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Jonny721's Yearlist 2019

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Old Wednesday 1st May 2019, 19:48   #51
Jonny721
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April saw a steady stream of returning migrants hitting the yearlist, with a couple of good days in the Fylde in particular helping to add 25 species during the month, putting me on 205 by the end. This keeps me ahead of my previous best year at this stage which was 194 species in 2018, and it also means I have surpassed my lowest end-of-year total which was a measly 202 species in 2014! I was very happy to add my fourth lifer of the year and 350th British species in the form of the Savi's Warbler at Attenborough, as well as a couple of other scarcities with the Spotted Crake and American Wigeon.

So what are my targets for May? There are a number of scarce over-shooting migrants that I would really like to try and connect with this month if they become available to twitch, with Golden Oriole and Red-rumped Swallow topping the list. A trip to south cumbria is also in order to clean up on the oak-woodland specialities.
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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)
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Old Sunday 5th May 2019, 19:41   #52
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Sunday 5th May - South Cumbria and South Fylde

With the temperature reaching as low as 2 degrees overnight you could be forgiven for thinking we were still in early February rather than early May, but by mid-morning the sun had begun to warm things up a little as myself and Sophie reached Hay Bridge Nature Reserve in south Cumbria. Amazingly today was my first visit to this privately-run reserve that I have heard so many good things about from local birders, so I was curious to see if it lived up to the hype... it did!

A gorgeous mix of ancient oak woodland on rolling hills and stands of silver birch in lowland bog, the area was teaming with a massive variety of birds and other wildlife. Before we had even reached the reserve we were treated to a trio of Ospreys circling together over the valley, with the resident female seen later hunkered down on the nest. On the reserve itself at least 2 Cuckoos were singing from the surrounding woodland, their calls echoing down into the valley where we managed to unearth 5 Pied Flycatchers (3 males), 3 Garden Warbler of which 2 showed very well, and a large group of at least 18 Crossbill. A male Tawny Owl was also heard calling from deep in the woodland and my first 2 Swifts of the year screamed overhead. No Redstart this time but that just gives me an excuse to come back! Non-avian highlights included 3 Slow Worm, a Common Lizard and a small herd of Red Deer. Later we moved up the valley a little to another section of woodland that held 2 singing Wood Warblers, one of which handily posed for a few photos.

A quick detour on the way home saw us calling in at the tern colony at Preston Docks where the first 29 Common Terns have returned (with at least 150 yet to arrive), a fantastic noise as they displayed and courted around the pontoons. A single Arctic Tern dropped in for a short time, hopefully a few of these delightful terns will breed in the colony again this year. Take a look here to find out more about the Tern colony at Preston Docks.

206. Cuckoo
207. Pied Flycatcher
208. Garden Warbler
209. Swift
210. Wood Warbler
211. Arctic Tern

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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)

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Old Tuesday 7th May 2019, 17:24   #53
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Tuesday 7th May - South Kirkby

A day in the office means no Black Terns for me today despite them dropping in all across the midlands, hopefully some will still be around tomorrow. However I did manage one yeartick as I dropped in on the South Kirkby Iberian Chiffchaff. The bird was fairly easy to locate as it was singing almost continuously at the bottom of Carr Lane, but getting decent views proved difficult as it flitted through the thick birch canopy. This is my second Iberian Chiffchaff after the first for Lancashire back in 2011. A Cuckoo was singing almost constantly from the woods near the chiffchaff, a great sound that I don't hear very often in Lancashire anymore.

212. Iberian Chiffchaff
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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)
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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 09:51   #54
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Wednesday 8th May - Midlands

A cold and wet day dawned in Tamworth, with my plan for the day consisting of bat analysis from the previous night's transect survey and then maybe a trip to nearby RSPB Middleton Lakes to see the waders that the rain was depositing across the midlands. A check of Birdguides however changed that somewhat as it revealed that the Red-rumped Swallow had surprisingly been refound at Grimsbury Reservoir in north Oxfordshire after going missing for several days! Regular readers will remember from post #51 that this species was one of my two main targets for the spring, so it wasn't long before I was heading down the M40 towards Banbury.

The continued rainfall proved to be advantageous as it meant the hirundines were unlikely to leave the reservoir and this proved to be the case as I arrived at the site to find a flock of 200 mixed hirundines feeding low over the water. It took a few minutes of scanning but I was confident the bird was still present and sure enough my fifth lifer of the year (#351) soon flashed through the scope, a gorgeous Red-rumped Swallow feeding at point blank range over the reservoir! This is a species I have seen oseveral times previously on the continent but it was a joy to get prolonged views of one in Britain. As the rain intensified the hirundines began to sit up on the perimeter fence along the reservoir's western shore and this allowed some incredibly close views of the RRS, as can be evidenced by the phone-scoped record shot below. I left very happy if a little soaked.

After a few hours work during the afternoon I reverted back to my original plan and took a trip down to Middleton Lakes for my second soaking of the day (and hopefully some birds too). The Temminck's Stint from the previous day was still showing well on the east scrape along with 18 summer-plumaged Dunlin and a brick red Knot. Unfortunately there were no Black Terns around and another heavy rain shower that passed through failed to drop anything new in so I began the walk back when news broke of 5 Black Terns just down the road at Kingsbury Water Park. By the time I arrived at Bodymoor Heath Water where the terns had been reported I was greeted by not 5 but 8 immaculate Black Terns fishing over the lake, surely one of the best looking birds around. Whilst I was watching them a noisy 9th individual dropped in from high up to join the flock, a nice end to a productive day.

213 - Red-rumped Swallow - British Lifer #351
214 - Temminck's Stint
215 - Black Tern

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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)
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Old Friday 10th May 2019, 20:45   #55
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Friday 10th May - South Fylde

A after work detour home this evening to listen out for a singing Quail that was found on Lytham Moss (Site 5D on the linked Fylde Bird Club site guide) earlier in the day. This is quite an early date for a Quail in the Fylde and it represents a prominent gap on my Fylde life list as I am yet to see one locally despite hearing several in previous summers. Well today's bird proved no different, a single snatch of song from it's chosen field but no chance of a sighting, maybe I will have better luck as the summer progresses. Still, a yeartick.

216. Quail
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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)
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Old Saturday 18th May 2019, 08:41   #56
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Friday 17th May - Lunt Meadows

Another after-work twitch on a Friday evening; the alert came through of a Stilt Sandpiper at Lunt Meadows as I was driving home along the M62 late afternoon yesterday, so I carried on past my usual junction and an hour later I was pulling into the reserve car park. This was my first visit to this relatively new wetland reserve in Merseyside which already boasts an impressive list of rarities and scarcities. A small crowd had already gathered overlooking one of the shallow pools and I had soon joined them getting great views of the Stilt Sandpiper (British lifer #352) feeding alongside a few Black-tailed Godwits. Still a very rare bird in the UK (less than 40 records) this represents the second record for Lancashire with the first being way back in 1967 so a county tick for almost everyone present.

A Marsh Harrier was regularly spooking the waders meaning the sandpiper was quite flighty but this turned to our advantage as after one flush it landed particularly close to the path, giving excellent views in the evening sun. The pools were packed with birds - a pristine Wood Sandpiper was another yeartick alongside a drake Garganey, 2 each of Ruff and Mediterranean Gull, and multiple Little Ringed Plover and Avocet.

217. Stilt Sandpiper - British Lifer #352
218. Wood Sandpiper

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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)
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Old Tuesday 21st May 2019, 12:32   #57
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Monday 20th May - Wintersett Reservoir

The singing Great Reed Warbler at Wintersett Reservoir has been tempting me for almost two weeks now but work scheduling (and other birds) hadn't presented with me an opportunity to take a visit, until yesterday. I arrived on site late afternoon and made my way towards the NW corner of the reservoir where the bird was immediately audible, singing from within a small but dense reedbed adjacent to the path through the woods. The bird was favouring the western end of the reedbed near one of the 'viewpoints' but with the reeds right up to the path it made viewing more than a couple of metres through them virtually impossible, despite the bird being less than 20m away! Fortunately there was a well placed willow tree by the viewpoint and a quick bit of climbing saw me 10 foot up it and facing a much more panoramic view over the tops of the reeds, where after a bit of scanning the Great Reed Warbler flitted into view as it continued to sing half-way up the reed stems, result!

My only previous sighting of this species was one of my very first rarities way back in 2005, when as a family we stopped off at Conwy RSPB on the way home from a holiday in North Wales to find a crowd of people watching a singing individual on the main lake. Unsurprisingly I barely recall the sighting now (I was 10 at the time!) so it was great to see another this year.

219. Great Reed Warbler
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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)
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Old Wednesday 29th May 2019, 19:21   #58
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Saturday 25th May - East Yorkshire

Ash and Sophie decided to head over to East Yorkshire on Saturday to twitch amongst other things the Baikal Teal, and since I wouldn't be driving for once I gladly accepted the offer of a lift! We decided to start at Spurn and then work our way up the coast to Hornsea once news of the Teal still being present came out. Well we were just passing Hull when confirmation of the Teal came through on the news services, but we deicded to stick to our original plan and continued on to Spurn.

To cut a long story short Spurn was very quiet! The highlights of a couple of hours trawl around the wetlands and Sammy's point were slim but did include my first Little Terns of the year on Beacon Ponds, as well as the very late Fieldfare and 3 Yellow Wagtails on the Holderness Field. With nothing else of note being found by others in the area we drove the 45 minutes north to Hornsea Mere to the news that the Baikal Teal had just flown off, probably to the far west end of the lake which was out of view. Not knowing the site very well we spent a couple of hours trying out various vantage points but had little success bar nice views of a Hobby hunting insects along the southern shore. Fortunately our target was refound from the private hide at the end of the lake so we headed round and purchased our permits to allow us access to the hide. The raised viewing platform above the hide proved to be the ideal vantage point for viewing the mere where the gorgeous drake Baikal Teal was quickly located with it's drake Wigeon partner. The bird was showing at a much shorter range than where it had been earlier in the day so we all got great views, a lifer for Sophie and a second for me and Ash following the Marshside individual a few years back. A male Marsh Harrier proved a distraction from the duck as it brought in several food items to a nest opposite the hide, and a male Fox gave great views in the fields near the car park on the walk back.

With no news of the Night Heron at Fairburn Ings we instead diverted to Wintersett Reservoir for my second helpings of the Great Reed Warbler. A lifer for the others, the bird showed much better than when I had seen it the previous Monday, regularly perching up in the reeds belting out it's song. A great if wet end to the day. Sadly the Serin at Spurn was pinned down too late for us to go back there, a potential lifer for me.

220. Little Tern
221. Hobby
222. Baikal Teal

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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)
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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 17:15   #59
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Monday 27th May - Fylde and Marshside

An early morning seawatch off Rossall Point (site 1A on the linked Fylde Bird Club site guide) in strong winds produced the hoped for Manx Shearwater passing by with 93 in an hour (46 north and 47 south), along with a Fulmar and a good passage of auks amongst the commoner species.

In the afternoon I took a trip over to the south side of the Ribble with Sophie in search of the Glossy Ibis that has taken up residence at Marshside RSPB. After a quick (failed) search for the local Water Voles on the adjacent golf course we headed down to Nel's Hide where the Ibis was still present and showing well, mostly feeding amongst the long grass but also going for a few flyarounds being mobbed by the numerous nesting Avocets on the marsh.

On the way home we called in at the Preston Dock (Site 6H on the linked Fylde Bird Club site guide) to check up on the tern colony. I spent an hour mapping the colony which revealed at least 88 active Common Tern nest or scrapes on the pontoons, as well as 2 Arctic Tern nests. I am hoping to regularyly visit this site over the summer to observe the colony and see if I can accurately assess the productivity this breeding season

223. Manx Shearwater
224. Glossy Ibis
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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)
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Old Sunday 2nd June 2019, 15:46   #60
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May proved to be surprisingly productive with 19 yearticks accrued, of which two were lifers - Red-rumped Swallow and Stilt Sandpiper, and three were seconds - Iberian Chiffchaff (+ third), Great Reed Warbler and Baikal Teal. I also cleaned up on most of the late summer migrants with just a few left outstanding.

Looking ahead June should also prove to be very productive for the yearlist, not least due to two trips I have planned - Scotland on 12th-16th and Norfolk on 17th-19th! My previous highest British yearlist was 238 species in 2013, will I pass that total this month?
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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)

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Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 11:32   #61
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Monday 3rd June - Hebden Bridge

Not how I had planned on starting the month, my first dip on a lifer of the year! A Roller was found deep in the peak district yesterday evening and since this was kind of on my way to work I decided to give the area a search this morning. As expected it proved to be an enormous area to search and unfortunately there was no sign of my target. This was always going to be the most likely outcome however as this is a species I am yet to see anywhere I had to give it a go! There were a few consolations however, the woodland in the valley was packed with birds including a singing Cuckoo and my first Spotted Flycatchers of the year, whilst up on the moors a few male Red Grouse were displaying and calling. These were both species I expected to see in Scotland anyway but still nice to get them ticked off beforehand.

225. Spotted Flycatcher
226. Red Grouse
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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)
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Old Monday 10th June 2019, 19:40   #62
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Sunday 9th June - Flamborough and Fairburn

With Scotland and Norfolk trips just round the corner I was planning on doing as little driving as possible over the weekend, although the male Black-headed Bunting at Flamborough that had lingered into it's third day was certainly tempting me. Fortunately Sophie was also keen and didn't take too much persuading to drive the 3 hours across to the east coast where we arrived just after midday in glorious sunshine. A short walk down the footpath towards Old Fall where we joined the assembled crowd watching the gorgeous male Black-headed Bunting (British lifer #353) feeding atop one of the hedgerows. In the sunlight the yellow body and chestnut back really shone, contrasting with the black on the head, a fantastic looking bird. Views were a little distant through the heat haze but fortunately the bird continued feeding in view for an extended period of time, nice to get a lifer after dipping the Roller at the start of the week.

Back towards the lighthouse an unassigned female Subalpine Warbler had been showing occasionally in the golf course willows at the top of the cliffs. We plonked ourselves down on the grass opposite it's favoured patch of willow and rose and along with a few others waited for the bird to show. A Lesser Whitethroat flitting around the area caused a few false alarms and it took over an hour before I noticed a smaller bird creeping around a patch of brambles higher up on the slope above the willows. Through the scope it took over a minute of watching it before I got a conclusive view, the pale-peach underparts and the white moustachal stripe showing nicely. I managed to get Sophie and a few others onto it before it disappeared deep into a large bramble thicket from which it didn't re-emerge. This is only my second Subalpine Warbler following another unassigned female at Spurn in autumn 2013. I am hoping that this bird will have it's call recorded or DNA taken to ID it to species level (Western is the favoured choice at the moment from others), but for now I am happy to have it on my list as Subalpine Warbler sp. If later in the year I see another Subalpine that is identified to species level then that shall replace this bird on the list rather than becoming a new tick.

With a report of an Alpine Swift briefly over North Landing filtering through the crowd of warbler watchers we retreated up to the cliff top incase it happened to head towards us, and this also gave us a great chance to view over the sea and the mass of seabirds offshort. Kittiwakes were making a fantastic racket from the cliffs whilst thousands of Auks were on the water just off the head, scanning through which produced at least 4 Puffins, always a pleasure to see.

Since the Swift never appeared (it later transpired it had flown off north) we grabbed a late lunch in the cafe then started our journey back west, calling in at Fairburn Ings on the outskirts of Leeds on the way. After a bit of a walk and some searching we managed to locate 2 of the breeding Spoonbills amongst the heron/egret/cormorant colony on The Moat, looking spectacular in their breeding finery and nice to actually see one awake! Even more of a highlight for me however was a Puss Moth that Sophie found on one of the fence posts along the path, my first ever.

227. Black-headed Bunting - British lifer #353
228. Subalpine Warbler sp
229. Puffin
230. Spoonbill
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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)
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Old Tuesday 11th June 2019, 17:03   #63
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So Scotland beckons tomorrow for 5 days, 2.5 days on the west coast then 2.5 days in the cairngorms. The 15 potential yearticks (with my predictions for how likely we are of actually seeing them) are:

Blue-winged Teal (10%, seems to have left)
Black Duck (75%)
Velvet Scoter (75% if we stop off at Musselburgh on way back on Sunday)
Capercaillie (25%)
Black Grouse (20%)
Ptarmigan (75%)
Golden Eagle (50%)
White-tailed Eagle (75%)
Corncrake (10%)
Dotterel (50%)
Crested Tit (50%)
Ring Ouzel (80%)
Redstart (80%)
Parrot Crossbill (50%)
Scottish Crossbill (25%)

I am currently sat on 230 species for the year meaning if I manage 9 or more of the above then I will beat my previous highest British yearlist of 238 from back in 2013! Keep an eye on this thread to see how I get on...
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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)
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Old Wednesday 12th June 2019, 19:25   #64
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Wednesday 12th June - Scotland Day 1/5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonny721 View Post
Blue-winged Teal (10%, seems to have left)
Black Duck
Velvet Scoter (75% if we stop off at Musselburgh on way back on Sunday)
Capercaillie (25%)
Black Grouse (20%)
Ptarmigan (75%)
Golden Eagle (50%)
White-tailed Eagle
Corncrake (10%)
Dotterel (50%)
Crested Tit (50%)
Ring Ouzel (80%)
Redstart (80%)
Parrot Crossbill (50%)
Scottish Crossbill (25%)
Posting from Ardnamurchan this evening with limited internet so apologies for the briefer posting. We arrived near Oban late morning with the weather sunny intervals but a strong wind blowing from the north. We spent till early afternoon looking for insects; the wind scuppered our chance of Marsh Fritillary at an exposed site but we were much more successful with Chequered SKipper at Glasdrum Wood, my 53rd British butterfly species!

We then took the quick ferry crossing at Corran and headed onto Ardnamurchan itself. We had barely driven a mile along the road from the ferry when Sophie spotted the unmistakable bulk of a White-tailed Eagle flying low over the loch! We pulled in very quickly and realised there were 2 individuals flying together over the loch giving great views. This was one of our top targets for the trip so to get it this easily was amazing!

We continued along the road as it changed from double to single track into Strontian, a veritable pilgramage for birders in the last few years to see the resident drake Black Duck (British lifer #354). We quickly located the bird feeding on the river just downstream of the second bridge in the company of a drake Mallard, a very handsome looking individual that gave some nice views as it swam past us.

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent at a few more sites between Strontian and our accommodation at Glenborrodale. The sun did disappear after a while which meant we failed to find Northern Emerald dragonfly near Salen, although another Chequered Skipper was some compensation. We managed a third White-tailed Eagle for the day at the Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide and are now waiting to see if any Pine Martens visit the garden of our accommodation this evening...

231. White-tailed Eagle
232. Black Duck - British Lifer #354
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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)

Last edited by Jonny721 : Thursday 20th June 2019 at 19:51.
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Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 20:49   #65
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Thursday 13th June - Scotland Day 2/5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonny721 View Post
Blue-winged Teal (10%, seems to have left)
Black Duck
Velvet Scoter (75% if we stop off at Musselburgh on way back on Sunday)
Capercaillie (25%)
Black Grouse (20%)
Ptarmigan (75%)
Golden Eagle (50%)
White-tailed Eagle
Corncrake
Dotterel (50%)
Crested Tit (50%)
Ring Ouzel (80%)
Redstart (80%)
Parrot Crossbill (50%)
Scottish Crossbill (25%)
Storm Petrel
Another great day spent exploring the Ardnamurchan peninsular. With no specific targets to look for today we started off at Ardnamurhcan lighthouse, the most westerly point of mainland Britain, for a seawatch. The wind was blowing strongly from the north so we found a sheltered spot by the foghorn station and settled down for an hour or two. Manx Shearwaters were the main feature of the watch with well over four-figures wheeling about offshore in big feeding flocks, an amazing spectacle. Auks were moving past in good numbers and we managed to pick out 5 Puffins and a Black Guillemot in amongst the commoner two species. Best of all though was a Storm Petrel that I picked up as it powered it's way north into the wind at mid-distance, giving nice scope views for several minutes. This was a lifer for Sophie and a year-tick for myself and Ash (my first since 2015), and was not a tick I was expecting from this trip.

From here we slowly made our way back east along the peninsular, stopping to walk along the gorgeous white sand beach at Sanna Bay. Birdwise we found a pristine Black-throated Diver on one of the inland lochs, 3 White-tailed Eagles at various points along the coast, multiple Cuckoos and Whinchats on the moors and singing Wood Warbler at Glenborrodale RSPB.

Unfortunately despite a couple of attempts at each we weren't able to find any Golden Eagles or Otters, but hopefully we will have a couple more chances at the former in the next few days. From speaking to locals it transpires that the Corncrake that we had an outside chance of hearing at Kilchoan has not been heard for over a week now so we definitely won't be connecting with that species, one off the potential target list.

The mixed forecast for tomorrow means a change in plan. We will no longer be heading north to Loch Maree to look ofr dragonflies due to the rain and wind, so instead we will head straight north-east up to the Nairn and Findhorn area before dropping down to Aviemore late afternoon. Several targets could fall...

233. Storm Petrel
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Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)

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Old Friday 14th June 2019, 21:42   #66
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Friday 14th June - Scotland Day 3/5

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Originally Posted by Jonny721 View Post
Blue-winged Teal (10%, seems to have left)
Black Duck
Velvet Scoter (75% if we stop off at Musselburgh on way back on Sunday)
Capercaillie
Black Grouse (20%)
Ptarmigan (75%)
Golden Eagle
White-tailed Eagle
Corncrake
Dotterel (50%)
Crested Tit
Ring Ouzel (80%)
Redstart (80%)
Parrot Crossbill (50%)
Scottish Crossbill (25%)
Storm Petrel
We spent yesterday late evening sat by the window of our accommodation on Ardnamurchan waiting for the local Pine Marten to come and visit the peanuts on the birdtable, as it had failed to appear on Wednesday night. Well after about an hour of waiting it bounded into view and spent several minutes gorging itself a few metres away, amazing views of an amazing animal, a lifer for the other two and only the second for myself. We then went for a night drive for the very slim chance of encountering a Wildcat but as expected no luck, although we did have multiple Roe and Red Deer and a Tawny Owl.

Our initial plan this morning was to head north-east across the country to Nairn in the hope of finding the King Eider that has been frequenting the area recently, then head down to Aviemore. Unfortunately news came through early that the Eider was back at it's favourite haunt on the Ythan Estuary, a bit too far for us to go this time, so we changed plan and headed straight for the Cairngorms area. A slightly longer drive than anticipated as predictably we kept stopping at various sealochs, mountain ridges etc for a scan which produced a few new species for the trip (Greenshank, Red-breasted Merganser etc), and at Loch Insh to see the pair of Ospreys which both showed well near the nest.

Next up was the well-known Eagle hotspot of Findhorn Valley, or as it has been christened by myself on earlier trips Find-nowt Valley as I was yet to see any eagles there! The car park at the end of the valley road was full of vehicles with plenty of birders looking but they reported that there hadn't been any sightings of the Eagles for a while. We set up the scopes and settled in for a long watch which is what it proved to be, indeed I was starting to think I was going to miss this species on the trip. After over an hour of waiting (at least it was sunny!) Sophie spotted a moulting adult Golden Eagle gliding along the ridge above the car park heading purposefully up the valley, managing to get all the assembled watchers onto it as it passed high overhead!

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the Loch Garten exploring the pine forests and their associated fauna and flora. After tea however we turned it up a notch, heading to a secluded undisturbed area of woodland where I have found Capercaillie in the past. I didn't really expect to see any this time round as we stuck to the paths but after a little while walking around there in the middle of a clearing was a male Capercaillie feeding! Views were distant but it was amazing to watch this massive bird slowly working it's way through the tall grass. Nearby we heard the tell-tale trilling call of a pair of Crested Tits, though as often is the case with this species views were limited to obscured tree-top glimpses. Still, great to bag both species in a short space of time. On the drive back to Boat of Garten we fluked a fly-over Woodcock.

Photos will follow sometime next week when I have the time to sort and process the better ones.

234. Golden Eagle
235. Capercaillie
236. Crested Tit
__________________
Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)

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Old Thursday 20th June 2019, 20:16   #67
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Saturday 15th June - Scotland Day 4/5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonny721 View Post
Blue-winged Teal (10%, seems to have left)
Black Duck
Velvet Scoter (75% if we stop off at Musselburgh on way back on Sunday)
Capercaillie
Black Grouse
Ptarmigan
Golden Eagle
White-tailed Eagle
Corncrake
Dotterel
Crested Tit
Ring Ouzel
Redstart
Parrot Crossbill
Scottish Crossbill
Storm Petrel
Not all days go to plan...

After a hearty Scottish breakfast at our B&B near Aviemore we packed up and drove round the east side of the Cairngorms to our first site of the day, the large pine forests at Ballochbuie. This forest holds populations of all 3 Crossbill species so these were our main target of the day. Unfortunately despite my best efforts I had not been able to procure a decent microphone for work for recording their calls, a crucial tool to ID individuals to species level, so we would have to do our best with field views alone. We ended up unearthing two Crossbill flocks during our time in the forest; one was a family group of obvious Common Crossbill however it was the second group that proved more interesting. We only managed to get scope views of one individual in this group, a female that immediately set alarm bells ringing with a large stocky structure, particularly a huge bull-neck and head. The bill looked on the small side for Parrot but knowing these features are variable we took a series of photos and videos for later review. Later we reviewed the footage and sent it to some local experts who confirmed the bird was definitely a Scottish/Parrot with the bill size favouring the former, but of course identification couldn't be certain without sound recordings. Like the Subalpine warbled conundrum the previous week I have seen Scottish Crossbill before but never Parrot and since our bird was definitely one of the two species with identification favouring Scottish I am happy to include it on my yearlist, albeit I would love to go back sometime and get a load of recordings!

Moving on we spent the afternoon climbing Glas Maol, a short(ish) but steep in sections walk to the summit from the car park at the Glenshee Ski Centre. In 2015 I did this climb and lucked on to a female Dotterel on the summit plateau as well as multiple Ptarmigan, so I was hopeful of seeing the latter this time and maybe the former. Well this is where things started to go wrong, as despite a thorough search we failed to find any birds of note on the hilltop or during the walk to and from, even the resident Ring Ouzels were hiding! A few Mountain Hares provided a small bit of consolation on the way down.

In an attempt to save the day I decided to take us down to Loch of the Lowes late evening in the hope that we might be lucky with the resident Beavers. The mammal excitement started before we even reached the reserve with a roadside Sika Deer doe, a lifer for the other two. On the reserve itself we made for the observation hide and couldn't believe our luck when after just 10 minutes a Eurasian Beaver appeared on the opposite shore and proceeded to show for nearly 15 minutes, swimming and munching on a birch branch! An unexpected mammal lifer for us all and a great end to a tough day.

237. Scottish Crossbill

Photos to follow soon.
__________________
Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)

Last edited by Jonny721 : Thursday 20th June 2019 at 20:21.
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Old Thursday 20th June 2019, 20:33   #68
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Sunday 16th June - Scotland Day 5/5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonny721 View Post
Blue-winged Teal
Black Duck
Velvet Scoter
Capercaillie
Black Grouse
Ptarmigan
Golden Eagle
White-tailed Eagle
Corncrake
Dotterel
Crested Tit
Ring Ouzel
Redstart
Parrot Crossbill
Scottish Crossbill
Storm Petrel
Our final day in Scotland and after a long few days the plan was to simply drive home to Blackpool without any stops along the way. This changed slightly however with the news that the (or one of?) the Blue-winged Teal that had been found near Glasgow the previous day was still present, so we diverted to Frankfield Loch and arrived just after 11. The Teal was immediately pointed out to us however it had managed to choose the one place on the whole lake to fall asleep where it wasn't viewable, behind a couple of awkwardly positioned dead branches. A wait of 45 minutes ensued before a passing Mallard handily gave the Teal a little kick which flushed it out onto the open water, giving us a chance to take in the fantastic plumage of a drake BWT. This was Sophie's 5th lifer of the trip (following Black Duck, WTE, Storm Petrel and Scotsbill). With that it was time to continue the long drive home.

So overall how did we do? I managed 1 of 2 potential bird lifers (Black Duck but no Parrot Crossbill) and 8 yearticks, meaning I am now equal with my highest ever yearlist of 238 species! Of the 8 targets that we missed we did not try for Velvet Scoter, Black Grouse or Corncrake in the end, meaning just the 5 dips for the trip, not too bad a result.

Away from birds I was thrilled to see Chequered Skipper butterfly for the first time, one of my three main targets for the trip, and of course the Beaver really rounded off the week on a high. 1 Bird lifer, 1 Butterfly lifer and 1 Mammal lifer is a great return! Photos to follow tomorrow.
__________________
Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)

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Old Saturday 22nd June 2019, 15:06   #69
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A few photos of some of the more interesting birds seen on the Scotland trip...

Black Duck - Strontian
Wood Warbler - RSPB Glenborrodale
Golden Eagle - distant bird in the Findhorn Valley
Capercaillie - an even more distant bird near Grantown-on-Spey
Scottish Crossbill - a very pixelated video-grab of the female bird from Ballochbuie

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__________________
Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)
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Old Sunday 23rd June 2019, 15:33   #70
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And the non-bird highlights from Scotland...

Hairy Dragonfly - a female at Shian Wood, an isolated population exists in that part of Scotland
Chequered Skipper - one of at least 5 at Glasdrum Wood
Pine Marten - visiting the bird table at our accommodation
Red Squirrel - one of 3 in the Findhorn Valley
Eurasian Beaver - a poor phone-scoped record shot from Loch of the Lowes

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__________________
Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)
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Old Monday 24th June 2019, 19:56   #71
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Monday 17th - Tuesday 18th June - Norfolk & Lincolnshire

A long drive from Scotland to home on Sunday morning was followed by another long drive from home to Norfolk later that afternoon, to attend a bat training course for work. The course proved to be fantastic, being based at the University of East Anglia with a trip out to the village of Swanton Morely on the Monday night which produced a mammal lifer for me in the form of a single Serotine Bat (amongst larger numbers of Natterer's and the two common Pipistrelle species).

Being in Norfolk in June I knew there was always going to be a chance of a rarity turning up, and so it proved when news broke mid-morning on the Tuesday of a Black-winged Pratincole at RSPB Frampton Marsh. With the course finishing at 4 I had plenty of time to drive to the reserve, via dropping a colleague off at Norwich station first, arriving at 18:15. A trickle of observers arriving back at the car park was however an onimous sign and it turned out the bird had flown off strongly heading north just 15 minutes beforehand, nightmare! I waited a couple of hours as the rain intensified but the bird failed to re-materialize, a thoroughly miserable dip. I had already booked a couple of days off work to stay down and make the most of Norfolk, so I headed off to my overnight accommodation near Kings Lynn hoping that the Pratincole would return in the morning...
__________________
Birds: British - 355 (Black-winged Pratincole), Fylde - 243 (Egyptian Goose), British Year 2019 - 243 (Nightjar)
Moths: 497 (Puss Moth) - Butterflies: 53 (Swallowtail) - Dragonflies: 34 (Norfolk Hawker) - Mammals: 41 (Serotine Bat)
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