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Targets for 2019

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Old Sunday 29th September 2019, 20:19   #151
raymie
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I had three targets this year: Greater Prairie-Chicken, Black-billed Cuckoo, and European Goldfinch. The first one I got on the lek. The second I did end up seeing (twice, on separate occasions). But the goldfinch still evades me.
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Old Sunday 13th October 2019, 18:21   #152
JWN Andrewes
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October 12th

A whole weekend to play with, had wondered whether a two-day road trip would be in order, but as it turned out the obvious bird to go for on Saturday morning was a nice local Kentish Plover up at Southport. We got there nice and early, and found the bird already under scrutiny. It was soon flushed by a dog walker, but didn’t go far, and we were soon on it again, in amongst a scattering of Ringed Plovers and Dunlin, always standing out as the palest bird of the flock. We returned for another look after treating ourselves to a full English nearby before continuing on our way.

Not wishing to return via the Mersey Gateway and have to pay the parasitic scoundrels who run the toll (may embarrassing illnesses plague the lot of them) for a second time today I was looking for a good reason to loop east before heading home, so we swung by High Rid Reservoir where we easily picked up the Little Gull there, leaving us very conveniently placed to drop in on Pennington Flash as we passed it on the onward route home. Here we enjoyed frequent visits from a Willow Tit to the feeders at Bunting Hide, giving us the day’s third addition to the year list before making our way home.
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Old Thursday 17th October 2019, 10:53   #153
JWN Andrewes
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October 13th

Shame about the weather. A mid-October day in the Spurn Easington area can be birding gold, and I had hoped to capitalise on any breaks in the rain to try and catch up with some avian goodies once we’d sorted the main event out but, alas, breaks there were none. The main event was Red-eyed Vireo on Vicars Lane, and that was hard enough work as it was. The light drizzle pinging off leaves, leaving them gently bouncing on their stems, allowing feeding birds to go unoticed against a background of constantly quivering foliage. Sam did well, picking up a feeding Yellow-browed Warbler, but Arch couldn’t quite get the views required to nail it as a lifer. Then the Vireo showed at the car park, but not to all, ourselves included, and the cat and mouse continued. I managed to pick it up in the trees along the road, and in no time at all we were surrounded by birders, most of whom connected, including Sam, but again not an increasingly overwrought Arch, who was having a pretty grim day and was beginning to panic. God knows, we’ve all been there, and a brief (hopefully reassuring) pep talk was required to get him to maintain focus.

Another sighting, another miss (all three of us this time) and by now it seemed that the best strategy was to wait at the car park, where the bird seemed to show every fifteen to twenty minutes. So Arch staked that out while Sam and I continued to slowly work our way up and down the road. As we turned from the furthest point of our walk we could see that the crowd had tightened up a little, clearly onto something, so we started to head back. Half way there and the crowd dispersed slightly (bird clearly now moved on, body language of twitches can be very easy to read sometimes). I saw Arch in amongst it, he beckoned, I shrugged in reply and he responded with a big thumbs up! Phew! Sounded like he got better views that us too. After last year's Catbird, Red-eyed Vireo is their second American passerine; a bit more bread and butter maybe, but most welcome all the same.

We turned out attention to trying to find Yellow-browed warbler next, but to no avail. Heard occasional calls but never got a clear line on it, just picking up Blackcaps, Chiffies, a Brambling and a Reed warbler as we searched. The rain was worsening now, so we decided to head off to seek shelter and warmth. Both could be found at the Visitor Centre, where we recharged with coffee & hot chocolate, picked up a couple of in flight Beardies, and then headed back out into the rain. A couple of distant Ring Ouzels from Canal Scrape hide, some very close showing Knot and a Med Gull at Kilnsea, and then we were back at Easington for another go at Yellow-brows. By now the rain was worse, and the Yellow-brow seemingly silent, along with everything else that had been calling earlier in the morning. The situation remained the same after we’d stopped and had lunch. By now we were soaked through and cold, but having seen our main target we decided to cut and run.

With a three hour drive home there was no way we would have stuck it out long enough to still be around when the Great Snipe was found at four, not in those conditions, so I wasn’t too perturbed on learning of it when I got home. Ho hum, way it goes.

Significantly, this now means the boys have achieved list parity. Ever since May 2016, when Arch got Corncrake and Sam didn’t, he’s been one ahead. With Sam’s Yellow-browed Warbler they’re now neck and neck on 304, but with a couple of weeks of October remaining I wouldn’t count on that state of affairs lasting long. We’ll see.
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Old Thursday 17th October 2019, 11:04   #154
edenwatcher
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Good stuff. We were down visiting my mum for the wrong few days... Our near annual visit to Spurn failed to net any year ticks at all. Rb fly, black redstart, Sibe chiffchaff (and a yellow-browed for Daniel) were nice but it could have been much better. We missed Sibe stonechat by an hour or so.

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