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Targets for 2019

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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 18:43   #1
JWN Andrewes
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Targets for 2019

Gosh, is this really the fourth year doing this? Would never have guessed it had the legs for it, but here we are, and as the euphoria generated by the splendid sight of a first winter Caspian Gull dossing on a car auction house roof subsides it is time to consider this year’s target. And it really has to be the push for 300. Can’t really put it off, but with 17 still needed, and only 21 notched up in 2018 this feels easily failable as the law of diminishing returns kicks in.

In theory the 17 “easiest” birds to target are -

Taiga Bean Goose
Cory’s Shearwater
Leach’s Petrel
Montagu’s Harrier
Rough-legged Buzzard
Common Quail
Dotterel
Pectoral Sandpiper
Grey Phalarope
Pomarine Skua
White-winged Black Tern
Little Auk
Yellow-browed Warbler
Red-breasted Flycatcher
Red-backed Shrike
Richard’s Pipit
Lapland Bunting

The precise composition of this list is about as variable as a Deep Purple line-up, and long debates could be had about which species to include or exclude, but the selection I’ve made will give some sort of idea of the challenge ahead. I’m still working on where we’ll be headed when, but we will certainly be trying to put ourselves in the way of some good stuff as the year goes by. Can’t imagine what 2019’s target will be, unless it’s the push for 300 again!
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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 19:56   #2
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With that list, a bit of seawatching in west Cornwall or Berry Head should reap dividends....

I really must try to see Arctic Warbler.....

ps, Happy birding year!
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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 20:06   #3
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A good set of targets. Our two have seen 7/8 of the 17 (depending on boy!). Daniel and I had a good outing with 75 spp yesterday - no lifers for him but some good birds to start the year. These included black-necked grebe (all 5 regular grebes seen!), water pipit, brent goose (both hrota and bernicla), plenty of scaup and 2 surf scoters.

Rob
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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 20:26   #4
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The toughest three birds on that list are Quail, White-winged Black Tern and Little Auk, respectively invisible, erratic in location and erratic in occurrence. The others are all susceptible to planning, up to a point.

I suggest that subject to confirmation from the Kent community that it is easy (its being reported every day, anyway), you should already be sorting out the Rough-legged Buzzard and heading home via Cantley/Buckenham before the few remaining Taiga Bean Geese head off in February. I'd be surprised if it wasn't possible to wrap up Lap Bunt at the same time.

I shall watch developments with interest.

Good hunting!

John
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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 21:23   #5
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The precise composition of this list is about as variable as a Deep Purple line-up...
Hey now! Stable since Don replaced Jon in 2002 and you could argue that as Jon retired they've been stable since Steve joined in 1996...

Here's to another year of fun tales from the road..
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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 22:08   #6
JWN Andrewes
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Hey now! Stable since Don replaced Jon in 2002 and you could argue that as Jon retired they've been stable since Steve joined in 1996...

Here's to another year of fun tales from the road..
Sorry, should I have said Black Sabbath?
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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 22:19   #7
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Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
The toughest three birds on that list are Quail, White-winged Black Tern and Little Auk, respectively invisible, erratic in location and erratic in occurrence. The others are all susceptible to planning, up to a point.

I suggest that subject to confirmation from the Kent community that it is easy (its being reported every day, anyway), you should already be sorting out the Rough-legged Buzzard and heading home via Cantley/Buckenham before the few remaining Taiga Bean Geese head off in February. I'd be surprised if it wasn't possible to wrap up Lap Bunt at the same time.

I shall watch developments with interest.

Good hunting!

John
Quail probably toughest of the lot. The one I've seen the least certainly. A long distance sally is unlikely this side of February I fear so we'll just have and see what's still in play when the time comes. In the mean time we'll enjoy more local year list fare.
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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 22:23   #8
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A good set of targets. Our two have seen 7/8 of the 17 (depending on boy!). Daniel and I had a good outing with 75 spp yesterday - no lifers for him but some good birds to start the year. These included black-necked grebe (all 5 regular grebes seen!), water pipit, brent goose (both hrota and bernicla), plenty of scaup and 2 surf scoters.

Rob
We haven't really started yet, been working since 1st, but the boys have started yearlisting garden visitors. Look forward to seeing what you chaps get up to, best of luck.
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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 22:25   #9
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With that list, a bit of seawatching in west Cornwall or Berry Head should reap dividends....

I really must try to see Arctic Warbler.....

ps, Happy birding year!
I have some fairly nebulous seawatching plans. Need to arrange a late summer visit to the Devon branch of the family....

Good luck with Arctic Warbler, and Happy birding year to you too.

Cheers all
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Old Thursday 3rd January 2019, 10:17   #10
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Sorry, should I have said Black Sabbath?
Nah. Only Ozzy/Dio back to Ozzy (and Bill Ward missing from final tour). Now if you really want a band that has had nearly as many line ups as I have had dips then should go for Hawkwind.

That's a seriously challenging list. There's four of my aforementioned dips on there so I wouldn't mind bagging a few of them myself. Richards Pipit is the one that really hurts as I missed three of them by 5 minutes when on holiday in Yorkshire the other year. Giving views down to 10M to the assembled watchers until flushed by a dog off a lead not to be seen again.

Good hunting and I wish you luck. look forward to reading of your adventures again and so pleased that the boys have stuck with it.
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Old Thursday 3rd January 2019, 10:33   #11
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Nah. Only Ozzy/Dio back to Ozzy (and Bill Ward missing from final tour). Now if you really want a band that has had nearly as many line ups as I have had dips then should go for Hawkwind.

.
Ooh, good call. Allow me to kick myself!

Yes, some toughies in there, but to be clear, that's not the list of targets, it's just to give an idea of the kind of stuff needed to get us over the line, which is the target. What species actually gets us there (and how long it takes) remains to be seen, but (spoiler alert) unless something unexpected crops up I can't see the journey starting in January. Most of the heavy lifting will be during school holidays, which will make things all the trickier.
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Old Thursday 3rd January 2019, 13:42   #12
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yes and there lies the problem. as you stated earlier, each year that goes by and the closer to the milestones the harder it becomes. sometimes it is easier to add the unexpected. I myself am only a handful away from my own 300 milestone (too many years away doing other things such as jobs and families etc) but whilst I have a first for UK, and another half dozen under double figure records on my list there are a lot of pelagic and other relatively common bird shaped holes in there too. Last year was an unexpected bonus with all the American waders that turned up, mostly within striking distance, so here's hoping for something similar this year, but from the east please.
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Old Sunday 6th January 2019, 18:49   #13
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January 6th

A sorry start to the year. Decided to bite the bullet and twitch the Kingsbury Dusky Warbler today. Kind of wish I hadn’t. Arrived around 08:20, headed out from the car park towards the river, and just shy of site bumped into some smiling birders heading the other way, proudly showing off a cracking BOC of the bird, proclaiming it to be calling constantly and showing well. A couple of minutes later we arrived on site to… silence. That was the first of four occasions over the morning that we missed it by less than five minutes. Second occasion we were so close to being in the right place at the right time, heard it calling away, but were the wrong side of the bushes. By the time we were beckoned round by birders watching it further round it was on its way, I got brief, distant, but fair views but couldn’t get the boys onto it. Third occasion we were checking the reed bed at one end of the bird’s range (it covered a lot of ground), as we headed back along the track we found it deserted, and rightly figured everyone was elsewhere watching it. By the time we caught up with the crowd it had been chased off by a Robin. I got brief distant views again (after briefly stringing a Chiffchaff, sorry folks), but the boys again missed it. We were over three hours in now, and the bird had gone quiet again, so we decided to leave. Had we made that call five minutes earlier we would have been on the right stretch of track to catch it showing fabulously well, but alas we had to make do with second hand accounts from the fortunate birder it had given itself up for. Drat! I mean, chuffed for the fellow and all that, certainly, but even so - drat!

The Hednesford Waxwings were similarly elusive when we called in for them en route to visit family that lives in the area.

Paul Longland was the only tick of the day, nice to meet you Paul, good to be able to put a face to a name, and I hope your day improved!
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Old Sunday 6th January 2019, 19:34   #14
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Nice to meet you and the boys too James. Sorry to say but our day got no better either. We decided to head off to the hides for a lunch break. Did get cracking views of an obliging willow tit and a male sparrow hawk that buzzed the feeders but same story on the way back. Passed a couple of birders that had just had brief views hung around for a while and did actually hear it calling. Unfortunately a half glimpse of something flashing through the brambles but certainly not enough to claim a tick. Called it a day, went home to watch the Leicester get dumped out of the cup by Newport. Ah well here's to better days to come.
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Old Sunday 6th January 2019, 19:56   #15
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I would love to see a White's Thrush or Siberian Thrush if they make it to British shores in autumn, plus Tawny Pipit, Pechora Pipit, Trumpeter Finch, Lesser Kestrel which I still flippin need in the UK.

Hope to get better views of Greater Spotted Eagle and maybe Grey-Headed Woodpecker when I go to Lake Kerkini in Greece in a fortnight.
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Old Sunday 6th January 2019, 20:22   #16
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Hope to get better views of Greater Spotted Eagle and maybe Grey-Headed Woodpecker when I go to Lake Kerkini in Greece in a fortnight.
Enjoy Nick, especially the Pelicans! We were fortunate enough to see a fulvescens var. GSE this time last year there!

Apologies for the diversion James!

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Old Sunday 6th January 2019, 21:07   #17
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Should get at least 2 off that list with some time on the east coast in the autumn. Personal had better luck in the yorkshire area than norfolk with the YB Warblers and Red-breasted Flycatcher
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Old Monday 14th January 2019, 10:11   #18
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Nothing much from last weekend. Daniel and I had an unsuccessful trip to various sites in the Howe of Fife - 4 goosander being the best on offer. Also a walk across to the neighbouring village for lunch produced 3 stonechats (first time I've seen them there) and a flock of golden plovers.
This weekend was rather more successful. On Saturday morning we went to Cameron reservoir and saw at least 2 redhead smew, plus 2 drake goosander and 23 whooper swans. In the afternoon Daniel and I went to Morton Lochs where we saw several common crossbills and a little egret. We also found 3 waxwings near Leuchars station - always good to find your own!
Yesterday morning three of us returned to Morton Lochs for more of the same. Crossbills showed better, there were two little egrets and lesser redpoll was new for the year. The waxwings had moved a few hundred metres to the south (more shelter from the wind) and gave super views.

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Old Tuesday 15th January 2019, 20:39   #19
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January 7th - 11th

Our post-Christmas Center Parcs wind-down started with a breakfast stop at Leighton Moss where as well as some excellent bacon rolls we managed to score some (albeit very distant) views of Otter from Causeway Hide and a couple of Marsh Tits coming to feeders behind the visitor centre.
At Whinfell itself we made time to seek out a bit of wildlife, highlights being close views of Red-legged Partridge (ok, not my favourite bird in a UK context, but when they show this well I can’t help myself from enjoying them), Brambling, Crossbills….
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Old Tuesday 15th January 2019, 20:41   #20
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… and, finally after two blank years, Red Squirrels!
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Old Wednesday 16th January 2019, 09:00   #21
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Forgot to mention that we had a red squirrel on Sunday. Daniel had his first lifer of the year whilst not birding yesterday! Last week whilst driving home I saw a woodcock fly in front of the car - which rather annoyed Daniel. On Sunday we had an abortive attempt to boot one out of a neighbour's copse. However yesterday whilst out with the school running club he happened to see one come out of some bushes and land on the adjacent golf course!

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Old Saturday 19th January 2019, 23:06   #22
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January 19th

Busy day today, but managed to get down to Parkgate for dusk where we enjoyed a hunting Short-eared Owl and a distant male Hen Harrier heading to roost. No sign of Bittern though. Another time.
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Old Sunday 20th January 2019, 16:03   #23
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With a bit more time to play with, today we went in search of Owls with longer ears, and found the Groby Mere Leos with ease, in spite of being the only birders on site. Two were sitting out nice and obvious, and there seemed to be more deeper in (you can just about make out bits on the photos), but it was hard to tell how many. These are the first we've managed to catch up with since the BMW one three years ago, so were well worth the trip, including the very muddy, in some places rather steep, foot path, of a type that can be perilous to those with little legs. Quite surprised none of us slipped over, as we all have form.
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Old Monday 21st January 2019, 12:16   #24
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[quote=wolfbirder;3804336]I would love to see a White's Thrush or Siberian Thrush if they make it to British shores in autumn, plus Tawny Pipit, Pechora Pipit, Trumpeter Finch, Lesser Kestrel which I still flippin need in the UK./QUOTE]
I think your chances of either of the thrushes and the Pechora would entail a trip to Shetland. White's and the Pechora are just about annual in recent years, Fair Isle has had consecutive autumns with a White's and has had four autumns since 2013 having an individual on there. Always possible are these three somewhere on the east coast but likely to be a tall order but anything is possible.
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Old Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 12:08   #25
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A couple of weekend outings with Daniel. On Saturday we went to Kingsbarns and had nice views of a hunting short-eared owl with a corn bunting best of the rest.
On Sunday we kicked off with dipper in St Andrews (with bonus red squirrel). Near Craigrothie we came upon a spectacular finch flock in an area of set aside containing up to 300 bramblings! Lesser black-back at Leven was new for the year as was the adult Mediterranean gull wandering around on the grass at Buckhaven. Next it was on to my WeBS count at Ruddons Point. Rather quiet but the first time I have had jack snipe but not common there - presumably a result of unusually dry conditions.

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