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Targets for 2018

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Old Sunday 31st December 2017, 17:34   #1
JWN Andrewes
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Targets for 2018

Third year of setting targets and it’s starting to get tricky coming up with a decent list of targetable birds that we can realistically pursue on odd weekends and school holidays, so what appears below is a list of obvious gaps in the list, and this year’s target is a little different, in that I’d like to try and get through at least half of this list, as well as halve the distance to 300 (so 19 new birds in all).

Also we’ll be trying to track down a few things we saw back in 2015 but haven’t caught up with since, like Little Owl & Willow Tit, and potentially Ptarmigan & Capercaillie if we get up that way, (although there are no plans yet for a 2018 Scotland trip I’d be surprised if we don’t venture north of the border at some point).

And of course there’s Woodcock still outstanding from 2017 to lay to rest, and we’re still keen on good views of Bittern, and then there’s Beaver to sort out.... Something tells me there will be plenty of targets left for 2019.

So, the targets, half of these please…

King Eider
Black-throated Diver
Any new Shearwater
Leach’s Storm Petrel
Montagu’s Harrier
Honey Buzzard
Dotterel
Grey Phalarope
Any Skua
Caspian Gull
White-winged Black Tern
Little Auk
Ring-necked Parakeet
Garden Warbler
Yellow-browed Warbler
Crested Tit
Red-backed Shrike
Lapland Bunting

Bring it on!
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Old Sunday 31st December 2017, 17:55   #2
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Well, parakeets are easy easy easy, didn't know it was an issue or we could have done those in between other stuff in the summer! Caspian Gull is pretty reliable at Dungeness and of course will be reported regularly for at least the next couple of weeks... maybe you need a weekend down here in winter!

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Old Sunday 31st December 2017, 18:23   #3
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Good luck James. Female King Eider reported from Borth at the moment.

Rich
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Old Sunday 31st December 2017, 22:17   #4
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Originally Posted by ClarkWGriswold View Post
Good luck James. Female King Eider reported from Borth at the moment.

Rich
Yes, but who wants to tick that instead of a popinjay drake? Queen Eiders aren't equal.

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Old Sunday 31st December 2017, 22:24   #5
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The parakeets should be easy enough. One option would be to make a tip to the London Wetland Centre, which is one of many places around London they're pretty much guaranteed plus there's other good stuff around.

When I set about ticking Willow Tit, I was told to try Pennington Flash, in Leigh (Wigan/Manchester area). There's a well-signed hide with feeders in front of it which gets Willow Tit reliably and also attracts silly numbers of bullfinches. I've been 3 times, one of them only 30 minutes on my way to a football match, and I've seen Willow Tit each time.
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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 05:27   #6
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Yes, but who wants to tick that instead of a popinjay drake? Queen Eiders aren't equal.

John
I would In 2018 I believe we should have equality amongst Eiders
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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 16:45   #7
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January 1st

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClarkWGriswold View Post
Good luck James. Female King Eider reported from Borth at the moment.

Rich
Funny you should say that...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
Yes, but who wants to tick that instead of a popinjay drake? Queen Eiders aren't equal.

John
Understand what you're saying, but doing it this way round will be like getting two ticks out of one species, once a popinjay becomes available, and besides, since dipping this thing twice last summer it has very much become an itch that needed scratching!

We preceded our search with a comfort stop at the bogs in Borth (not to be confused with Borth Bog), and then sat in the car on the beach car park for about twenty minutes while the rain came down and the gloom was ever so slowly banished by a wintry and, for most of the day, cloud obscured sun. First bird for 2018 was a Carrion Crow scouting out the shore, and then, finally, the weather cleared enough for our hunt to begin. We started off heading north, towards the tip of the promontory that juts out into the mouth of the Dyfi Estuary, scattered with groups of Oystercatcher, in amongst which was a single Grey plover, a bird we never managed to stumble across last year somehow. No Eiders anywhere though, just a very distant pair of Red-breasted Merganser, a few Great Crested Grebes and plenty of Cormorants out on the water, so we headed back to check out the Leri. Sea shore staples continued to swell the nascent year list, Greenshank, Wigeon, Little Egret, Shelduck, Curlew, you get the picture. Picking up local gen is always invaluable, so bumping into the county recorder was a stroke of luck, and he very helpfully reassured us that we were looking in the right place and then it was a couple more locals we had bumped into who started beckoning us over, and finally, though distantly, we had our year’s first target down; King Eider. We watched it in the distance for quite a while, and then, just as we were turning to leave, it took flight, and treated us to a nice close fly-by!

A scattering of Fieldfare amongst the Starlings by the road, a Red Kite and a Cattle Egret were all welcome parting gifts from Ynyslas as we set off for the North Wales coast around noon, arriving about two hours later to typically awful British winter weather (God I hate it sometimes), at Llanddulas, where we managed distant views of Glaucous Gull and a handful of Common Scoter offshore before being forced back to the car by lashings of freezing rain, a lone Goldfinch on the shingle at the top of the shore last bird of the day. A hardy trio of birders we had shared the Eider with were turning up just as we left, hope they scored. Would have done more along the coast if the weather hadn’t been so filthy, but there you go, yearlist on 40 at the end of the day (for the boys, I’d picked up a few bits they’d missed), and so the year begins, on balance, quite nicely.
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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 17:27   #8
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Great start.

Rich
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 04:17   #9
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Female King Eiders are great birds! You can even see the miniature sails in some of the digiscoped shots.

How about making 300 the target - there will almost certainly be other rarities that are not on the list - and it might give you some ammo/motivation for extra trips as the year winds down.


Cheers
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 12:05   #10
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Great start.

If you do manage a trip north of the border that should also see off a few of your targets, especially if you can get over to Handa (great and Artic skua guaranteed).

Glad to see the youngsters are maintaining their enthusiasm. At this rate their lists will be overtaking quite a few of us.
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 19:59   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWN Andrewes View Post
Funny you should say that...



Understand what you're saying, but doing it this way round will be like getting two ticks out of one species, once a popinjay becomes available, and besides, since dipping this thing twice last summer it has very much become an itch that needed scratching!

We preceded our search with a comfort stop at the bogs in Borth (not to be confused with Borth Bog), and then sat in the car on the beach car park for about twenty minutes while the rain came down and the gloom was ever so slowly banished by a wintry and, for most of the day, cloud obscured sun. First bird for 2018 was a Carrion Crow scouting out the shore, and then, finally, the weather cleared enough for our hunt to begin. We started off heading north, towards the tip of the promontory that juts out into the mouth of the Dyfi Estuary, scattered with groups of Oystercatcher, in amongst which was a single Grey plover, a bird we never managed to stumble across last year somehow. No Eiders anywhere though, just a very distant pair of Red-breasted Merganser, a few Great Crested Grebes and plenty of Cormorants out on the water, so we headed back to check out the Leri. Sea shore staples continued to swell the nascent year list, Greenshank, Wigeon, Little Egret, Shelduck, Curlew, you get the picture. Picking up local gen is always invaluable, so bumping into the county recorder was a stroke of luck, and he very helpfully reassured us that we were looking in the right place and then it was a couple more locals we had bumped into who started beckoning us over, and finally, though distantly, we had our year’s first target down; King Eider. We watched it in the distance for quite a while, and then, just as we were turning to leave, it took flight, and treated us to a nice close fly-by!

A scattering of Fieldfare amongst the Starlings by the road, a Red Kite and a Cattle Egret were all welcome parting gifts from Ynyslas as we set off for the North Wales coast around noon, arriving about two hours later to typically awful British winter weather (God I hate it sometimes), at Llanddulas, where we managed distant views of Glaucous Gull and a handful of Common Scoter offshore before being forced back to the car by lashings of freezing rain, a lone Goldfinch on the shingle at the top of the shore last bird of the day. A hardy trio of birders we had shared the Eider with were turning up just as we left, hope they scored. Would have done more along the coast if the weather hadn’t been so filthy, but there you go, yearlist on 40 at the end of the day (for the boys, I’d picked up a few bits they’d missed), and so the year begins, on balance, quite nicely.
Good to bump into you today at the Eider and again at Llandulas. We connected with the Glaucous Gull after you left. We then went to Conway RSPB for a few more year ticks including Scaup. Good luck on your quest and if you need any info for birds in N Staffs just get in touch.
Good birding in 2018

Phil
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 20:04   #12
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Funny you should say that...



Understand what you're saying, but doing it this way round will be like getting two ticks out of one species, once a popinjay becomes available, and besides, since dipping this thing twice last summer it has very much become an itch that needed scratching!
Makes sense to me! And I certainly understand how it turned into a grudge match, as well. Had one or two of those myself over the years: going three times to catch up with the Chinese Pond Heron is one I won't forget in a hurry!

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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 20:26   #13
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How about making 300 the target - there will almost certainly be other rarities that are not on the list - and it might give you some ammo/motivation for extra trips as the year winds down.


Cheers
Mike
Would be nice, But.... I think time and money constraints make the push to 300 this year unrealistic. Would require a tick every ten days or so, and I'm beginning to run out of the kind of target rich environments that we'd need to counter the inevitable dry spells (although I have at least one such in mind, if all goes well). We'll see, you never know if things go well in the first half I might be tempted to push on, but it is becoming increasingly necessary to travel distance to get the new birds, which costs, as well as reducing time available for incidental birding. 2019 maybe.

For what it's worth (meant to mention it at the end of the last thread but forgot) year list ended on 215 (8 ahead of 2016), and the twelve month's 40 ticks brought the life list up to 262. Today the boys added a few more for the year while I was at work, a garden stake-out yielding Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch & Sparrowhawk, inter alia, bringing their list up to 47, while I picked up Raven, Goldcrest & Grey Wagtail at work, much to their chagrin!

And as long as we're talking numbers it is worth mentioning that while I will never apologise for relishing the ticking and the listing, the joy of just being out there alongside the marshes, in the woods, out on the heaths, by the rivers, lakes and sea, well, you just can't beat it. And although I tend to just stick to the birding highlights on here, wherever we go there are games to be played, and laughs to be had, us three boys together! More to come at the weekend, God willing.
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 20:36   #14
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I find Paxton pits a good site for garden warblers if you venturing east this year plus the added bonus thats its good for nightingales
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 20:37   #15
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Good to bump into you today at the Eider and again at Llandulas. We connected with the Glaucous Gull after you left. We then went to Conway RSPB for a few more year ticks including Scaup. Good luck on your quest and if you need any info for birds in N Staffs just get in touch.
Good birding in 2018

Phil
Hey there! Nice one, glad the day went well. Wouldn't mind a few more like that, but perhaps with better weather. I find it really hard being beaten back to the car by freezing, gale blown rain and not cussing like a trooper as I slam the door behind me (pas devants les enfants)!
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 20:38   #16
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Makes sense to me! And I certainly understand how it turned into a grudge match, as well. Had one or two of those myself over the years: going three times to catch up with the Chinese Pond Heron is one I won't forget in a hurry!

John
Now that takes some faith!
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 22:21   #17
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Parakeets all over London Hyde park ��
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Old Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 07:30   #18
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James.
Rob Smallwoods recently had @ 200 RN Parakeets in Hulme Park (I think) in Manchester. Easier to get to than London. We've got Little Owls in the field behind our house and can be viewed from the garden on a sunny day - only 5 minutes from where you work!
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Old Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 18:15   #19
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James.
Rob Smallwoods recently had @ 200 RN Parakeets in Hulme Park (I think) in Manchester. Easier to get to than London. We've got Little Owls in the field behind our house and can be viewed from the garden on a sunny day - only 5 minutes from where you work!
Holy Moses Phil, 200 Parakeets?! Are they descended from the Poynton birds do you know? We're going to be in Stockport at the weekend, might see if I can track them down, wonder if they were gathering to roost.

Might take you up on the Little Owl, not sure I can get to the ones we saw in Capenhurst as the friend who showed us them doesn't work there any more.

Cheers

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Old Saturday 6th January 2018, 11:56   #20
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A trip to South West London and a crepuscular walk around Richmond Park should take care of the Parakeets and the Little Owl for you. The Parakeets will be coming into roost as the Little Owls are out hunting. I'm about a mile from the park and my feeders are filled with Parakeets. You could also combine this with a visit to the London Wetland Center.
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Old Saturday 6th January 2018, 15:58   #21
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January 6th

Well, thanks to a heads up from Phil (very grateful for that indeed) a pre-planned trip to Stockport was parenthesised by some Parakeet seeking (Paraseeking?), first at Abney Hall Park which didn't deliver anything other than year tick Coot, but does boast probably one of the oddest cafes I've ever eaten at, very friendly and proper nice griddled bacon barms, but decidedly peculiar architecture, décor and layout.

Second bite at the cherry was at Platt Fields Park, and here we struck green gold, easily honing in on a fine male Ring-necked Parakeet, yarking away from the trees by the north end of the lake. We watched him for several minutes, pointing him out to a passing dog walker who was very excited to find such things existed on her doorstep, couldn't wait to tell her mother! So nice getting that sort of response. Eventually Mr Parakeet launched himself across to the trees on the far side of the lake, followed by his missus, who must have been sitting quietly further in the canopy, hadn't picked up on her at all, although we were kind of distracted by her hubby making an exhibition of himself. A real bonus.
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Old Friday 12th January 2018, 20:10   #22
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January 7th

A morning outing to Conwy RSPB (Fulmar year ticked from the A 55 as we passed the Colwyn Bay “Fulmar cliffs”) proved a fairly humdrum affair (no luck with Firecrest, Scaup or Water Pipit), best on offer being a fine drake Goldeneye and a pair of Red-breasted Mergs. Good to catch up with one of the local Surf Scoters from Llysfaen on the way home though, anyone up for a game of “Spot the Surfie” can check out the attached…!
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Old Monday 15th January 2018, 19:42   #23
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January 8th -12th

Our Center Parcs getaway kicked off with a pit stop at Leighton Moss. Couldn’t really do this excellent reserve justice in the short time available, so nothing remarkable seen, Water Rail probably the highlight, but a most superior sausage inna bun made for a fine breakfast.

At Whinfell itself were were treated to Crossbills feeding in the tops of pines from a nice warm outdoor pool, and a Brambling paying an all too brief visit to one of the sadly unfilled feeders (Whinfell could do with taking some lessons from Sherwood on how to set up and run decent feeders. It’s not rocket science).

Another way too brief stop at Leighton Moss on the way home, dusk this time, with Starlings gathering to roost providing a nice finale to our non-wildlife mini-brake.
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Old Monday 15th January 2018, 20:10   #24
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A morning outing to Conwy RSPB (Fulmar year ticked from the A 55 as we passed the Colwyn Bay “Fulmar cliffs”) proved a fairly humdrum affair (no luck with Firecrest, Scaup or Water Pipit), best on offer being a fine drake Goldeneye and a pair of Red-breasted Mergs. Good to catch up with one of the local Surf Scoters from Llysfaen on the way home though, anyone up for a game of “Spot the Surfie” can check out the attached…!
Coming to this late but a nice reminder of just how obvious drake Surfers are!

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Old Sunday 4th February 2018, 18:44   #25
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February 4th: part I

Been quiet of late, days off ambushed by bad weather for the most part, but have managed to pick up a few odds and sods, best of which probably Little Stint at Burton Mere Wetlands, as well as the boys picking up Blackcap in the garden while I was at work.

Today, however, the weather was fine, we had a free pass, and so at a little after eight we pitched up in the car park at Holme Pierrepoint and began our search of the Slalom Course. We bumped into another birder, who mentioned the bird having been seen by a wooden bridge, so we headed over to the bridge and were instantly in luck, with the Spotted Sandpiper immediately on show beneath us as we crossed the span. We watched him as he pottered and bobbed up and down the fringes of the Slalom Course, as often feeding on the grass as the water’s edge, on at least one occasion extracting a fine specimen of a worm from the turf. A couple of canoeists provided a bit of slalom action which entertained the boys while I scanned the rowing lake for Long-tailed Duck, which I failed to locate. Still, main event under the belt, so after a bit we decamped, an hour or so down the road, to the reserve at Egleton on Rutland Water.

Here, on the way to the visitor centre we stopped for a few minutes at the feeding station. Usual suspects, Greenfinch, Reed Bunting etc, but I also managed to get the attached photo (fifth of this batch). Perhaps not the most sought after of UK animals, but any double mammal pic is something to be pleased with!
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