
Also, three roe deer  close to the road, which stopped to watch me cycle by!
58. Red-breasted merganser - Druridge Bay CP
At East Chevington reserve:
59. Pacific diver - lifer!
At the mouth of Chevington burn:
At Druridge Pools:
64. Black-tailed godwit
At Cresswell on the "village green":
And finally, as I rode up out of Bothal Village:
68. Great spotted woodpecker - one calling from the woods, and another flew across as I struggled up the hill towards Shadfen farm
My last addition to the UK list in January was on 30 Jan, as I drove to the airport for an early flight.
69. Barn Owl
- seen as I passed through Stannington Station.
Also, a couple of rabbits  by the roadside.
(so a fairly pathetic UK total for January for this year!)
Then, on to my first trip away of the year - a visit to Switzerland for work.
On 30 January...
1. Rook - loads of them on the grass verges by the runways
At the motorway services near Pratteln:
2. House sparrow
3. Feral pigeon
4. Carrion crow
5. Black-headed gull
From the motorway, as I headed south (near Arisdorf):
7. Common buzzard
And in Zofingen, 31 January:
8. Blue tit
Then, heading back to Basel on 1st Feb:
10. Red kite* - over the motorway near Tenniken
And at the same motorway services near Prattlen:
11. Great tit
Finally, I had about an hour around Birsfeld, near Basel, before heading home:
15. Great spotted woodpecker
19. Coal tit
* 1 species not on any previous/higher country list
A quick stop at Prestwick Carr on the way back from the airport:
70. Reed bunting
71. Little egret
(but no shrike!)
Slow progress, still, but have managed an hour at the coast, at Newbiggin, adding:
73. Great black-backed gull
75. Ringed Plover
One to add, heard singing over the neighbouring fields - probably for the last time, as the fields will be a housing estate by next spring :(
Had a ride out to the coast on Saturday morning, and took a new route along the River Blyth out to the estuary (wasn't even aware of this rather nice tarmac path) and then down the coast to Whitley Bay.
At Blyth Estuary:
77. Bar-tailed godwit
78. Grey plover
Then at St Mary's Island, a short sea-watch from the hide while I ate my lunch:
81. Red-throated diver
First trip to France for 2017, so a whole new country list to start.
Firstly, at Lyon airport:
1. Skylark - actually new for France, it seems
2. House sparrow
6. White wagtail
Also, a brown hare  running alongside the runway as we landed!
Then, a stop in a small town called Charvieu-Chavagneux to eat my lunch, with a short walk around a lake:
7. Mute swan
10. Grey wagtail
11. Great tit
12. Blue tit
14. Pheasant - new for France life list
15. Carrion Crow
20. Long-tailed tit
Then, as I passed through Loyettes:
21. Feral pigeon
And at the "chalets" I was staying at in Chazey-sur-Ain:
25. Reed bunting - new for France
26. Green woodpecker*
* 1 species not on an earlier list or UK so far
Had an hour to spare before heading home from my trip to France, and had a drive around the lakes of the "Les Dombes" region in the early evening. It's a great place to visit with a little time to spare as there are dozens of dozens of lakes, which you can just park up by and watch the amazing spectacle of wildfowl and herons.
So, starting with Étang Fontaine:
28. Grey heron
29. Great egret
31. Great crested grebe
32. Tufted duck
also, a few introduced Coypu  in the shallows.
Then on to Étang Planche:
33. Pochard - I can honestly say I have never seen such a sight: maybe 2000 pochard almost carpeting one end of the lake!
34. Shoveler - new for my France life list
And then Étang Murit:
35. Song thrush
36. Green sandpiper* - new for France for me
37. Red-crested pochard
38. Gadwall - new for France
39. Wigeon - new for France
And finally, Étang Turlet:
41. Black-headed gull
42. Little grebe - also new for France, it appears!
43. Marsh tit
* 1 species not on an earlier list
Nice garden visitor, on the feeders:
A few additions locally last weekend.
Firstly, on a short cycle round the area, as I rode along the river east of Morpeth:
84. Grey wagtail
Then on a visit to Wallington Hall:
During the week, I have been up to Aberdeen in Scotland with work, with a couple of stop-offs on the way (one for work, one for lunch!)
As I drove up through Northumberland, I spotted my first UK:
of the year as I drove through Hartburn.
Then, I took the scenic coastal route up to Aberdeen through Arbroath, adding:
88. Rock pipit
After a couple of days working, and before I headed home, I went to the golf course/headland south of the Don estuary, where I unexpectedly added a lifer!
89. Iceland gull - lifer!! A lovely pale 1st winter gull in among common and black-headed gull
90. Purple sandpiper
A decent weekend weatherwise got me out on my bike, with a trip up the coast on Saturday and a haul up into the hills on Sunday!
A decent return of new species for the list, but not quite as good as hoped. Nevertheless, the addition at Harwood forest was my first of this species in 3 or 4 years, so very welcome :)
Firstly, the trip to the coast, I picked up a couple of species on the way, firstly at Shadfen fields:
And then, flying over as I cycled through Guidepost, a flock of twenty-six:
93. Whooper Swan (I was to see more than fifty through the day)
Once I reached the coast, at Lynemouth:
And finally, at Cresswell Pond:
95. Tree sparrow
96. Avocet - 3 new arrivals, strangely juxtapositioned with 3 whoopers
97. Meadow Pipit
Then, on the Sunday, I headed up to Harwood Forest, via several woodlands, hoping for a chiffchaff or two, but no luck. But then one of my optimistic targets turned up rather nicely as I headed up the hill towards Winter's Gibbet:
- a delightfully bright yellow-green female preening atop a tree next to the road :)
100-up for the UK over the weekend.
A short cycle around Morpeth on Saturday added:
99. Goosander - on the river in the town centre
100. Chiffchaff - calling from woodland near Hebron
A couple of rides out the last weekend of March, adding some very nice species:
Firstly, an early ride out to Newbiggin on the Saturday added:
101. Mediterranean gull
And on the way back, at Bothal Pond:
102. Great-creasted grebe
Then, on the Sunday, I rode back from a family trip to the beach at Cresswell, adding a couple of crackers at Druridge Pools:
103. Great white egret
105. Water pipit (3 of them!) - new for my UK list :)
And a quick stop at East Chevington was long enough to spot a couple of smart-looking:
Away with work in Switzerland again last week, travelling by train so not much chance to find any good birding spots. Nevertheless, the list ticked on, including a new species for Switzerland!
In Zofingen, Aargau canton:
21. Short-toed treecreeper*
22. White wagtail
23. Mistle thrush - new for Switzerland, somehow
24. Common swift
25. Alpine swift* - a couple of dozen cackling over the factory!
Travelling back to the airport on the train, I had to change at Olten, adding:
Then changing again, and stopping for a beer in a riverside bar, I also added:
* 2 species not on a previous/earlier list
Two weeks in Spain, partly on holiday with the family. We usually visit Spain twice each year, at Easter and in the summer, but we have other plans for the summer, so this will be my only visit to Spain in 2017, I think....so some serious effort needed to get anywhere near last year's Spain list!
Day 1, we arrived quite late in the afternoon, so I only had time to spot a few species on the drive from Alicante airport to the in-laws' house in La Marina (just south of Santa Pola) plus a short cycle ride around the Urbanizacion and surrounding farmland.
1. Hoopoe* - a nice first species, as one flew across the highway as we exited the airport!
2. Spotless starling*
4. Yellow-legged gull*
5. Pochard - quite a large group in a pool right by the N332
6. Black-winged stilt*
...then heading south through the Sta Pola Salinas:
8. Barn swallow
9. Black-headed gull
10. Greater flamingo*
Heading past La Marina town:
...and into Urb La Marina:
12. Crested lark*
13. House sparrow
14. Sardinian warbler*
On a late afternoon cycle, I added a few more species. At Urb Oasis:
16. Zitting cisticola*
Then, at the monastery ruins north west of the Urb:
17. Southern grey shrike*
18. Common swift
And along the tracks nearby (heading to the two reservoirs):
19. Little egret
22. Feral pigeon
At the reservoirs:
23. Grey heron
And at the bottom end of the Palm Farm track:
25. Glossy ibis*
26. Lapwing - quite a surprise to hear lapwing calling in a couple of places
(* 12 species not on a previous list)
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