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China Birds (Nick Sismey) 2011 List (UK, China, Hong Kong & ?) (1 Viewer)

ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
Thank you very much to the tenth Birdforum Member to rank this thread. Double figures, a first! :t:

26 December 2011

With just five days left in the year, having smashed my record World Year List, I have been contemplating whether I will have enough time, with festive family commitments, to also break my UK Year record of 220 birds set in 2008.

Having two to three hours free late this morning/early afternoon I made my third visit of the year to Allestree Park (Photo1), North of Derby, in search of the elusive UK Mandarin Duck, having seen one earlier in the year near Beijing, China.

With families out taking in the abnormally warm air for the time of year, many with dogs, I gave little chance of seeing the skulking birds. In one secluded spot however, far from the madding crowd, a lone male Mandarin burst from the covered bank and flew off towards the only island on the lake and back into obscurity. UK Bird 213

Buoyed with my success I decided to take a trip north of Darley Dale onto Bent Lane close to the entry of a farm called Bumper Farm (Photo 2) where Steve told me there were a flock of up to 100 Brambling amongst the Beech Trees. Matlock Bath was its usual busy self as I passed through with the annual raft race having taken place earlier in the day.

There were several birders just up the road from the farm looking across the valley, clearly for something rare. One of the birders, he later introduced himself as Chris Baines, advised that there had been a Great Grey Shrike in the area for some time it last seen a couple of hours earlier. That would also be a new bird for the year if I could get onto it so I parked up the road and returned to where the birders were gathered.

Chris said he had seen the shrike nearer the farm so we both wondered up there but no sight of the shrike and no sight of the Brambling. Suddenly four birds flew over us, the short trills identifying them as Common Crossbills. Not only my 214th UK Year Bird but another one for the World Year list

563.Common Crossbill--------------Bumper Castle (Darley Dale)------England

It was only 1415 but the light was already ebbing away, the silhouetted birds high in the beech consisting of Blue and Coal Tits, Nuthatch, Goldfinch and many Chaffinches but no Bramblings. Twenty minutes later Chris spotted six very flighty Bramblings, which I finally got onto thanks to his expert directions.

564.Brambling---------------------Bumper Castle (Darley Dale)------England

By now I had broken my curfew so had to make a quick dash home to build up enough Brownie points for being late and to justify any further trips later in the week to find those six birds that would take the UK List to a record 221…..
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
30 December 2011

Before the rain closed in for the day Steve and I visited Netherfield Lagoons to the east of Nottingham. There were a good few birders looking for the Siberian Chiffchaff along the Ouse Dyke when we arrived, the bird had been seen earlier but wasn’t playing game while we were there. Therefore we wondered up to the Slurry Lagoon (Photo1) which had been reported to have had Iceland Gull on a regular basis during midday, taking a wash and brush up in-between visits to a local tip.

Standing on the grey slurry were good numbers of Lapwing and Black Headed Gulls with a couple of Great Black Backed Gulls and one gull that had the makings of a Caspian. Teal were in plentiful supply all along the edges of the reed beds. Just as we were about to move on both Steve and I locked onto a white winged gull coming into land. It was indeed the Iceland Gull (Photo 2 – digi-scoped).

565.Iceland Gull--------------Netherfield Lagoons-------------England

Several other birders joined us including a young lad with his mum. He was chuffed to bits with his first Iceland Gull viewed through my scope. Then the rains came so Steve and I made our way back again checking unsuccessfully for the Chiffchaff.

Unfortunately it looks like 221UK birds for the year will not be achieved now being on 216 with just a day to go. Never mind 2012 is another year which will bring new achievements I am sure.

I wonder whether I can just wangle one last trip of the year in the morning…….?
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
31 December 2011

No birding today, grandson took priority, therefore the year finishes on a personal record of 565 World Year Birds. This was thanks to some extra business trips I was lucky enough to make to some new countries where Dave Candy (Thailand), Barbara Tompkins and Laura (Dallas), Mike Hooper (Malaysia and Singapore) and Frankie Wilkes (Abu Dhabi) were so kind to take me to see some wonderful birds. The best birds of the year had to be Spoon Billed Sandpiper (Thailand), Pileated Woodpecker (Dallas), Scarlet Rumped Trogan (Malaysia), Stork Billed Kingfisher (Singapore) and Purple Sunbird (Abu Dhabi) as well as the cranes in China.

I have to also thank Cai Chang, Edward Li, Fred Li, Julia Li, Lool, Albert Jiang, Li Ming, Li Qian, Liu Wei, Yan Shen, Andrew Wang and Roger Xie for taking me birding in China as well as Steve Whiteley and David Salisbury for our birding jaunts in the UK. Last but by no mean least my lovely wife Suzy who allows me to enjoy the incredible hobby that birding is.

Tomorrow is the start of another year, which will begin high up in the moorlands of Derbyshire with Chris Baines from Chesterfield. Another year and a new job that will mean no more regular visits to China, I am sad to say. On the positive side I will be spending more time in Hong Kong with occasional forage into China so I will still be able to pick up some Far Eastern birds.

I mustn’t finish 2011 without thanking all who have taken the time to read this thread and to those who were kind enough to rank it. Birdforum is a terrific web site, I have learnt so much from many of the members who have identified a number of the birds I could not recognise and it only adds to the fun of bird watching.

Happy New Year to all…..

Cheers
Nick
 
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