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Jonny721's Yearlist 2019

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Old Sunday 13th January 2019, 18:00   #1
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Jonny721's UK Yearlist 2019

Starting this thread a little late so will do a few posts to get it up to date.

I start 2019 with a couple of goals: a) to best my previous best British yearlist of 238 species from back in 2013, with a goal this year of reaching 250, and b) to attempt to see more lifers, my British list at the start of the year standing at 346 having added just 3 species in 2018.
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Birds: British - 357 (Little Bustard), Fylde - 244 (Hobby), British Year 2019 - 250 (Roseate Tern)
Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)

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Old Sunday 13th January 2019, 18:40   #2
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New Years Day - Fylde

Like every year NYD saw myself and a couple of friends Ash and Sophie touring the Fylde trying to see as many species as possible. Our previous best total was 89 species in 2018 so our aim this year was 90.

A quick check of the sea at dawn off Blackpool North Shore revealed Common Scoter and Great Black-backed Gull but little else. Heading Over Wyre our first key stop was the village of Eagland Hill and the associated farmland bird feeding stations. Here we were fortunate to connect with both Corn Bunting (10) and Yellowhammer (3+) amongst good numbers of Tree Sparrows, both tricky species nowadays. Best of all though was Sophie finding a pair of Bramblings coming down to the seed, a scarce bird locally this winter. The resident pair of Little Owl were in their favoured tree in the village.

Moving to the coast we passed the 50 mark with some useful species including Twite and Rock Pipit at Cocker's Dyke, and Merlin at Pilling Marsh. Our first major surprise of the day came when we arrived at Conder Pool to be greeted by a trio of Egyptian Geese feeding in front of the viewing screen being watched by some other birders who were yet to put the news out, the first in the Fylde for almost 6 years and a Fylde lifer for all three of us. Just down the road at Glasson Basin we had more good fortune with Ash picking out a 1st winter male Scaup amongst the Tufted Duck flock that also held a single drake Pochard, another declining species locally nowadays. At nearby Thurnham we found the Whooper Swan herds spread out across several fields but we were still able to pick out 3 adult Bewick's Swans.

With only a couple of hours of light left we headed to the south Fylde, stopping for a short while on Lytham Moss where I located a distant hunting Short-eared Owl along with a pair of Stonechat. Our final stop was Lytham Quays where we could see over the extensive Ribble marshes towards Warton. Several birders already present put us straight on to the stunning near-adult male Hen Harrier that spent the next 45 minutes giving fabulous views hunting over the marsh, being joined by another 6 bird of prey species including 2 Marsh Harriers, Merlin and Peregrine. We finished the day on 93 species, a great start to 2019.

1. Robin
2. Blackbird
3. Mute Swan
4. Carrion Crow
5. Herring Gull
6. Song Thrush
7. Magpie
8. Starling
9. Feral Pigeon
10. Woodpigeon
11. House Sparrow
12. Black-headed Gull
13. Redshank
14. Turnstone
15. Common Scoter
16. Oystercatcher
17. Black-headed Gull
18. Pied Wagtail
19. Collared Dove
20. Jackdaw
21. Kestrel
22. Rook
23. Mistle Thrush
24. Lesser Black-backed Gull
25. Blue Tit
26. Great Tit
27. Mallard
28. Shelduck
29. Dunlin
30. Pink-footed Goose
31. Greylag Goose
32. Lapwing
33. Curlew
34. Moorhen
35. Little Egret
36. Dunnock
37. Cormorant
38. Goldfinch
39. Corn Bunting
40. Buzzard
41. Chaffinch
42. Red-legged Partridge
43. Tree Sparrow
44. Yellowhammer
45. Wren
46. Reed Bunting
47. Brambling
48. Whooper Swan
49. Little Owl
50. Meadow Pipit
51. Rock Pipit
52. Linnet
53. Twite
54. Teal
55. Common Gull
56. Wigeon
57. Pintail
58. Golden Plover
59. Merlin
60. Stock Dove
61. Nuthatch
62. Long-tailed Tit
63. Treecreeper
64. Jay
65. Raven
66. Little Grebe
67. Egyptian Goose - Fylde tick #243
68. Great Crested Grebe
69. Coot
70. Tufted Dock
71. Pochard
72. Scaup
73. Bar-tailed Godwit
74. Black-tailed Godwit
75. Goldeneye
76. Goosander
77. Sparrowhawk
78. Bewick's Swan
79. Fieldfare
80. Eider
81. Grey Heron
82. Redwing
83. Shoveler
84. Gadwall
85. Canada Goose
86. Ring-necked Parakeet
87. Skylark
88. Stonechat
89. Short-eared Owl
90. Hen Harrier
91. Marsh Harrier
92. Snipe
93. Peregrine
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Birds: British - 357 (Little Bustard), Fylde - 244 (Hobby), British Year 2019 - 250 (Roseate Tern)
Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)

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Old Sunday 13th January 2019, 19:20   #3
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2nd January - Anglesey and North Wales

Another full days birding saw myself and three other Fylde birders heading 2.5 hours to Anglesey, a prime birding location at this time of year with a number of species that are hard to come by in Lancashire.

We took our traditional anti-clockwise route round Holy Island, starting at Holyhead Harbour where 2 winter plumage Black Guillemot and a single Guillemot were quickly located in the inner harbour, although the outer harbour was almost devoid of birds despite reports in the previous days of all three diver species. Moving round to South Stack a distant pair of Chough were picked out flying around the lighthouse, their calls carrying up the cliffs to where we were viewing from. A single Red-throated Diver and a number of unidentifiable auks were spotted out on the sea.

Our main area of focus was to be the Inland Sea which was as usual absolutely teaming with birds. Viewing first from Four Mile Bridge we had soon notched up an decent list including Great Northern Diver, 14 Scaup, at least 3 Mediterranean Gulls and 75 Pale-bellied Brent Geese amongst a range of wildfowl and waders. Our main targets however were to be found at the other end of the strait so we drove round to north side and walked under the embankment to view the larger expanse of water that held the Black-throated Diver in the company of a second Great Northern Diver and more Mediterranean Gulls. Just over the road and railway embankment at Beddmanarch Bay our other targets were waiting for us, the immature Long-tailed Duck and at least 3 Slavonian Grebes plus more showy Brent Geese and a variety of waders on the extensive mud flats exposed by the low tide.

Since the female Lesser Scaup had left the previous day Llyn Llygeirian we instead headed back onto the mainland, up the impressive Nant Ffrancon valley and then following the Conwy valley north. Here we stopped off at St. Peter's Church at Llanbedr-y-Cennin in the hope of Hawfinch and after a few fleeting glimpses and flyovers we were eventually rewarded with a single female perched up for a short while. A trio of Red Kites that appeared overhead meant our final target for the day was nailed, although the grey conditions didn't help with photography as can be evidenced below!

94. Red-breasted Merganser
95. Black Guillemot
96. Guillemot
97. Shag
98. Red-throated Diver
99. Chough
100. Brent Goose
101. Grey Plover
102. Mediterranean Gull
103. Great Northern Diver
104. Greenshank
105. Knot
106. Slavonian Grebe
107. Ringed Plover
108. Black-throated Diver
109. Long-tailed Duck
110. Greenfinch
111. Siskin
112. Great Spotted Woodpecker
113. Red Kite
114. Hawfinch
115. Coal Tit
116. Pheasant

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__________________
Birds: British - 357 (Little Bustard), Fylde - 244 (Hobby), British Year 2019 - 250 (Roseate Tern)
Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)
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Old Sunday 13th January 2019, 19:33   #4
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3rd January - Marton Mere

A much quieter day, although just as grey and overcast as the previous. With the car in the garage for it's MOT I stayed local and headed for a wander round Marton Mere for a few hours.

The hoped for reedbed species were quickly located with multiple Cetti's Warblers singing and several Water Rails calling, although only the former showed themselves. Both of the wintering Bitterns remained stubbornly elusive during my visit however one of the resident pair of Otters showed very well from the viewing platform in the north-west corner.

117. Cetti's Warbler
118. Water Rail
119. Goldcrest

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__________________
Birds: British - 357 (Little Bustard), Fylde - 244 (Hobby), British Year 2019 - 250 (Roseate Tern)
Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)
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Old Sunday 13th January 2019, 19:46   #5
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4th January - South Fylde

A couple of hours spent wandering up and down the beach at Starr Hills north of St. Anne's failed to find the pair of wintering Snow Buntings, these birds have been causing my problems for several winters now with a very small success rate! A small group of Sanderling on the tideline were the only yeartick of the day.

A quick check of Lytham Moss on the way home saw my Short-eared Owl from the 1st still present and hunting much closer this time right by the road, so despite the miserable weather I spent the time getting some photos.

120. Sanderling

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Birds: British - 357 (Little Bustard), Fylde - 244 (Hobby), British Year 2019 - 250 (Roseate Tern)
Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)
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Old Sunday 13th January 2019, 20:33   #6
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January 5th - Leighton Moss

A trip to Leighton Moss with Sophie was the order of the day and amazingly the sun almost showed itself for a few brief moments during the afternoon.

First off a quick stop off at the viewpoint off Crag Road which gives a fantastic elevated view of the saltmarsh pools and saltmarsh. The drake American Wigeon hadn't been seen for a few days and it seemed it had departed as I was unable to find it amongst several hundred Wigeon.

Moving onto the reserve itself the usual host of woodland species were all wonderfully tame on the walk towards the Lower Hide, including a trio of Marsh Tits and a flyover flock of Siskin. As expected the Great Grey Shrike wasn't in view beyond the hide as it disappears for days on end in extensive habitat. A Green Woodpecker could be heard yaffling from it's favoured wood as we headed back down the causeway, pausing briefly to watch the Marsh Harriers hunting out over the Causeway reedbeds.

The real highlight of the day came towards dusk when the large Starling roost put on a short but spectacular display over the reeds by Island Mere as viewed from the road. A big dog Otter swam across one of the pools below the Starlings and a couple of Great White Egrets were watched coming into the roost.

121. Bullfinch
122. Green Woodpecker
123. Marsh Tit
124. Great White Egret

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Birds: British - 357 (Little Bustard), Fylde - 244 (Hobby), British Year 2019 - 250 (Roseate Tern)
Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)
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Old Sunday 13th January 2019, 20:47   #7
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January 6th - Fylde

Another gloomy day and my last before going back to work so I spent a few hours cleaning up on some species in the Fylde that I previously missed.

After another hour spent fruitlessly walking up and down the beach at Starr Hills I finally managed to see the pair of Snow Buntings thanks to a local birder locating them just as I was about to give up. I followed this up with successful visits to the Barnacle Goose on Lytham Moss, Cattle Egret at Bryning and the solitary wintering Purple Sandpiper at it's roosting spot at Blackpool North Shore.

125. Snow Bunting
126. Barnacle Goose
127. Cattle Egret
128. Purple Sandpiper

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Birds: British - 357 (Little Bustard), Fylde - 244 (Hobby), British Year 2019 - 250 (Roseate Tern)
Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)
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Old Monday 14th January 2019, 11:23   #8
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Monday 7th January

An office day with a check of the nearby rowan trees on my walk to the shops for lunch, they haven't been discovered by any Waxwings yet but a flock of almost 40 Redwings were busy stripping the berries. Luckily I knew there was a small flock on the other side of Leeds so I made a detour after work and lucked onto a single Waxwing which I got nice but brief views of as I sat at the adjacent traffic lights. Unfortunately by the time I had parked up and walked round it was nowhere to be seen.

129. Waxwing
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Birds: British - 357 (Little Bustard), Fylde - 244 (Hobby), British Year 2019 - 250 (Roseate Tern)
Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)
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Old Monday 14th January 2019, 20:28   #9
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Tuesday 8th January - Kingsbury Water Park and Chasewater

An early start for what turned out to be a very quiet bird survey in the morning left me free for a few hours in the afternoon to do a bit of twitching, and I was well placed to head to Kingsbury Water Park and hopefully score my first new bird of 2019. This has been a regular survey site for me throughout 2018 so I was a little gutted when a Dusky Warbler turned up just before Christmas, a lifer for myself and a full 3 weeks before I would be back there! Fortunately the bird stuck around and after a short wait it gave itself up with it's incessant calling, allowing it be followed with relative ease and even giving some half-decent views in the first proper sunshine of the year, British tick #347. Also in the vicinity of the warbler was a showy Siberian Chiffchaff in the company of 3 standard individuals, whilst a walk around the pools near the car park showed that the drake Red-crested Pochard was still present and showing off in the sun. A bigger surprise came in the form of a Willow Tit coming to the seed infront of the hide overlooking Cliff Pool, the first I had managed to catch up with at the site and a species I missed in 2018.

With just over an hours light left I had enough time to catch the gull roost at Chasewater, although luck was against me as I managed to choose the one evening that no locals were present, making my task somewhat trickier. The adult Iceland Gull took pity on me and chose to pitch in right infront of where I was watching, and I was able to pick out at least 3 Yellow-legged Gulls (adult, 3rd w and 2nd w) amongst the thousands of gulls pouring in, but any Caspians remained elusive. With more surveys coming up in the midlands in the next couple of months however I may well be back to put that right.

130. Chiffchaff
131. Dusky Warbler - British tick #347
132. Willow Tit
133. Red-crested Pochard
134. Yellow-legged Gull
135. Grey Wagtail
136. Iceland Gull

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Birds: British - 357 (Little Bustard), Fylde - 244 (Hobby), British Year 2019 - 250 (Roseate Tern)
Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)

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Old Tuesday 15th January 2019, 21:15   #10
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Wednesday 9th January - Nottingham

Another morning bird surveying, this time at Long Eaton Gravel Pits near Nottingham. A later start meant I had an hour to nip to nearby Attenborough for the Firecrest that has been seen along the entrance road. The bird has a habit of disappearing off into the neighbouring industrial estate for periods of time so I was fortunate that I had only been on site for 15 minutes when it appeared in it's favoured hedgerow, although typically for this species it was always deep in the hedge and never stopped moving so no chance for any decent photos. On to my survey where the long-staying 1st winter Black-necked Grebe was still present on the Rifle Pit and showing well in the afternoon sun, as was the wintering Green Sandpiper.

137. Firecrest
138. Black-necked Grebe
139. Green Sandpiper

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Birds: British - 357 (Little Bustard), Fylde - 244 (Hobby), British Year 2019 - 250 (Roseate Tern)
Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)
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Old Wednesday 16th January 2019, 17:35   #11
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Thursday 10th January - Allerthorpe Common

A very grey day meant my after-work trip to Allerthorpe Common near York would be a race against the light. Arriving at 14:30 I only had an hour of good light to find the large Redpoll flock that has been frequenting the southern edge of the forest and begin my search for the single Coues's Arctic Redpoll present within the flock. Well the flock of at least 150 Lesser Redpoll was easy enough to find, feeding high up in the alder and birch trees right where they were supposed to be. Unfortunately just as I was getting my eye in and beginning to sieve through the birds the flock was flushed by nearby gunshots and over half flew off towards the forest with around 70 birds returning to the trees. I managed to pick out at least 5 Mealy Redpolls amongst the remaining birds including a couple of particularly large pale individuals which were very nice to see, being only my second sighting of the species. The Coues's however was nowhere to be found, presumably it had left with the other half of the flock, although I note it hasn't been reported since.

140. Lesser Redpoll
141. Mealy Redpoll
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Birds: British - 357 (Little Bustard), Fylde - 244 (Hobby), British Year 2019 - 250 (Roseate Tern)
Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)
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Old Saturday 19th January 2019, 16:33   #12
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Tuesday 15th January - Leighton Moss

A survey on an estuary in south Cumbria that finished mid-afternoon left me just enough time to detour to Leighton Moss on the way home for the last hour or so of light. I decided to skip walking down to Lower Hide to try see the Shrike again, instead setting myself up in the Causeway Hide in the hope that the Starlings might roost near Island Mere again along with the Egret roost. Well the Starlings had other plans and carried on straight over the area to the other end of the reserve, however there was still plenty to see with 2 Marsh Harriers keeping the multitude of ducks on edge which contained 2 Pochard and 20 Pintail. At around 4pm with the light fading I was rewarded with brief but nice views of a Bittern in flight to the left of the hide.

142. Bittern
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Birds: British - 357 (Little Bustard), Fylde - 244 (Hobby), British Year 2019 - 250 (Roseate Tern)
Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)

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Old Sunday 20th January 2019, 18:52   #13
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Sunday 20th January - Fylde

A very enjoyable afternoons birding around the north of the Fylde with Sophie. We kicked off with the ever reliable pair of Dipper on the River Brock where it enters the Fylde under the A6; sit by the river for half an hour and you can almost guarantee a sighting, in today's case it took less than 10 minutes for them to appear and start feeding.

A tour of the Glasson area saw all the wintering wildfowl still in situ. The trio of Egyptian Geese were looking right at home on Conder Pool whilst the 1st winter male Scaup at Glasson Basin had moulted considerably since we found him in NYD. Nearby at Thurnham we found the group of Bewick's Swans had increased to 11, feeding in a separate field from the 300 Whoopers making them much easier to find than usual!

As it was now 3pm we headed to Eagland Hill as I still needed Barn Owl for the yearlist, and one of the resident pair obliged by showing as superbly as ever hunting voles right by the road. Again Corn Buntings (4) and Yellowhammer (5+) were surprisingly easy to find, although the same couldn't be said for an adult Greenland White-fronted Goose that I managed to pick out amongst a distant flock of at least 5000 pink-feet, only spotted when the whole flock raised their heads thanks to a low-flying microlight.

143. Dipper
144. Barn Owl
145. White-fronted Goose

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__________________
Birds: British - 357 (Little Bustard), Fylde - 244 (Hobby), British Year 2019 - 250 (Roseate Tern)
Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)

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Old Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 21:00   #14
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Wednesday 23rd January - Staffordshire

After a fairly routine survey at Long Eaton during the day today (both the Black-necked Grebe and Green Sandpiper were still in situ) I had a couple of hours to head across to Staffordshire for some birding in the glorious winter weather. At Blithfield Reservoir the adult female Lesser Scaup was exactly where it was supposed to be, showing well with a small group of Tufties just off the causeway, although typically for a duck it spent almost all it's time asleep. This was only my second British Lesser Scaup, following a male in Lancashire in 2011.

That left me with about an hour and a half to explore Cannock Chase for the first time, an area that I will definitely be visiting more in the future after today's visit! I had a good wander around the large area that the Great Grey Shrike has been frequenting in Abraham's Valley but didn't manage to find it, but the other birdlife in the area more than made up for this. Four noisy Crossbills (2m, 2f) looked superb in the evening sun as did an enormous flock of over 200 Redpoll near the Seven Springs car park, I wish I had had more time to properly search through them.

146. Lesser Scaup
147. Crossbill

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Birds: British - 357 (Little Bustard), Fylde - 244 (Hobby), British Year 2019 - 250 (Roseate Tern)
Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)
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Old Thursday 24th January 2019, 17:09   #15
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Thursday 24th January - Wintersett Reservoir

Managed a quick dusk detour to Wintersett Reservoir on my way to Leeds this evening. The readhead Smew was showing nicely in the south-west corner, and a juvenile Iceland Gull dropped in to bathe for 10 minutes but continued on north-east rather than staying to roost.

148. Smew
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Old Wednesday 30th January 2019, 09:44   #16
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Wednesday 30th January - RSPB St. Aidan's

A quick hour before work around St. Aidan's RSPB on a glorious winters morning. The recent Tundra Bean Goose was nowhere to be seen with the large Canada and Greylag flock on the balance reservoir which only contained a single Barnacle Goose. Better luck came just down the road at the Lemenroyd sewage works however where at least 2 Water Pipits were showing well on the filter beds there.

149. Water Pipit
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Old Friday 1st February 2019, 09:57   #17
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So 149 species seen by the end of January, including 1 lifer (Dusky Warbler) and a couple of 2nds (Lesser Scaup and Mealy Redpoll). Comparing this to previous years' shows that I am quite a way ahead at this stage, my previous highest end of January total being 136 species in 2016 and 2018, so I am well on my way to my target of 250 for the year. Let's see what February brings!

And for anyone keeping track, my current dip list for the year:
Tundra Bean Goose
American Wigeon
Caspian Gull
Great Grey Shrike x 2
Coues's Arctic Redpoll

I would hope to get all of these back before the end of the year.
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Old Tuesday 5th February 2019, 18:32   #18
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Saturday 2nd February - Hope Carr NR and Fylde

Several hours spent at Hope Carr NR near Wigan on Saturday morning failed to produce the Blyth's Reed Warbler which was having one of it's days off. A nice little reserve though with Green Sandpiper and a couple of Peregrines seen, although the Black Redstart also remained elusive meaning a double-dip!

We decided to cut our losses at midday and instead head to the north-Fylde for some goose-watching, although we failed to pick out anything interesting amongst several large flocks besides a trio of neck-collared birds. Barn Owls on the other hand showed as superbly as ever with 2 birds seen. We then finished the day at Lytham Moss where the Short-eared Owl was still present and showing well along with another Barn Owl and the wintering Kingfisher along the main dyke.

150: Kingfisher

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Old Wednesday 6th February 2019, 21:10   #19
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Wednesday 6th February - Clumber Park

Another post-survey stop off on my way up to Leeds this afternoon, this time at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. A good search around the south lawns area failed to reveal the wintering Great Grey Shrike and I was resigned to my third dip of the species this year as I headed back towards the woodland, only for the shrike to appear on a small birch right next where it stayed for a few minutes giving nice views. Being a work day meant I didn't have my camera with me unfortunately so no decent photos for this thread. I spent the last hour of light walking round the extensive areas of woodland near the lake in the hope of bumping into a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker but no luck, this is a species I am desperate to see this spring.

151. Great Grey Shrike
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Old Sunday 10th February 2019, 13:41   #20
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Sunday 10th February - Fylde

After a relatively quiet winter the Fylde goose flocks have come good in recent weeks, with multiple White-fronts of both subspecies being joined by single Taiga and Tundra Bean Geese. The main Pink-footed Goose flocks have been centred around the village of Eagland Hill but they are often flighty or distant so finding the scarcer species can be tricky, which is why I had allocated the whole of this morning to the task of locating the two Bean Goose species.

Fortune was on my side however, whilst on route I received news that the Taiga Bean Goose had already been found by Paul Slade and Paul Ellis and that it was showing well in the most co-operative flock in the potato field along Bradshaw Lane. By the time I had reached the site 15 minutes later the Taiga was still in view and better yet they had located the Tundra Bean Goose in the same flock! Both birds showed well allowing a great comparison between the two species, the Taiga in particular was a real brute of a bird and regularly spent time chasing Pink-feet away from it’s favourite feeding area. The light was pretty poor for photos however so I only managed phone-scoped record shots like the one of the Tundra below.

This afternoon I had a walk out to the Wyre Estuary near Fleetwood where I was able to locate the wintering Spotted Redshank on the rising tide, a tricky bird in the Fylde now that the regular Conder birds have stopped returning each winter.

152. Taiga Bean Goose
153. Tundra Bean Goose
154. Spotted Redshank

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Old Tuesday 12th February 2019, 17:10   #21
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Tuesday 12th February - Labrador Bay

I am down in Devon for the next couple of days for a training course with the Barn Owl Trust, which meant I could get an hours birding in this evening nearby after my drive down. The obvious choice was to search for Cirl Buntings, a species I have only seen once previously in the UK back in 2013, so I opted for Labrador Bay as this required only a minor detour.

I started off with a quick walk around the fields on the coastal side of the car park but failed to find any of my target species. A quick seawatch saw my first Gannets of the year passing distantly offshore but little else. Thankfully the stubble fields inland of the car park proved more fruitful and I located a flock of 10 buntings along one of the hedgerows which was comprised of 5 Cirl Buntings (4 males) and 5 Yellowhammer, allowing for great comparison between the females of both species. Again as it is a work trip phone-scoped record shots only.

155. Gannet
156. Cirl Bunting

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Old Saturday 16th February 2019, 13:30   #22
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Friday 15th February - Devon to Lancashire

A long drive home beckoned on Friday following my Barn Owl course, so I decided to break it up a little with a detour across the Severn to the Forest of Dean.

It was another warm day which was perfect for burning off the early morning mist and encouraging birds of prey in to the air, so by 10:30 I was at the New Fancy View watchpoint where over the next 45 minutes I was treated to a couple of great flybys from a male Goshawk along with 2 more distant female birds. At least one Crossbill was heard calling below the viewpoint and I fluked a couple of flyover Hawfinches at nearby Cannop Ponds where 9 male Mandarins were in full display mode to a couple of females. I spent an hour walking around the woodland nearby on the off chance I could bump into a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker but this was more out of hope than anything and predictably my search drew a blank.

Leaving the forest my route back to the motorway handily took me through Westbury-on-Severn where a Yellow-browed Warbler has been wintering at the small sewage works there. Despite the bird feeding in a single conifer the entire time I was on site it was difficult to keep track of and showed well once every 10 minutes or so, a fantastic little bird.

Unfortunately the rest of the day went downhill somewhat, a long-delay on the roads around Birmingham was followed by a disappointing gull roost at Chasewater. It turned out I was viewing from the wrong area which meant I missed all the scarce species which the other observers picked out from further round the lake. I will have to try again now I know the best viewpoint.

157. Goshawk
158. Mandarin
159. Yellow-browed Warbler
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Old Saturday 16th February 2019, 15:52   #23
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Saturday 16th February - Fylde

A quick local twitch today, just 10 minutes down the road to Todderstaffe Hall where a Hooded Crow was found mid-week whilst I was in Devon. This is a scarce but annual visitor to the Fylde and it didn't take me long to find it in a large mixed corvid flock feeding in a stubble field.

160. Hooded Crow
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Old Monday 25th February 2019, 10:59   #24
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Saturday 23rd February - Norfolk

My (lack of) plans for the weekend suddenly took a U-turn late on Friday afternoon when an email came around at work asking if anyone was available for a last minute tree survey in Kings Lynn on Sunday morning. My travel time from home to the site would necessitate an over-night stay which I realised could give me two-half days birding in Norfolk either side of the survey... so of course I volunteered! As it turned out Sophie also had no weekend plans so was more than keen to come with me for a couple of days Norfolk birding.

Unlike my usual birding trips I had absolutely no time to research, plan and prepare which species to target/sites to visit, so this was very much a go with the flow trip. The only definite was that our first port of call on Saturday would be Sculthorpe Moor, and we arrived there just after lunchtime following a pleasant drive down. A small number of Redpoll were coming down to the niger feeders at the start of the woodland boardwalk, including a couple of Mealy (a lifer for Sophie) and a cracking male Lesser in full breeding colours. With our target clearly somewhere else on the reserve for now we went for a wander around the woodland, enjoying the glorious weather. A couple of Marsh Tits and a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker were nice to see, as was a showy Red Kite right overhead. Back at the feeders another group of Redpolls arrived high up in the trees which included a very pale individual; after a short wait they descended to the feeders where we were able to enjoy good views of the striking Coues's Arctic Redpoll (British tick #348) in the company of several Mealies.

With a couple of hours light left we headed up to Holkham and onto the beach where it seemed half of Norfolk was out enjoying the weekend sun. The increased disturbance probably contributed to the lack of Shorelark in the areas we searched, but the weather and sunset more than made up for this. At dusk a female Barn Owl gave a couple of close flypasts and my first Muntjac of the year were out on the freshmarsh. A Woodcock over the road on the way back to Kings Lynn added an extra yeartick for the day, along with a couple of presumed Common Pipistrelles.

161. Coues's Arctic Redpoll - British tick #348
162. Woodcock

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Moths: 500 (Small Marbled) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 42 (Whiskered Bat)

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Old Tuesday 26th February 2019, 19:20   #25
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Sunday 24th February - Norfolk to Lancashire

My survey took the majority of Sunday morning to complete meaning we were back out on the road after 11am, leaving us with most of the afternoon to go birding on route home. Unfortunately this is where the lack of planning time alluded to in the previous post really kicked in, I was a bit stuck with where to go! My original plan had been to travel down to Santon Downham for some Breckland species however this was in the wrong direction for our homeward travel and we simply didn't have time to do it justice once the survey was out the way. So what followed was a bit of unplanned cross-country birding, with limited success.

Heading towards Peterborough we spent a while driving around the Thorney Toll area where the wintering adult Rough-legged Buzzard had been sighted earlier that morning, but as expected it had moved on from it's favoured hedgerow and there was no sign for us. Our next stop however provided a much more reliable bird to twitch; a single Long-eared Owl had already been reported that morning from the well known roosting site at Deeping Lakes LWT and sure enough upon arrival it was still sitting in almost full view on the island, even waking up for a few minutes to have a scratch. This was my first sighting of this species in almost 3 years following the disappearance of my local wintering birds at Marton Mere, and also represented my first ever sighting away from said site. We spent a while casually walking around the rest of the reserve soaking up the sunshine.

The time was already creeping towards 3pm by the time we left and we decided to begin heading homewards, noting 18 Red Kites along the route in Northamptonshire and Leicestershire. Our arrival on the edge of Birmingham as dusk was approaching happily meant we were able to call in and catch the gull roost at Chasewater, although it being a Sunday I knew it would be hit and miss regarding how many birds came in to roost. As it transpired the numbers of gulls roosting remained high however the large gulls arrived much later than hoped for, meaning we were racing against the light. A couple of Yellow-legged Gulls (a lifer for Sophie) were picked out by the watchers and just as it was getting dark the 2nd winter Glaucous Gull dropped in, another nice yeartick to end the trip. Even as we were walking back to the car after 6pm we could hear large gulls pouring in overhead, and with Caspian still missing from my yearlist it gives me a good excuse to come back again soon!

163. Long-eared Owl
164. Glaucous Gull
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