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Green Listing 2023 - Joint Thread (1 Viewer)

This long weekend I added Wood Warbler, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff and Common Sandpiper to my (green) yearlist. I thought I had just beaten the rain when I got home, but although I could see the clouds they never reached me!
After getting Lesser Whitethroat a day too late, I finally got Wood Warbler on the same day as Xenospiza. Apart from that, I added Common Grasshopper Warbler today, and also had close and extended views of a Eurasian Wryneck (on the list already) flying around right above me, perching a few metres away, singing and calling. Hopefully, I can add a (flyover?) Tawny Pipit to that (from today as well), which was ID'ed by Merlin but is waiting for confirmation in the ID section just in case.

Given that it's May already, I was wondering what happened to @David_ (after the illness and broken bike) and @l_raty.
and @l_raty.

I'm getting lazy, indeed, sorry. ;)

On 6 Apr, I moved to the coast. Weather was rather poor, and the only new birds I saw along the way were the three common species of Hirundinidae. (Cycled this day : 170 km.) Was joined there by my wife on the next day, who stayed until the 10th. During the couple of days that followed, the weather didn't improve much and we stayed in the area surrouding the place. Added Sandwich Tern, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Spoonbill, and a flyby Purple Heron (seen while trying without success to connect with an Alpine Swift that had been seen a couple of km NE of us). On 12 Apr, I cycled to the Diksmuide area (De Blankaart), then to Nieuwpoort following the IJzer, and back to Koksijde: many Sedge and a couple of Reed Warblers, Black-necked Grebe (finally...), Black-winged Stilts (there are many of them this year), Garganey, a singing Savi's Warbler, Bluethroat, Wheatear. (Cycled this day : 75 km.) On 13 Apr, I cycled back to Brussels via Nieuwpoort and Oostende, adding Yellow Wagtail and Lesser Whitethroat along the road. (Cycled this day : 170 km.)

On 27 Apr, I moved to the coast again, with Cuckoo and Nightingale along the way. (Cycled this day : 170 km.) (I was joined there by my wife and son on the next day.) On 29 Apr, a bit of seawatch in the morning produced Red-breasted Merganser (which I had managed to miss so far, despite having looked for it), Common Tern and Whimbrel; in the afternoon, I cycled to the Diksmuide area again, where two Whiskered Terns had been found : added Whiskered Tern, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Hobby; also a singing Garden Warbler along the route. (Cycled this day: 60 km.) On 30 Apr, watching birds flying along the coast from the nearby dunes added Tree Pipit and Common Swift (and I also saw a second Purple Heron). On 1 May, from same the dunes again, the bird of the day was a Caspian Tern flying north over sea; a passing-by Turtle Dove was new as well; in the afternoon, I cycled to Nieuwpoort, where I added Whinchat; also a flavissima Yellow Wagtail in this area. (Cycled this day: 30 km.)

(Cycled this year: 3935 km. Bird species (cat A): 199.)
Still haven’t managed any “green“ birding since my last post even though I am healthy and the bike is working fine. Have a new job which is quite nice and actually increased my time spent birding as a few quite good local spots are easily reachable after work. But as I use public transport to commute the my after work sightings doesn’t count for this thread.
I have spent the weekends away from home and used public transportation for this as well (but saw a few good birds)
Yesterday my local patch was exceedingly boring, but today I found a very early Icterine Warbler and my earliest ever local Red-backed Shrike (apparently, there even were two present). I am bad at keeping up the world list, but these seem to be additions.
A nice evening with a very late first Cuckoo (two weeks after the expected date... I had heard my first two elsewhere this weekend), followed by a few Grey-headed Wagtails on my local patch (which has seen very few wagtails this year).
The highlight was a Nightjar on my traditional spot, where it showed really well as usual (except two years ago, when I missed it completely).
Because I don't want people to go in and observe nightjars in the traditional way (blasting unnecessary playback), I always obscure the location.
At just over 20 °C this was the warmest day of the year thusfar. I cycled along the Lippe River after work and when entering some Black-headed Gulls into ornitho.de I heard a familiar call. At first I blamed the Jackdaws, but then I saw I wasn't mistaken: a flock of seven Bee-eaters appeared to circle over the next field. However, they didn't hang around and I could not find them back after they had disappeared.
Cycling back to my local patch I found a Reed Warbler, with a Hobby over my local patch a very late addition to the year list (I had seen one on 30 April when twitching a Bearded Vulture in the Netherlands). A Common Snipe displaying for at least 30 minutes was great as well: I have only rarely heard this.Bijeneter-230504.jpg
All bird movement seemed to have died down by the weekend, but I did add Golden Oriole and Marsh Warbler on Sunday.
On Saturday, in between scanning in vain for Honey Buzzards, I found a Black Stork, which sadly wasn't an addition to the yearlist but showed phenomenally well.

I decided against cycling greater distances as the weather forecast was grim, but of course all thunderstorms kept their distance from where I live for the third time in a week!
A nice displaying Honey Buzzard when I cycled home from work was yet another addition to the green list.
Grasshopper Warbler (which seems to get harder every year) is basically the only local summer bird left.
The only "unmissable birds" remaining are Spoonbill, Redshank, and Common Tern: a trip to the Bislicher Insel should suffice... anything else would need some work or luck.
Luckily, I live near some quite extensive damp grassland, so there are at least 4 Grasshopper Warblers holding territory. There's also a decent selection of rails singing at night (from what I see on the local eBird hotspot's page), which I am yet to discover.

I managed to add Great Reed Warbler and Thrush Nightingale yesterday. I was quite surprised you don't get GRWs in the West that much. Here they inhabit reedbeds bordering medium to large bodies of water, and when you find one, you get another half a dozen free. Below is my recording of one from last year, although, to me, they're not quite musical.

After hearing some 20 singing Common Nightingales yesterday, I finally managed to find a Thrush Nightingale. I suspect that Thrush Nightingales are outnumbered by Common Nightingales some 25:1 where I live (a similar dynamic to last year), even though eBird's data shows them to be slightly more abundant than Common Nightingales in the general Warsaw area. I subscribe to the idea that (as it's written in eBird) they must indeed have different habitat preferences--CNs prefer bushes and shrubs and TNs favour lower (?) trees. Here's a recording of a TN's song from this year, and one from last year (presumed mixed singing: 0:50-0:51 and 1:04-1:05; background CN: 1:21-1:23). The songs seem to get more varied later in the season, or maybe it's down to individual differences? There are still a few Eastern European species that I think are gettable with some effort, but I don't want to spoil them here just yet.


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I managed to add Great Reed Warbler and Thrush Nightingale yesterday. I was quite surprised you don't get GRWs in the West that much. Here they inhabit reedbeds bordering medium to large bodies of water, and when you find one, you get another half a dozen free.
Great Reed Warbler was always uncommon and now is almost extinct in the Netherlands... The water levels are managed in a farmer-friendly way, which is not good for Great Reed Warbler. In this part of Germany, any reed is rare. The nice reedbed on my local patch was turned into a boring water buffalo field, overgrown with Juncus effusus. The idea was to attract meadow birds but that failed as well...
CNs prefer bushes and shrubs and TNs favour lower (?) trees.
The single Thrush Nightingale I found locally (rarity, woohoo!) had been attracted by the large amount of Common Nightingales. Indeed, it chose the driest available spot. I was quite pleased with myself that I picked up this odd-singing Nightingale, as I always find it hard when listening to recordings.
Glad for your find. After some consideration, I still find myself at a loss with regard to the habitat differences (save for the fact that they exist). For the record, I'll now quote eBird:
Common Nightingale: found in varied wooded and scrubby habitats, typically with shady understory.
Makes sense for Common Nightingale.
Thrush Nightingale: breeds in thick, damp, deciduous forest as well as well-wooded parks and gardens.
For Thrush Nightingale, I think we've both observed it within habitat similar to well-wooded parks and gardens. I think thick, damp, deciduous forest (quite different to the above) may be more important for TN in parts of eastern Poland and then further east. However, I have no experience with such habitat there.
Eek. Got woefully behind on updating the spreadsheets and here.

My local bird club runs a green challenge in April, and I ended the month on 60 species. Given that my annual total at that point was 62, you can tell just how quiet Jan-Mar are here! Highlights were the Vesper Sparrow I've already mentioned, and a palm warbler passing through my garden which was a first. I've seen them locally every year, but always nice to add one to the garden list.

May as ever has brought many more arrivals, and I'm now on 83 for the year, almost all of which were new for the group list (I think Barn swallow was the only one that had already been seen). 13 of the ~20 regular warbler species are now around, along with the thrushes and the first of the flycatcher sp. too.
I co-led a walk for the local club on Friday, and added 15 to my list on that outing, though sadly missed the American Woodcock I'd seen in the same spot earlier in the week (having driven). Very nice to meet some new birders and share love of a local spot - and practice my french bird names.
Photos - Blue Headed Vireo, one of my favourites, first of the 3 or 4 vireo species I usually see in a year.
Broad-winged hawk, definitely nesting nearby given the regular cries from around the house.


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I'm getting awfully behind on updating things here too...
Before I reach a point where retrieving the exact sequence of events becomes difficult, here are May and the first two weeks of June :

On 1 May,
(Cycled this year: 3935 km. Bird species (cat A): 199.)

3 May: De Blankaart in hope of a White-tailed Eagle, without success. But I did add Icterine and Grasshopper Warblers. (Cycled 70 km.)
4 May: the weather forecast looked promising (see also Xenospiza’s post #128 above), hence I started early and cycled E along the coast to Fonteintjes, between Blankenberge and Zeebrugge – one of the best spots on the Belgian coast for visible migration. I spent most of the day there, before returning to Koksijde along a slightly more inland route. Birds flying past Fonteintjes included Gull-billed Tern, Red-rumped Swallow (I only saw one, but a total of three were seen this day), Pallid and Montagu’s Harriers (one of each), Ospreys, Merlins, and a Golden Oriole. Also new for the year, and added along the way, were : a male Redstart, a singing Zitting Cisticola, and a flushed Long-eared Owl. (Cycled 105 km.)
5 May: a nice male Common Eider on the sea in front of Koksijde was new. (No cycling)
6 May: De Blankaart again, where I finally connected with White-tailed Eagle. Also new: Marsh Warbler. (Cycled 70 km.)
8 May: a half day in the Westhoek (the westernmost dune area in Belgium); nothing new. (Cycled 10 km.)
10 May: cycled to Heist (next to Zeebrugge), where a 2nd cy male ‘subalpine warbler’ had been present for a couple of days – with a couple of stops, i.a. for waders. The warbler was quite a shy bird which, despite sticking to a reasonably small patch of sea buckthorns, proved hard to see. This bird may well have to remain unidentified, unfortunately – Western seems the most likely ID, but excluding Moltoni’s is problematic. Although “tek” calls were heard by birders on this site, no one actually saw the bird call, and one of the Common Whitethroats which were also present may conceivably have produced these calls too. Having finally managed some reasonable views, I continued a bit further E to the Zwin (last site before the Dutch border), for terns and waders, before returning to Koksijde. In addition to the subalp warbler, Little Tern, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint and Temminck’s Stint were new on this day. (Cycled 140 km.)
12-13 May: way back to Brussels. I departed in the early evening, as I wanted to be in Gent during the night to hear the Baillon’s Crake which had been found there. Had to fix a flat tyre in the dark at the crake spot, which made me stay there a bit more than I originally intended... This done, I continued eastwards from Gent with a couple of additional stops to listen to singing/calling birds – also adding Great Reed Warbler and Little Bittern (but failing to hear Spotted Crake). Finally ended up home around 8:00. Slept a couple of hours, then went to see a Hoopoe which had been staying relatively close to my home for the two previous days. (Cycled 180 km.)

19(-20) May: a tour in eastern Vlaams Brabant and westernmost Limburg, a good part of it during the night, returning home around 3:00. Singing Corn Crake and Spotted Crake. (Cycled 150 km.)

21-23 May: I was hesitating between giving a try at a singing Iberian Chiffchaff in the Province of Liège (far-eastern Belgium), or at a singing Cirl Bunting in the Province of Namur (due S of Brussels); then a Squacco Heron was found in Schulen in Limburg, so I started with this. From Schulen, I continued SE to Liège, then along the Vesdre to Verviers, and up the Fenns, where I was in the early next morning. Having seen the Chiffchaff, I then retraced my steps down to Liège and turned left along the Meuse, which I followed all the way through Namur and Dinant, almost to the French border, before turning west again to finally reach the Cirl Buting spot. Unfortunately, I only arrived in the early evening, and the bird did not sing at this time of the day – which forced me to stay around for the night. I saw the bunting early in the morning, then cycled back E to the Meuse, and N to Namur and Brussels. Added: Squacco Heron, Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike, Iberian Chiffy, Wood Warbler, Honey Buzzard, Hawfinch, Melodious Warbler, Cirl Bunting. (Total distance cycled: 485 km (in 47 hrs).)

25 May: cycled to the coast again, where I was joined for a few days by my wife. Added Little Gull, at sea, in the evening. (Cycled 170 km.)
26 May: Nieuwpoort area. Nothing new. (Cycled 25 km.)
27 May: Veurne area. Nothing new. (Cycled 20 km.)
30 May: way back to Brussels. Nothing new. (Cycled 170 km.)

4(-5) June: Kalmthout (on the Dutch border, NE of Antwerpen), where a Red-footed Falcon had been visible for some time. I started late in the day, planning to stay in the area untill nightfall for Nightjars, which are easy there – this proved to be a bad idea, though : the falcon was seen for the last time less than an hour before I reached the site... (It has not been seen again since.) Nightjar only, thus. Back home around 2:00. (Cycled 150 km.)

13 June: went N, to a site a few km E of Antwerpen, where a pair of Bee-eaters is currently residing. On the way back, I wandered a bit in agricultural landscapes, adding Quail which I had managed to miss so far. Fairly close to home, I also ran into an unexpected female Ferruginous Duck (which did not let me see her legs, though); not a new species, but this one was a self-found. (Cycled 120 km.)

(Cycled this year: 5800 km. Bird species (cat A) : 237 – not counting the Subalpine Warbler.)


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