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CactusD's List 2011 (1 Viewer)


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As Maenad has already reported, the summer has been rather too busy to get much birding done. However, a fortuitous trip to Slimbridge on Saturday came up with some goodies for the list, including a couple of lifers and some good UK ticks. Having toddler in tow precluded any camera gear, but the scope was far more useful on this occasion anyhow.

17th September, Slimbridge

227. GREY PLOVER (finally got one of these, having looked a few times in Scotland over the past couple of years to no avail).
228. Dotterel (first for UK - not seen since Sweden in 2008)
229. Red Knot
231. Arctic Tern (first for UK)


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Otmoor, 12th December

After a very long absence from this thread, my list makes a very welcome return from the birding doldrums.
A preliminary visit to Otmoor last Saturday produced a Hen Harrier for me, a UK tick for the year (though I had already seen one on Lesvos earlier). A return visit this afternoon saw me hunting for the Short-eared Owls. In increasingly murky and windy conditions, a few intrepid birders made their way out to The Pill through the shooting range field. Thankfully two birds (though I only saw the one) appeared and put on a good show in the scrubby grass from about 2.45–3.15pm until it went too dark. I took over 100 shots, and was very pleased to have my Nikon D3s with me, since otherwise the gloom would have been overwhelming. One or two shots of this stunning bird are attached below.
This is a year tick and a first for my UK list (I'd only seen them before in Sweden back in 2008). This brings my number of Owl species for the year to (what is for me) a whopping six. B :)B :)

232. Short-eared Owl (first for UK)


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Ayrshire, Scotland – Christmas 2011

We headed up to Scotland for Christmas this year – returning today/tomorrow, though foul weather seems to have put paid to any more birding en route during the return leg.

So far (up until mid-morning on Wednesday 28th), I’ve had 70 species, which is pretty good given the wild weather and a small child in tow who is full of cold.

Below will appear the list, with updates for the year list, and a sample list for my best birding excursion during the visit. The main sites visited were Caerlaverock WWT en route north, and Troon/Barassie and Irvine while in Scotland.

The trip-list:
Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Greylag Goose, Barnacle Goose, Canada Goose (sadly not enough time to locate Pink Foots at Caerlaverock), Mallard, Wigeon, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck, Buzzard, Kestrel, Pheasant, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Curlew, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Feral Pigeon, Collared Dove, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Redwing, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Starling, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Reed Bunting

+ the following additions in Ayrshire:
Eider, Cormorant, Redshank, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Fieldfare, Red-throated Diver, Little Grebe, Shag, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Turnstone, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Dunlin, Coot, Goosander, Ringed Plover, Sparrowhawk, Razorbill, Gannet, Rock Pipit, Great Northern Diver, Guillemot, Purple Sandpiper, Common Scoter


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Updates to the year list:

233. Whooper Swan
234. Common Eider
235. Red-throated Diver (1st for UK)
236. Shag
237. Red-breasted Merganser
238. Ruddy Turnstone
239. Razorbill
240. Gannet
241. Rock Pipit
242. Common Guillemot
243. Purple Sandpiper
244. Common Scoter
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Best birding & photography excursion:
Irvine Harbourside and River Mouth, low tide, 9–10.30am 27/12/11

I’d already managed some good shots of Turnstone here at high tide on a previous outing (see below), but low tide enabled me to get down by the river mouth on the sand for some low angle sea-duck shots, after some profitable time spent sea-watching with the scope and watching the Bogside.

The list for this hour-and-a-half totalled the following 25 species:

Great Northern Diver, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Mallard, Wigeon, Eider, Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, Oystercatcher, Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Curlew, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Guillemot, Razorbill, Feral Pigeon, Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Goldeneye, Lapwing, Teal

+ the bonus of a Grey Seal swimming past.


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Well, the end to another year list. 244 for the year is my best since starting listing the birds of the year in 2008.
Many thanks to all those who read and rated this list thread, and to all those birders who helped me along the way, particularly all the friendly birders I met on Lesvos in April.
Highlights of the year are legion, but it was particularly great to get some good views and shots of Harriers, Herons, and various waders on Lesvos. I also much enjoyed the Owls I managed to find in the UK this year. I'm not sure as yet what 2012 has in store birding-wise, but I'm hoping for a trip to mainland Greece in the summer, so there may be some good birds there along with the butterflies I'll be looking for.
Happy New Year to all!

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