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Old Thursday 7th December 2017, 11:03   #51
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Location: Durham, UK
Posts: 363
Not been able to get out birding for the last few weeks, due to work and family commitments. However yesterday I had to go to Heysham, Lancashire for work, and finished what I had to do by early afternoon. Before heading back north I checked BirdGuides local sightings, which brought me a somewhat unexpected addition.

7th December, Heysham

181. red-billed chough*

Thanks are due to whoever put yesterday morning's report in for stating the location more specifically - my first ever visit to the town, I'd have had no idea where to go otherwise (and yes, I submitted the afternoon sighting too...). First I've seen for a number of years - South Stack cliffs on Anglesey I think was my last chough, although my love of skiing means I get to see a lot more of the Alpine variety.
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Old Monday 18th December 2017, 21:11   #52
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Brief trip to Islay was planned as an attempt to get me over the 182 mark, after last years visit to Galloway dipped on both white-fronted goose and black guillemot.

16th December, Kennacraig, West Loch Tarbert

182. great northern diver*
183. black guillemot* beating my 1972 UK PB!

17th December, RSPB Loch Gruinart

184. barnacle goose
185. white-fronted goose*
186. hooded crow*
187. hen harrier
(plus a lot more red-billed choughs at Ardnave)

18th December, West Loch Tarbert

188. black-throated diver*
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 13:06   #53
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Taking stock of an ultimately successful years birding, 188 might not impress many but it's the largest number of species I've seen in a single year in Britain.

I didn't think I'd make it at the start of the year due to work and other time constraints, and said I'd try for a 'two-year' total..well, I abandoned that in pursuit of a single year PB, but there were still ten species I saw in UK in 2016 but dipped in 2017:
smew; long-billed dowitcher; greenshank; great grey shrike; Pallas's warbler; spotted, pied and red-breasted flycatchers; whinchat; and tree pipit.

There were 18 species I saw back in 1972 that didn't feature on my 2017 list. They included corn bunting (seen early and frequently then), Bewick's swan, turtle dove and (breeding) red-backed shrike - a roll-call of decline. At the same time, my 1972 'lifers' included little egret, spoonbill and yellow-browed warbler - all significant rarities at the time, but a foretaste of things to come. My 2017 list included species which I wouldn't have dreamt of at the time - little egret and spoonbill of course, plus glossy ibis, great egret, purple heron; red kite in NE England; and ring-necked parakeet in London, although my 14-year old self would've been most impressed by the fact I saw two water rails in the course of 2017!
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