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lazza Monday 5th January 2015 09:23

Lazza's 2015 list
Well, here we go again!

As with previous year lists, 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 my totals for mammals and any other interesting species!

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

UK: 147
Switzerland: 44 (*4)
France: 41 (*5)
Germany: 14 (*0)
Spain: 110 (*54)
Sweden: 58 (*3)
Finland: 50 (*8)

2015 Total: 221

And, for the record:
- mammal total: 16
- amphibian total: 4

* unique species to that country's list

lazza Monday 5th January 2015 09:30

OK, so let's go! New Year's Day was spent entirely in the house, so only garden species seen, and not very many either:

1. Dunnock (the resident three were the first species seen this year)
2. Blue tit
3. Blackbird
4. Black-headed gull
5. Carrion Crow
6. Woodpigeon
7. House sparrow
8. Robin

And that was it for January 1st.... but more was to come on Jan 2nd, including, most surprisingly, a new species for the lifetime garden list, as I opened to bedroom curtains to see a lovely bird casually flying over and along the street:

9. Little egret!
10. Great tit

Then I headed into Newcastle with the family for the panto, picking up

11. Jackdaw
12. Magpie

at Stannington Station

13. Buzzard

along the A1 near Seaton Burn, and

14. Feral pigeon / rock dove
15. Herring gull

in Newcastle city centre.

On the 3rd January, I added another couple of species to the year's garden list:

16. Starling
17. Collared dove

Then on the 4th, we headed to Beamish Museum, and having left my bins at home, the only species to join the list was:

18. Pheasant

lazza Monday 5th January 2015 09:33

Then to today. On the way to drop of my girls at school, I finally saw my first

19. Wren

of the year (having had them in the garden every day for the last 2 weeks until the end of last year!)

Then a quick stop at Bothal Pond on the way home added:

20. Mallard
21. Wigeon
22. Teal
23. Oystercatcher
24. Rook
25. Coot
26. Shoveler
27. Moorhen

And a scan of the fields at Shadfen revealed

28. Linnet
29. Fieldfare
30. Redwing script: two more species added on the school run this afternoon, in Stobhill Morpeth, at the first school:

31. Goldfinch
32. Pied wagtail

lazza Friday 9th January 2015 14:32

Not much time to get out there so far, but another added to the year's garden list this afternoon:

33. Long-tailed tit

I think there were also 1 or 2 common gulls among the BHGs at the Stobhill roundabout when I dropped the girls off at school yesterday, but they had all gone by the time I was heading home with a little more time to have a look.... will keep an eye out.

lazza Thursday 15th January 2015 09:48

Good progress (IMHO!) last weekend, with a couple of trips out. Firstly, a ride out on my bike in very windy conditions on Saturday, stopping off at West Hartford in the hope of seeing the shrike again (but no luck), and calling in at a couple of other sites too.

Nothing much at W. Hartford, but added

34. Grey heron

and, in the school fields at East Hartford, there were a couple of immature

35. Great blackback gull

Then on to Castle Island, where I added:

36. Shelduck
37. Gadwall
38. Little grebe
39. Cormorant
40. Lesser blackback gull
41. Red-breasted merganser
42. Common gull

And further up the Wansbeck, down from Guidepost:

43. Mute swan

Then, on the Sunday, I had a couple of hours at Plessey Woods with my girls, which again was quite productive, despite birding being secondary!

44. Chaffinch
45. Nuthatch (several heard, but not seen)
46. Dipper
47. Goldcrest
48. Jay
49. Kestrel

And then another short ride on my bike on Sunday afternoon, stopping briefly at Bothal pond, added:

50. Goldeneye
51. Redshank
52. Tufted duck (presumably missed off inadvertently on my last visit)

lazza Thursday 15th January 2015 09:56

A few days in Switzerland with work, with little time (or daylight) to do any birding, but still managed to start my Swiss list:

At GVA airport:

1. Carrion crow
2. House sparrow

As I drove through the centre of Geneva:

3. Feral pigeon
4. Mute swan
5. Coot
6. Black-headed gull
7. Yellow-legged gull*

And then during a brief stop at the "Geneva plage" car-park at Port Noir:

8. Red-crested pochard
9. Tufted duck
10. Great-crested grebe
11. Cormorant
12. Goosander

At Rennaz, just to the east of Lake Geneva:

13. Grey heron (one in almost every field!)
14. Buzzard

At Evionnaz, in the factory's car park:

15. Blackbird

And in Martigny, in the hotel grounds at dusk:

16. Great tit
17. Wren

Also had a stop off at Pas de Morgins in the hope of seeing a few more species, but it was almost devoid of life (although it was snowing quite hard, so no surprise, I suppose)... only two species heard (and seen fleetingly), and neither definitively identified (probably goldcrest and possibly redpoll)

* 1 species not on the UK list

lazza Thursday 15th January 2015 09:58

And finally, while driving through France, along the southern side of Lake Geneva:

In Douvaine:

1. Grey heron
2. Carrion crow
3. Blackbird

In St Gingolph:
4. Yellow-legged gull
5. Coot
6. Tufted duck
7. Mallard
8. Black-headed gull

lazza Friday 16th January 2015 16:48

53. Coal tit

....finally turned up in the garden again today. Not sure where they have been the last 2 weeks!

And then a short stop at West Hartford (hoping for the shrike) added

54. Meadow pipit

Also, last night, coming back from Newcastle Airport late at night, I notched up my first mammal of the year, as a small group of rabbit [1] fed on the grass verges at Stannington Station.

lazza Monday 19th January 2015 09:40

Out to Bolam Lake on Saturday with the girls, in the hope of seeing brambling, but no luck with that. Nevertheless, added three more to the year list:

55. Goosander
56. Great spotted woodpecker
57. Treecreeper

Also saw my first red squirrel[2] of the year

lazza Wednesday 21st January 2015 12:01

Had to take the car for its MOT to Silverlink yesterday, so on the way back, I called at North Shields fish quay to see if I could find any visiting gulls.... no luck, sadly, but I did add a couple of species to the list, and also some more on the way home:

At North Shields:

58. Eider - flock of 20-30 in the Tyne
59. Turnstone - several on the roofs of the warehouses!

Then, passing St Mary's, Whitley Bay

60. Lapwing
61. Sanderling

And passing along the dunes at Blyth:

62. Curlew
63. Golden plover

lazza Monday 26th January 2015 09:56

Visiting friends in Keswick at the weekend, and we had a walk over Latrigg and along the lakeside. Lots of active birds about in the woods and on the water. Also a nice surprise over Latrigg, the small hill just outside the town centre:

64. Raven - a single calling a soaring over Latrigg

On Derwentwater:

65. Greylag goose
66. Pochard

Also, for the record, a new species added to my garden list today.... not exactly in the garden, but seen in neighbours trees - 6 redwing :)

And while watching these and a grey heron on our neighbour's tree, there was a nice fly-by from a:

67. Sparrowhawk

lazza Monday 2nd February 2015 09:37

Out on my bike Saturday morning, in icy, windy weather. Still, I made it out to the coast, which was good, and spent an hour at Cresswell Pond. On the way there, I picked up a couple of

68. Yellowhammer

in the hedgerows near the Linton roundabout.

The at Cresswell pond:

69. Pinkfoot goose
70. Tree sparrow
71. Dunlin

And north of Cresswell pond, in the fields near the farmhouse:

72. Twite

SO, the end of January arrives, and my total is a rather feeble 75, with 72 species in the UK and 3 further species in Switzerland (this compared to 86 last year!)

lazza Monday 2nd February 2015 09:46

The girls fancied a day out on the beach, as the sun was shining. So despite the continuing icy north wind, we headed out to Druridge Bay, where we had a few hours exploring the dunes and wandering up the beach, plus a stop at Cresswell Pond and the Drift café. On the beach, I added:

73. Common scoter - a pair braving the huge rollers pounding in
74. Guillemot - a single bird heading north

Then, today, after dropping the girls at school, I added one of the "glaring omissions" from this year's list as I cycled back through our estate:

75. Song thrush

(but still several "glaring omissions" to go at: greenfinch, siskin, mistle thrush, bullfinch, reed bunting....)

lazza Tuesday 3rd February 2015 12:43

Cycled into Morpeth at lunchtime via the blue footbridge east of the town centre, and was rewarded with

76. Kingfisher - a single bird flew under the bridge, heading upstream


77. Grey wagtail

as well as a goosander and a little grebe

lazza Friday 6th February 2015 18:02

Trip to France with work, driving from Paris to Rouen and back, with a couple of stop-offs with the bins. Quite productive on the whole, as I added 19 birds to this year's French list, including, bizarrely, 5 species to my lifelong France list!

On the outskirts of Paris, from the A13 near Nanterre:

9. Cormorant

In Notre Dame de Bondeville, near Rouen, at the factory I was visiting:

10. Magpie
11. Great tit
12. Blue tit
13. Chaffinch
14. Buzzard

Then, in Darnétal on the way out of Rouen:

15. Mistle thrush - new for France!
16. Rook
17. Stock dove* - new for France
18. Kestrel

At Gournay-en-Bray, where I stopped just out of town for a teleconference(!):

19. Moorhen - new for France
20. Robin
21. Song thrush - new for France!
22. Lapwing

and Cuigy-en-Bray:

23. for France, apparently!

And during a stop at Aire Lormaison Ouest, near Méru:

24. Green woodpecker*
25. Great spotted woodpecker
26. Jackdaw
27. Willow tit

And one for the mammals list: brown hare[3] in a field on the outskirts of Beauvais.

* including 3 species not already on any other list

lazza Friday 6th February 2015 18:03

And I nearly forgot - I stopped off at Prestwick Carr on the way to the airport to check out the:

78. Willow tit

lazza Tuesday 10th February 2015 13:29

Hoping to see some geese, I headed all the way up to Budle Bay, but other than a good few hundred pink-footed geese, I wasn't successful. Nevertheless, I did add:

79. Bar-tailed godwit (completely absent from last year's list, so nice to have)
80. Mistle thrush
81. Reed bunting
82. Grey partridge

lazza Monday 16th February 2015 14:17

OK, quite a jump in the last few days....

Off on my bike again on Sunday morning, I headed up to Beacon Hill - always my first "hill" of the year, and quite exhausting. But I managed to add 3 more species to the year list.

Firstly, as I cycled over the ridge from the Piramal factory to the River Wansbeck, as I passed the edge of Borough Wood, I finally got my first:

83. Greenfinch

The hedges along the lanes through Mitford and up through Pigdon were buzzing with singing birds, with chaffinch and blue tit abundant all along the route, and a fair few song thrush, dunnock, robin and wren belting out their songs. But the highlight, literally stopping me in my tracks, was as I cycled up past Berryhill Farm, near Stanton, when a distinct call rang out from bushes:

84. Marsh tit

Beacon Hill was equally full of birdsong, and the woods rang out with lots of territorial behaviour, while on the freewheel back down into Morpeth, a small group of

85. Red-legged partridge

ran across the road in front of me

Onto today, when the news came to me of a local sighting, so I headed out to Coopies Lane industrial estate, and was straight away on to the pair of

86. Waxwing

in trees opposite the council Vehicle Depot. The pair fed on berries right by the fence on and off the whole 20 minutes I was there. And then a bonus on the way home, with a doleful call alerting me to a small party of

87. Bullfinch

at the entrance to our estate.

lazza Monday 23rd February 2015 10:49

Went out to Cresswell beach late on Friday night in the hope of seeing the aurora borealis, without success (once again!).... but a consolation was the sight of a

88. Barn owl

quartering the dunes, a ghostly shadow floating silently over the coast! Also, had a fox [4] run across the road as I drove through Ellington

lazza Sunday 8th March 2015 19:24

Seem to have lost an update somewhere.... anyway, lots to add:

Trip to Germany late February, with very little time to spare, but still managed to add a new species for the year, and a new species to my Gremany life-list:

At Lampertheim, on the factory site I was visiting:

1. Blue tit
2. Blackbird
3. Carrion crow
4. Magpie

And while at the hotel in Mainz:

5. Great tit
6. Starling
7. Woodpigeon
8. Ring-necked parakeet
9. House sparrow

In Ingelheim:

10. Kestrel - new for Germany
11. Grey heron
12. Feral pigeon

ANd from the car travelling along the Autobahn...

13. Buzzard (near Worms)
14. Cormorant (near Mainz)

no species not on a previous/higher list in 2015

lazza Sunday 8th March 2015 19:26

On the way back from the airport after my trip to Germany, I called in at Prestwick Carr for half an hour. But it was enough time to see a magnificent:

89. Short-eared owl

which put up a couple of

90. Snipe

Also, a pair of roe deer [5] on distant fields.

lazza Sunday 8th March 2015 19:27

Out with my two girls in Choppington Woods on 1st March, where there were several signs of Spring, including lots of frog spawn and plenty of frogs {1}, and plenty of territorial displaying among the birdlife. Also, over neighbouring farmland, 2015's first singing:

91. Skylark

Finally, this weekend, a long ride out on my bike on Saturday, up to Amble and then back down the coast calling in at a few of the reserves along the way. Also a lot of mammals about with rabbits seen in many places, a startled brown hare in a lane near Tritlington, two good sightings of stoats [6] at Maiden's Hall lake and Druridge bay, the latter animal carrying a squealing field vole[7] along the coastal path!

As for birdlife, there was lots to see too. In Amble, the harbour was full of a-oo-ing eider, and there were plenty of curlew and oystercatcher. On the rocks near the harbour mouth was my first:

92. Rock pipit

of the year, while the grassland south of the town held lots of gulls, oystercatchers and a couple of linnet.

On the beach at Low Hauxley, I added:

93. Ringed plover

Low Hauxley reserve itself was also quite productive, with plenty of greylag and Canada goose, along with a good mix of waders (including a pair of bar-tailed godwit) and ducks (lots of gadwall, tufties, goldeneye, wigeon and teal).

At East Chevington, the northern "woodland" hide didn't produce the hoped-for redpoll, and not much was visible into the sun (mute swans and goldeneye). Moving around to the waterside hide on the east side of the lake was slightly more productive, with good views of more goldeneye, coots and gulls, and after almost giving up, I finally located the:

94. Red-necked grebe - my 100th species for 2015 (as it was in 2014, bizarrely!)

Finally, heading along the coastal path past Druridge pools, I finally found my first:

95. Stonechat

- first a female on low bushes, followed soon afterwards by a male on a fence post.

lazza Wednesday 11th March 2015 09:39

On a "quick" diversion during an early drive over to Liverpool this week, I stopped at Campfield Marsh RSPB reserve on the Solway estuary with geese in mind! The reserve was deserted and the visitor centre closed, but there was plenty of bird life about (including car-park feeders with dozens of tree sparrow and chaffinch), with plenty of ducks on the pools.

On the most distant pool, from the hide:

96. Pintail

By the feeders at the car park:

97. Stock dove

But no geese at the reserve. However, a drive further out along the estuary soon gave me my target species, as there were three

98. Barnacle goose

in a field full of pinkfooted geese. Further flocks of both species were seen in fields and flying over the estuary, with very large numbers of barnacle geese at Anthorn.

lazza Friday 20th March 2015 10:57

I somehow seem to have missed a species from my count, seen all the way back in February in Newbiggin. So as not to have to re-number everything, I'll add it here:

99. Mediterranean gull

The significance of this being the following takes me to my UK 100 by 19 March....oddly enough, exactly the same species as last year, but 2 days earlier (and even more strangely, my overall 100th species of 2014 and 2015 was the same)!!

Yesterday gave me my first summer migrant on the list for 2015. After a trip into Morpeth, and a rather delightful interlude watching the kingfisher and grey wagtail by the blue footbridge, I headed back home up the track past Allery banks allotments, to hear my first

100. Chiffchaff

of the year :)

lazza Tuesday 31st March 2015 10:09

Out to Spain for our annual Easter visit to the in-laws' house near Alicante, and this time, for two whole weeks, although I will be working for part of it. Nevertheless, on our arrival day, I managed an hour out on my bike around the local irrigation canals and farm tracks, surrounding the Urbanizacion, and together with several other obeservations, it was a good start to 2015's Spain list:

Driving from the airport along the N332, near El Altet:

1. Spotless starling*
2. Jackdaw

And then as we drove between the Salinas lagoons of Santa Pola:

3. Greater flamingo*
4. Little egret
5. Pochard
6. Slender-billed gull*
7. Yellow-legged gull
8. Black-winged stilt*
9. Avocet*

As we drove by La Marina:

10. Collared dove

ANd on reaching La Marina Urb, from the in-laws' garden

11. House sparrow
12. Serin*
13. Goldfinch
14. Pallid swift* (clearest views I think I've ever had!)
15. White wagtail

The verde across the road from their house has really matured in the last 2 years, and it is now thriving with singing serin and goldfinch, which is a nice soundscape to have sitting out on the veranda!

Out on my bike late afternoon, and as I headed along the edge of the Urb:

16. Tree sparrow (only my 2nd time seeing this species in Spain, but a good flock of 15-20 birds)
17. Greenfinch
18. Blackbird
19. Southern grey shrike*

Then along the irrigation canals south of the Urb:

20. Crested lark* (lots!)
21. Corn bunting*
22. Zitting cisticola*
23. Hoopoe*
24. Sardinian Warbler*
25. Grey heron

Before reaching the mouth of the Rio Segura, where I added:

26. Black redstart
27. Barn swallow
28. Common swift
29. Audouin's gull*
30. Coot

....and an enormous snake, which slithered across the track in front of me (Montpellier's snake?)

Finally, at lunch-time today, a brief ride around the local canals also added:

31. Moorhen
32. Great tit
33. Iberian Green Woodpecker*

* 15 species not on any previous/higher list

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