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Green Listing 2023 - Joint Thread (1 Viewer)


laurent raty
Same as in 2021 and 2022: a joint thread for birds seen from home by foot or using non-motorised transportation only (e.g. bicycle -- no motorised public transport). See :

Feel free to report sightings, bird lists, anecdotes, or anything else related to this theme, in this thread throughout the year.

A shared Google spreadsheet is available at :
You can put your name (or alias) at the top of a column in the tab of your geographical region, and start filling it with the species you've seen; you can then also complete the joint list for your region, and for the world, if you have seen species that had not been seen by someone else before. The file can in principle be edited by anyone, but please don't alter the general formatting, and leave the edition of other people's records to their authors.
I had New Year at St Idesbald on the Belgian coast (to where I had cycled on 30 Dec), with wife and son (who drove there, I'm afraid ;)). They stayed a few days, then went back to Brussels; I then stayed two more days, then cycled back to Brussels.

1-2 Jan: merely some seawatch, the beach and nearby dunes. Highlight: Crested Lark, which is basically extinct in Belgium except in this very region. Entirely on foot. 28 species seen.
3 Jan: round trip to Nieuwpoort. Quite a few new species, but mostly common ones. Cycled: 30 km. Bird list now at 53.
4 Jan: awful weather.
5 Jan: round trip to De Blankaart, where I was joined in the field by my wife. Cycled today: 55 km; total: 85 km. Bird list at 82.
6 Jan: some cycling in the backcountry with my wife. Highlights: Cattle Egret (3; not a real rarity there anymore, though), unusually nice views of a Cetti's Warbler. Cycled today: 20 km; total: 105 km. Bird list at 83.
8 Jan: Nieuwpoort, then inland along the IJzer to De Blankaart again, and back to St Idesbald following a more westerly route. Highlights; Long-tailed Duck, Bewick's Swan (6), Cattle Egret (6). Cycled today: 90 km; total: 195 km. Bird list now at 93.
9 Jan: route back to Brussels. Started at 6:30. My main stops were in Gent, to see a Yellow-browed Warbler, then at an other site to try for Hume's and Pallas's -- but these did not cooperate. Then came the news of a Black-winged Kite ca. 20 km farther along the route to home, so I did not insist for the warblers and tried this. Unfortunately, Belgian Black-winged Kites are bastards (so far as my interactions with them are concerned, at least...), hence there was nothing to see when I reached the site a good hour later. Home around 20:30. Highlight: Yellow-browed Warbler. Cycled today: 180 km; total: 375 km. Bird list now exactly at 100.


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(First paragraph copied from the 2022 thread, so no surprises for the keen followers)

I managed some 78 species (including cat C and a heard-only Redpoll) on 1 January, all within the municipality I live in (albeit this was by virtue of not finding a Great Grey Shrike just across the district border). Amazingly, this was a better score than I ever managed in the Netherlands on 1 January.
Best finds were Woodcock, Water Rail (seen) and Hen Harrier. I could not find Redwing, which seems to be restricted to the Rhine and Ruhr valleys at the moment. I also tried quite a few localities for Kingfisher, but all in vain.

On the 7th, I headed east towards a couple of drinking water reservoirs, with five duck species picked up: best of these a (twitched) Red-breasted Merganser (local rarity). Other additions were Tree Sparrow (at a location I had checked on the 1st), Kingfisher and (heard-only) Woodlark. Another unsuccessful check for Great Grey Shrike.

Sunday's sunny weather was interrupted by rain, so I just made some local forays. I managed to add Middle Spotted Woodpecker (searched for on the 1st), a few Redwings in the first thrush flock of the year and a calling Eagle Owl. Unsuccessful checks for Grey Partridge and (yet again) Great Grey Shrike.

I heard another Redpoll today.
As I do probably 90% of my birding activities by bike I will participate in this thread this year. I will add my list during the next days, but will give a short overview of the first week of January.

After struggling with a bad cold during the holidays January 1st was the first day out birding after two weeks. A walk through the local forrest (and the small park along the way) produced 32 species, all common ones. Missed out on Bullfinch, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker and Raven. Green Woodpecker and Grey Wagtail were heard only. Getting to see birds was actually kind of hard as there were so many people taking a walk at 15°C. Even seeing a Robin took some time. Instead I saw honey bees and the first hoverflies of the year.

On the 2nd I cycled to some local lakes (former sand quarry) to check if I could handle a longer bike trip up the Rhine the next day to look for Black-throated Diver. While the 30km for the roundtrip at rather slow 20 km/h felt a bit too exhausting for my liking (and decided against cycling 100km the next day), I was rewarded with a beautiful male Smew and a male Red-crested Porchard.

On the 5th I cycled to the retention basin of the Düsseldorf airport which is the best location in Düsseldorf to look for Jack Snipe (one of my goals for 2023 is to finally see one in Düsseldorf). Even though the water level looked perfect I couldn't find a Jack Snipe (or a Snipe) but instead had 2 female Hen Harriers flying close by and landing in the dry part of the basin. On the way back I stopped at a park to check if I might get lucky and see the local fox come out in the open as he sometimes does at dusk. Of course unsuccessful but got a surprising mammal year tick with a Common Pipistrelle.

The day after I went for a walk in the forrest in the afternoon and saw a Middle-spotted Woodpecker. Also heard a Raven calling and the local Eagle Owl. I doubt that I will ever will get to see more than a flying silhouette in the dark of this one. Seems like its roost is just inside the Wildlife park (which is part of the local forrest) but too far away from the paths inside the park to actually see it. Smart animal to find the only place in the forrest that is off limits for humans and dogs.

On Sunday I went again to the local lakes which had mostly the same species than before but finally saw the first Kingfisher of the year and also saw 2 Yellow-legged and 2 Caspian Gulls.
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Of course unsuccessful but got a surprising mammal year tick with a Common Pipistrelle.
I saw a pipistrelle flying by day on 1 January. Really close: a rare treat to see a bat so well!
It will be fun to see the progress just a bit to the southwest from me (but definitely beyond my cycling radius).
Good that I still have the crane, although I'll perhaps have to cross out two other species. (I'm quite surprised by the presence of storks in Western Europe at this time of the year, and it's not apparently not limited to Belgium.)
(I'm quite surprised by the presence of storks in Western Europe at this time of the year, and it's not apparently not limited to Belgium.)

We generally regard winter birds as less good than others -- particularly those seen around historical re-introduction sites, because these are often re-introduced birds that failed to start migrating after release. But, OTOH, some released birds do migrate, and there is probably a tendency towards sedentarization in truly wild birds too. (Some birds have always wintered in far SW Europe, I think, albeit the numbers of birds that did this were originally small.) Of course, migrants, non-migrants, released, and truly wild birds, all interbreed in summer...
The main problem storks will face in winter seems to be the possibility of a snow-covered soil (which makes it difficult for them to feed) -- but this is less and less frequent here.
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13 Jan: went 40 km W, back to the Black-winged Kite, which obliged this time (so I have to apologize : this one was quite a nice little chap after all :)). Then some 10-15 km N to a site where a Ferruginous Duck is spending winter, and some 20 more km towards NW, where a funny bean goose (a wannabe Taiga) is currently lingering. Highlights: Black-winged Kite, Ferruginous Duck (and that goose). Cycled this day: 150 km; this year: 630 km. 113 spp of birds seen (not counting the wannabe Taiga BG).
14 Jan: some wandering to the E of Brussels in a rather terrible weather. Nothing really special; added Brambling. Cycled this day: 30 km; this year: 660 km. 114 spp of birds seen.
15 Jan: on foot near home; added Peregrine and Marsh Tit. 116 spp of birds seen.


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Rain all day on Saturday and strong winds on Sunday made moving about less attractive.
Still I managed to add Little Owl on Sunday. Best species of the day was a female Red-breasted Merganser on the reservoir in town. My first self-found one in Germany and a nice reward for checking this lake about 100 times a year. The Redpolls keep on being no more than black silhouettes flying over!
Laurent, I see you lost one species from last year's list: Koningseider - Dutch Birding
For those who cannot read Dutch: it was found to be a hybrid King Eider × Eider.

I cannot really believe that this is a F1 hybrid, as hybrids between these two species have been frequently reported, and the birds identified as such do not look like that at all. (In birds reported as hybrids, the scaps are grey, not black as here and in male King Eider; the bill is typically yellow or orange, not reddish with yellow processes as here and in male King Eider; the lateral facial feathering, between the bill processes and the gape, extends farther forward than that along the culmen, not the opposite as here and in King Eider.) I don't understand the claim that this bird did not have yellow legs -- of course, it did.
One potential weakness in the conclusion, if I understand Ken Kraaijeveld's explanations on the DB page correctly, may be that the reference material was limited to Lavretsky et al's data, which were 100% derived from North American birds (for King Eider : 10 birds from Banks Island, NWT, 9 birds from Prudhoe Bay, AK; nothing from the Atlantic). This may be representative of what happens elsewhere... Or not.
I'm a bit surprised by the suggestion that there are diagnostic SNVs in the mtDNA of the two species -- BOLD data suggests introgression does occur, at least from King into Common (3 out of 27 in their mollissima samples yielded spectabilis-like haplotypes). This would prevent diagnosing a bird (or its mother) as a definite King Eider based on mtDNA.
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An evening walk over sometimes icy, sometimes even snowy roads in calm weather yielded (heard-only) Tawny Owl for the yearlist. The two birds I heard stopped calling when I came into (their) view...
Birding has been slow the last weeks. Still don't feel like doing 100+ km bike trips, so my birding was confined to Düsseldorf. Managed to finally see some easy birds like bullfinch. Also heard my first tawny owls of the year yesterday. Highlights of the week were watching and hearing a male Goldeneye's courtship display (looks like the first day of sunshine promoted this even though it's way too early and they are not breeding anywhere near) and finally getting to see the local Eagle Owl. It sat for 15 Minutes in a tree top 15 meters in front of me.
Completely forgot to mention the two Black Swans yesterday (no I won't count those).
Of course my target was Common Gull which is still eluding me!
At least the weekend looks calm and dry.

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