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Top 5 of 2018

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Old Thursday 20th December 2018, 18:25   #1
ClarkWGriswold
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Top 5 of 2018

What's your top 5 of 2018?...so far

I've been a bit more creative this time as others were last year

1. Well, there can only be one. Was planning on a trip to the wilds of Scotland during my 50th year for this one. But when one turned up in Pembs the taxi was fired up and down we went - St Davids Head to be specific.

Snowy Owl

2. Getting more creative now. Settling down to some Welsh tapas at the end of our Ardnamurchan trip with the camera packed away when this little beauty turned up.

Pine Marten

3. The next are birding experiences with good company. Had a cracking half hour with my father at Llanrhidian marsh. In the space of 30 minutes we had Merlin, Hen Harrier, Kestrels, Red Kites and a very close Great White Egret.

4. Up before first light in Spring and headed East with my youngest. In the Forest of Dean we were listening to Nightingales when Max picked one out in the undergrowth. From here it was down to Hams Wall with Bitterns booming, Marsh Harriers everywhere and GWE's showing well. Max was delighted that he saw a flyby Bittern when I was looking in the other direction at a Cettis. Next it was further South in to Somerset for a cracking little Falcon. A beautiful female Red footed Falcon. A brilliant day.

5. A day out with Kev to deepest, darkest Cornwall, and my first Pelagic out of Penzance. Some great quality birds were thoroughly enjoyed by all including Wilsons Petrel, Storm Petrel, Fulmars, Corys Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Balearic Shearwaters and a couple of Bonxies. Stopped off for a Glossy Ibis on the way home to top off a great day. Probably shouldn't have taken 3 and half hours to get from PortToilet to Penzance though - well the roads are clear at 01:00

Also in June a new birding buddy joined the family and despite only being 9 months old now, he's remarkably patient. His first twitch was to a Sabines Gull at Rhaslas Pond where he enjoyed being fussed by the other birders.

Still got a trip to Norfolk coming up but barring a Long Eared Owl, I think my top 5 is pretty set.

Rich
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Old Thursday 20th December 2018, 19:10   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClarkWGriswold View Post
What's your top 5 of 2018?...so far

I've been a bit more creative this time as others were last year

1. Well, there can only be one. Was planning on a trip to the wilds of Scotland during my 50th year for this one. But when one turned up in Pembs the taxi was fired up and down we went - St Davids Head to be specific.

Snowy Owl

2. Getting more creative now. Settling down to some Welsh tapas at the end of our Ardnamurchan trip with the camera packed away when this little beauty turned up.

Pine Marten

3. The next are birding experiences with good company. Had a cracking half hour with my father at Llanrhidian marsh. In the space of 30 minutes we had Merlin, Hen Harrier, Kestrels, Red Kites and a very close Great White Egret.

4. Up before first light in Spring and headed East with my youngest. In the Forest of Dean we were listening to Nightingales when Max picked one out in the undergrowth. From here it was down to Hams Wall with Bitterns booming, Marsh Harriers everywhere and GWE's showing well. Max was delighted that he saw a flyby Bittern when I was looking in the other direction at a Cettis. Next it was further South in to Somerset for a cracking little Falcon. A beautiful female Red footed Falcon. A brilliant day.

5. A day out with Kev to deepest, darkest Cornwall, and my first Pelagic out of Penzance. Some great quality birds were thoroughly enjoyed by all including Wilsons Petrel, Storm Petrel, Fulmars, Corys Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Balearic Shearwaters and a couple of Bonxies. Stopped off for a Glossy Ibis on the way home to top off a great day. Probably shouldn't have taken 3 and half hours to get from PortToilet to Penzance though - well the roads are clear at 01:00

Also in June a new birding buddy joined the family and despite only being 9 months old now, he's remarkably patient. His first twitch was to a Sabines Gull at Rhaslas Pond where he enjoyed being fussed by the other birders.

Still got a trip to Norfolk coming up but barring a Long Eared Owl, I think my top 5 is pretty set.

Rich
Some quality birding there Rich, Snowy Owl was also my number 1 ,excellent twitch to Norfolk, 2nd for me were a couple of Leaches Petrels from the Kintyre Peninsula,3rd was a cracking Dotterel in Breeding plumage on Anglesey,4th would be an excellent encounter with a Juvenile Hen Harrier near Arundel 5th Probably the Dungeness Bluethroat running around at my feet, been a good year will do my own post later with pics!

Cheers
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Old Thursday 20th December 2018, 22:59   #3
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#1- Hawaiian short-eared owl
I saw this lifer flying over the Pihea Valley in Kauai on my honeymoon. I didn't catch many of the Hawaiian endemics, but did see Kauai elepaio and Apapane on this little hike as well.

#2- Bullock's Oriole
This Houston rarity evaded me on three trips to a park not particularly close to my house before I finally got a look at him on my 4th attempt. I did see a female painted bunting (not commonly seen in Houston in February) and great horned owl during the first three tries as somewhat of a consolation prize, before finally bagging this lifer.

#3- Cerulean warbler
The day of returning from my honeymoon, after 8 hours in the air, my new bride hit the hay immediately, allowing me to sneak over to Houston's best park for spring migrants. Things looked good from the beginning, when a large flock of Franklin's gulls passed overhead as we pulled into the driveway. At the nature sanctuary, I spotted a solid 1 1/2 dozen or so migrants, including a male cerulean warbler, who provided excellent views. Another lifer.

#4- Swallow-tailed kite
This was my penultimate lifer in the Houston area prior to moving to Fort Worth. Not much of a story behind this one, just a cool bird.

#5- Surf scoter
A lifer and one of my better birds since moving to Fort Worth. Sadly, I missed out on the
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Old Thursday 20th December 2018, 23:08   #4
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... long-eared owl seen at the same location just a couple days prior.

53 new lifers this year so far, about 20 of which came in Kauai. Things may slow down as far as lifers go entering my third full year in the hobby. Another possible move in 2019 may open up some new targets tgough.
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Old Friday 21st December 2018, 15:56   #5
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It's been a good year wildlife-watching wise (and plane spotting wise too: it still seems odd to me that birders abhor the idea of being "spotters" whereas aircraft people are perfectly happy with the term!)

With four ticks this year (Moltoni's Warbler, American Royal Tern, Grey Catbird and Stejneger's Stonechat) plus the BOURC present of last year's Dalmatian Pelican, birding has been excellent: the supporting cast wasn't bad either with Ross's Gull, Pechora Pipit and Yellow-breasted Bunting among the highlights.

I thought I'd blown it for mammals by missing the Walrus and even more when the Beluga turned up just after I reached Shetland in the autumn! Luckily it stayed and I scored, absolutely delighted, overjoyed, happy to the point of bursting.

As if all that wasn't enough - and it was, really, even for a tick-hungry twitcher like me - I connected with the two moths I most wanted out of the British field guide: a Clifden Nonpareil freakily pulled out of a mist net set for bats, and then the stunning Oleander Hawkmoth at Dungeness Bird Observatory.

All of which left me trying to decide on five photos that made the cut either on creature value or photo quality, and the final selection are shown below.

No way can next year match up to this level!

John
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Old Friday 21st December 2018, 17:48   #6
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A cracking selection John. Mulling over mine but the photos will be awful in comparison. Nevertheless the Catbird and Beluga will certainly feature.

All the best
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Old Friday 21st December 2018, 18:29   #7
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A cracking selection John. Mulling over mine but the photos will be awful in comparison. Nevertheless the Catbird and Beluga will certainly feature.

All the best
It's been traditional for my 'bird of the year' to be something other than a bird for the past half-dozen years...Tarsier, Elephant, Humpback Whale, Jersey Tiger, Rajah Brook's Birdwing...this year I think it might actually be a bird? The Desert Wheatear currently abiding on Periglis Beach is so excruciatingly endearing it almost moves me to tears! Am hoping to have Christmas lunch with it - especially as the 35mph winds in operation this past fortnight are predicted to decline in time for the 25th. 2,3,4,5 in no particular order would be Grey-cheeked Thrush, Belted Kingfisher, Marsh Fritillary, Southern Migrant Hawker.
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Old Thursday 27th December 2018, 00:20   #8
Euan Buchan
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Hasn't been a bad year for me either my top 5 for this year were

1. Rose Ringed Parakeets

2. Fieldfare

3. Ringed Necked Duck

4. Merlin

5. Hen Harrier
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Old Thursday 27th December 2018, 01:00   #9
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1 dipper
2 black headed grosbeak
At NE
3 chat
4 tundra swan
5 canada warbler
6 long-taileed duck
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Old Thursday 27th December 2018, 02:24   #10
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1. Yellow-headed Picathartes - top target bird from my Oct/Nov trip to Ghana and one of the primary reasons for choosing that country. Watching these birds up close was worth the long wait at the caves, and was a much-wanted family tick.

2. Yellow-casqued Hornbill - another top target from Ghana, awe-inspiring with its trumpeting call and wooshing wings.

3. Oriole Warbler - third favorite from Ghana. Maybe second favorite. I don't know - I just really liked this bird.

4. Red Warbler - perhaps deserves to be higher, this was a much-wanted species, to be sought on my next trip to Mexico (eventually), not remotely on my radar for this year - but this was a one-day wonder in the Santa Catalinas above Tucson, and I just happened to be in town for a meeting and just happened to be birding at Rose Canyon the day the bird was found there. That's right, I didn't even properly chase this species! It took a few hours to relocate it, just as it was getting dark and everyone who had arrived was talking about leaving, one person spotted this red beauty, and we all got on it. Just... wow!

5. Cerulean Warbler. I choose this species as a representative of a more general, fabulous birding experience - spring fallout on the Gulf Coast, experienced at Grande Isle, Louisiana. I just couldn't believe the spectacle - live oaks festooned with Indigo Buntings and Summer Tanagers, trees hopping with just about every eastern warbler possible (including Ceruleans, my first experience with this species on migration), Hooded and other warblers eating mulberries right off the lawns. Already hoping to make time to return next spring.
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Old Thursday 27th December 2018, 04:34   #11
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Well I finally went to Europe(for work) but made sure I got a weeks worth of birding in France in 2018...so my list is mostly reflective of that:

1) Bearded Vulture aka Lammergeier- I honestly remember reading about this species when I was a teen and hoping one day I would see it!
2) Collared Pratincole - one of my specific targets
3) Bearded Reedling(and a male to boot!) - another top-end target
4a) Bonelli's Eagles and 4b) Little Bustard
5) Kirkland's Warbler- ticked this one off a few weeks prior to my France trip when this rarity showed up in Central Park, NYC and hung around until I could get up there.

Hopefully 2019 will allow me to travel somewhere...and if not may some vagrants and rarities show up within driving distance from my home.
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Old Thursday 27th December 2018, 22:27   #12
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1. Roseate Spoonbill: The first record of this species for West Virginia. Two were found by an unknown observer who reported the birds to a member of the West Virginia Bird Records Committee. They were on a pond not far from where I live. I rushed over and saw them just before dark. The next morning they were gone. I was the only West Virginia birder to see them.

2. Buff-breasted Sandpiper: The first record of this species for Preston County, found by me. Fortunately, the next day many people were able to see it.

3. Jamaica: I went on a one-week birding trip to Jamaica in March. I saw all of the island’s endemics as well as a few other Caribbean specialties. I added 43 lifers to my Life List on that trip.

4. Wood Stork: One of only a few records of this species for West Virginia. I made the two-hour drive to see it. The bird left 30 minutes after I left, never to be seen again.

5. Purple Gallinule: A first record of this species for West Virginia. It was found mid-week and I had to wait until Saturday to chase it. I made the three-hour drive and stood in pouring rain, getting soaked through, before I got an adequate, but not great, look at it. I was the last person to see the bird.

Dave
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Old Thursday 27th December 2018, 22:29   #13
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According to Mrs K.

1. Red-billed Tropic Bird (Fuerteventura)
2. Madeiran Storm-petrel (Fuerteventura)
3. Egyptian Vultures (Fuerteventura)
4. Trumpeter Finch (Fuerteventura)
5. Shore Lark (East Lothian)

According to me

1. White-winged Scoter (Musselburgh)
2. Woodchat Shrike (Barns Ness)
3. Red-billled Tropic-Bird
4. Madeiran Storm Petrel
5. Bohemian Waxwing (from my front window)

David
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Old Saturday 29th December 2018, 21:20   #14
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Tough one but for me it would be
1 lesser spotted woodpecker. A major long time bogey that I finally laid to rest at Woolston park in March

2 long eared owl. Co.durham in may. My only previous one was one I flushed at roost 40 years ago. This one was out hunting at dUsk giving us prolonged views. At the same time we saw a barn owl carry 5 voles back to its nest site in the space of less than an hour.

3 golden Eagle. Mull may. Not only did this bird give us possibly the best views had of this species but was the centre of of one of my best birding moments as it was mobbed from above by a buzzard, with a merlin zipping in and out from the side. Just for good measure a hooded crow joined in and a herring gull decided to get involved before the Eagle decided that it could probably find easier hunting ground and soared off over the hill

4 stilt sandpiper Frampton Marsh. The pick of the crop of 5 American wader lifers for me this year. A cracking bird.

5 lesser yellow legs Titchwell. Second lifer of the day after earlier nailing semi palmated sand at snettisham. Viewed from the hide this cracker put on an amazing show at point blank range.

All in all 2018 has been a good year. 208 species in total, 13 lifers and some great days out. Not too shabby considering I only manage to get out once or twiceven a month plus a weeks birding in spring with my mate.
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Old Saturday 29th December 2018, 21:43   #15
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Here's a go

1. Marvelous Spatuletail
2. Taita Falcon
3. Spectacled Petrel
4. Abdim's Stork (closed out the storks for me!)
5. Maroon-chested Ground-dove.

Plus the mammal of the year was Honey Badger - specifically the one foraging on the porches of our rondavels at Satara Camp, Kruger. Not that honey badger cares! Honey Badger don't give a @#$%

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Old Sunday 30th December 2018, 13:22   #16
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A year with lots of travel that took in a first visit to Argentina, two trips to the US (East Coast and Chicago), plus squeezing whatever time was available out of work trips to Central Java, Brisbane, Oslo and Budapest, plus an end of year visit to Hokkaido and a wonderful autumn on my highly productive new patch at San Tin fishponds in Hong Kong provided a wonderful year of birding in a wide variety of locations.

The outstanding birds were, in no particular order:

A) My first photos of a very confiding adult Brown Wood Owl at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong. I've been visiting this pair once a year for the last eight years and seen recently fledged youngsters birds in seven of these, but this year provided the most wonderful walk away views of an adult bird for the first time.

B) Toco Toucan - several birds seen against the fabulous background of the Iguazu Falls in Argentina included one that showed off outrageously just a few metres off the path.

C) My first ever visit to Central Park in New York on a cold clear morning in late March was crowned by fabulous views of an American Bittern perched high in the branches of a bare tree against an dazzling blue early spring sky.

D) Despite finding a fine series of duck records on my new patch at San Tin, which included Ferruginous Duck, Lesser Treeduck, Mandarin, Scaup and a redhead Smew (which I didn't find), my top patch bird of the year was the Pallas's Reed Bunting that flushed beneath my feet and showed beautifully on several subsequent days including a day I was there on my own, and fed unconcernedly within 5-10 metres as I sat and watched - just magical!

E) This young Great Cormorant provided brilliant intimate views from one of the hides at Mai Po as it preened, dried its wings and fished right in front of me. While its a common bird in Hong Kong such close views are rare for me, and showed me, and this photo gives me great pleasure each time I come back to it.


But over and above all these, Steller's Sea Eagle has crowned my year magnificently . . . As I couldn't choose a single pic I'll add a second post to give a flavour of how good this experience was.


Cheers,
Mike
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Old Sunday 30th December 2018, 13:47   #17
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Continuing from my last post . . .

Just three days ago I was privileged to see somewhere around 80-100 Steller's Sea Eagles and White-tailed Eagles gathering in the middle reaches of the Yurappu river at Yakumo in Hokkaido to feed on the salmon that return from the sea to spawn each year in November-December. These birds are wonderfully approachable - gorged as they are on the salmon - and provide the most magnificent close views.

Having previously visited Hokkaido, but always at the wrong time of year, this was my first real chance to see Steller's Sea Eagle - a bird I wanted to see since I knew it existed, and it turned out to be pretty straightforward - thanks in no small measure to Stuart Price and his wife who kindly drove us to the site, and knew the best photography stakeouts.

The total experience of watching these magnificent birds as close as 20 metres away, seeing 60 plus eagles roosting on a single hillside, and having both species flying close overhead against a winter wonderland of snow-covered fields and hillsides that was alternatively bathed in sunshine and chilled by flurries of snow ranks as one of my best birding experiences ever, and the class-of-its-own highlight of the year.

Best wishes and - great birding - for the New Year.

Cheers
Mike
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Old Sunday 30th December 2018, 23:58   #18
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A quiet year for me with slightly over 300 species seen and around 280 photographed.

Two foreign trips - a week in Georgia and a short trip to Madeira - produced 180 odd species & five WP ticks - Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse, Caucasian Chiffchaff, Saker & Demoiselle Crane and about 40 species & three WP ticks - Trocaz Pigeon, Madeiran Firecrest & Zino's Petrel (plus Desertas Petrel).

At home, I didn't do any birding outside England and had about 200 odd species with one British & Irish and WP tick being Grey Catbird. I suppose Stejneger's Stonechat was my first one with a positive DNA result but that's all a bit too Jeremy Kyle to get me excited and I was happy with the Donna Nook bird........

Over 140 species on my local patch including three patch ticks being Crane, Iceland Gull & Spotted Sandpiper (not including Pied Crow) and over 160 species in my local county were the majority of my birding.

Other wildlife included the Beluga and one macro moth tick being Common Forest Looper. Otherwise, I can recall at least two patch macro ticks being Dark Spectacle & Kent Black Arches.

It all starts again on Tuesday and the resolution is for it to be busier in 2019.......... I think my resolution for 2020 ought to be Steller's Sea Eagle seeing Mike's stunning photos.

In the end, I decided on the following Top Five being:-

1. Grey Catbird - saving it from being a year without a British & Irish tick and avenging many days spent on Anglesey. The biggest buzz of the year for me despite having seen the species abroad. I think most who had been there since dawn on the Tuesday had started to feel that sinking dipping feeling for the second day in a row before it popped up.

2. Zino's Petrel - seen well on pelagics off Madeira. A species I had wanted to see for many years and I finally got the chance in 2018.

3. Demoiselle Crane - the final tick in Georgia at dusk on the last day at a reservoir near Tblisi when checking for any lingering wintering Bluethroats and when we had given up hope!

4. Kentish Plover - on my patch but not a patch tick. A very enjoyable find working my way through the waders on the seawall early one morning in peaceful solitude. It lingered long enough to be twitched by a few over a couple of days and was a patch tick for a couple of the regulars including a friend who had found the Demoiselle Cranes.

5. Ross's Gull - I don't twitch many non-ticks but a superb adult seen very well and on reflection one of the Top Five simply for being a real highlight.

All the best

Paul
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Last edited by Paul Chapman : Monday 31st December 2018 at 00:33.
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Old Monday 31st December 2018, 11:49   #19
foresttwitcher
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I can't attempt to compete with the last few posts! My highlights all come from a long anticipated trip to Finland & Norway. All 5 could have been the five owl species seen in one morning around Oulu (Great Grey, Ural, Northern Hawk, Tengmalm's & Pygmy) but for the quality of the sightings I go for: Hazel Grouse, Siberian Jay, Three-toed Woodpecker, Pine Grosbeak &, not a species, but, the sheer experience of the Hornoya bird cliff.
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Old Monday 31st December 2018, 19:32   #20
Pariah
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My Highlights here.

http://helhathnobirdies.blogspot.com...eview.html?m=1

Birds wise I think I would go
1. Pine Bunting (Self found)
2. Lesser White Fronted Goose
3. Cattle Egrets (self found)
4. Pacific Diver
5. Great Grey Owl

Owen
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