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How's your 2019 gone? (1 Viewer)

wolfbirder

Well-known member
I've had a pretty good year to be honest, and its not finished quite yet.

5 British lifers in the putative Paddyfield Pipit (awaiting DNA), plus Black-Headed Bunting, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, and Eastern Yellow Wagtail. Apart from the pipit seen all abroad though. A real eastern flavour!

But my undoubted highlight was the Common Nighthawk in Ballymena, which goes onto my British and Irish list. Never seen one of these before.

Other good birds but not UK lifers seen this year include a superb Red-Eyed Vireo, Arctic Warbler, Purple Heron, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Dotterel (x14), Red-Spotted Bluethroat, White-Winged Black Tern in summer plumage, 3 Spoonbills in breeding plumage at close range, and 7 summer-plumage Spotted Redshanks.

Only trip abroad was to a frozen Lake Kerkini in Greece in January where enjoyed great views of Dalmation Pelicans, and connected with a Greater Spotted Eagle and a Grey-Headed Woodpecker, both species I had only seen poorly before.

Only disappointments were dipping on a Bobolink in Lincolnshire, and a Lesser Kestrel in East Yorkshire, the Common Kestrel we were all watching was very educational though :)-.

2020 will take quite a lot to beat it.
 

stuartvine

Well-known member
Nothing new in the UK this year but a good trip to Borneo (officially non-birding, but still a whole bunch of new birds) and a great one to Singapore, so not complaining. Highlights included Rhinoceros Hornbill, Storm's Stork and a mid-air duel between a White-bellied Sea Eagle and a Brahminy Kite.
 

WACCOE

Marching on Together
No lifers but two British ticks and five Yorkshire ticks so been a good year so far.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Only two lifers this year (Southern Red-backed Vole and Sedge Wren), although I am still in that "new state mode", so I think I racked up a decent number of state birds. Nothing to rare though. Birding wise I could have gone out a lot more, but given all the stuff that has happened in my personal life, I should be thankful I was able to go out when I could.
 

Steve Arlow

Well-known member
United Kingdom
The spectacle in Israel late April and into early May of the Levant Sparrowhawk and Honey Buzzard migrations, tens of thousands of both. The high numbers of Collared Flycatchers and Broad-billed Sandpipers in that country at the same time made for one of hell of a birding experience.

From a UK perspective no lifers but timed it just right for my annual visit to Fair Isle in October and being there for the best of the autumn birding with five new birds added to my island list. Those 3 weeks in Shetland alone gave me my year list target when I thought I would end up woefully short. Those few short weeks resulted in Semipalmated Sandpiper, Siberian and Stejnegers Stonechats, Short-toed Lark, 5 Red-flanked Bluetails, Pechora, Red-throated, Olive-backed and Richards Pipits, Brown Shrike, Lanceolated Warbler, Raddes and Pallas's Warblers, Black-winged Stilt, Waxwings, Hawfinch and Pectoral Sandpiper plus an amazing fall of thrushes that just carpeted the island; UK birding at its best.
 
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Steve Lister

Senior Birder, ex County Recorder, Garden Moths.
United Kingdom
Some good trips that produced a fair few world lifers - Cape Verde and southern Ecuador stand out.

No UK lifers at all, and a very low year list unless I get my finger out in the next six weeks (unlikely)

No county lifers either, and one of my lowest county year lists ever, currently 173 out of 205 species recorded.

Too much time spent watching from my garden - year list of 74 though, which accounts for the above I suppose.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Just one lifer for me, but there's still nearly a month and a half to go yet . . .
 

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hookem2010

Well-known member
32 lifers this year thus far, all ABA area.
Texas highlights for the year were definitely tracking down golden-cheeked warbler (only bird to breed exclusively in Texas), black-capped vireo and zone-tailed hawk on two separate trips to the Texas hill country.
Swainsons and prothonotary warblers were lifers and probably my best Tarrant county birds for the year, prior to relocating to a neighboring county.
I found a number of lifers on non-birding trips out of state, including 4 new woodpeckers. A black-backed woodpecker in California and an American-three toed woodpecker in Colorado were probably my favorite non-Texas birds this year.
Not expecting many fireworks to close out the year other than adding some winter birds to my new resident county list.
 

Julie50

Mostly in the Midlands :)
Supporter
United Kingdom
I have not been birding long so I had a few life ticks this year. But my favourite sightings so far have been the barn owls at Upton Warren :)
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
A good year for me, with bird and mammal lifers in Morocco/Western Sahara at the start and three British ticks (Paddyfield Pipit and two lifers in the shapes of Brown Booby and Eastern Yellow Wagtail) in the Autumn. I still have an appointment outstanding with a certain duck way up North....

Not a tick but getting the full-on Orca experience instead of the previous distant views on Shetland was a highlight: Dark Crimson Underwing moth-trapped in the back garden was definitely another!

No complaints from me, for sure.

John
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
A little too early to say........ Hopefully. But pleased with the year with two trips abroad - Israel in February and Uganda in March.

Slightly over 500 bird species in total so far but highlight was my only patch tick - Otter - and my world highlight was from Uganda - Leopard.

Two British ticks being the Shetland Tengmalm's Owl and the Cornish Brown Boobies - neither was a WP or World Tick. A potential third but it seems unlikely in the possible Paddyfield Pipit.

My four WP ticks from Israel (Sinai Rosefinch, Crested Honey Buzzard, African Swamphen & Vinous-breasted Starling) took me to 783 on an IOC WP list so I may try and pull my finger out in 2020 to get to 800. However, of about 300 species in Uganda, about 200 were new so maybe finally a bit more travel further afield is needed!

All the best

Paul
 

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Mike C

Emeritus President at Burnage Rugby Club
Got off to a good start when I bulked up my New Zealand list in January, couple of hours one morning on the sea at Kaikoura (Albatross Encounters) really paid dividends in petrels and albatross sp. with the pleasant surprise of a pod of Hector's Dolphin and Dusky Dolphin on the run back to the harbour. Whale Watch in the same town netted me Sperm Whale and Blue Whale both very close to the boat.

Some great birds along the way especially from a long weekend on Scilly in August (Wilson's Petrel on each trip - missed the Fea's though)

October - three weeks on Scilly. An inspired choice, without doubt the best Scilly season for some years.

Year list - didn't take it seriously this year and hovering just below 250.
Sadly, so far, no UK ticks.
 

temmie

Well-known member
The obvious highlight worldwide is the bird in my avatar: a splendid male Western Tragopan in April 2019.

The highlight in terms of Belgian birding was obviously a Pallas's Grashopper Warbler (a lifer nonetheless).

Last but not least: seeing 230.000 Common Cranes coming in for the night at Lac Du Der, was probably the most spectactular amount of birds I have ever seen!
 

Andrea Collins

Beside the Duddon, Cumbria
Supporter
England
Mine has gone really well. I haven't seen a single new species or visited a single new location.

I have however visited a number of tried and tested locations around the British Isles that I have been to many times before, and spent a lot of quality time observing the species and families I enjoy studying most, as well as increasing the amount of time I spend observing my local patch.
 

Owene

Well-known member
Hopefully it's not finished yet, got one more day in Norfolk planned and maybe something else will turn up.

But a very good year, I've only really been birding for a few years so the ticks still come thick and fast, 28 UK ticks so far this year and I was pleased that a few of the regular but rare birds that I've seen in books all my life were amongst them, Wryneck being one that I've always wanted to see (and indeed dipped a few times in the last few years)

The White Winged Black Tern at slimbridge was probably my favourite, i love terns generally and it really performed in the air at close range for the whole time, barely needed bins and didn't touch my scope or camera. just captivating

nice to make first visits to a few landmark birding locations as well, Portland, Arne, Frampton and Cley for the first time this year.

Also did my first real birding outside the UK with a visit to Lanzarote bringing Houbara, Cream coloured coursers and, another one of those book birds, hoopoe.

Away from birds had a few butterfly and bat ticks as well as badger and rissos dolphin but the highlight was an 8 hour dolphin survey and well over a thousand common dolphin.

The only real downside was last minute cancellation of a penzance pelagic (for totally understandable and sensible weather reasons) but hopefully next year I'll go see some shearwaters somehow.

Feels like a very good year, I know the ticks will prove harder and harder to come by but have a trip to the cairngorms booked for next year already so hopefully a few more then
 

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
Kept close to home this year, with just a couple of short family hols within the western pal. Still managed 7 long-awaited lifers, including one in the UK in the shape of the Frampton Black-winged Pratincole. Mallorca got me Balearic Warbler and some nice support. Madeira got me Trocaz Pigeon, Madeiran Firecrest, fabulous views of Desertas and Bulwer's Petrels, and a single Madeiran Storm Petrel, as ell as some cracking pelagic support, though I had no luck with the hoped for Zino's or Barolo.

Back in Bristol I've got hugely into my (rubbish by most people's standards) local patch, so 3 patch ticks in the shape of Red Kite, Ring-necked Parakeet and Brambling, with additional excitement provided by the likes of Firecrest, Woodcock, Water Rail, Whinchat, Wheatear, Redpoll, and Spotted Flycatcher have kept me going.

Non avian patch highlights have been a Variable Damselfly (probably my find of the year), and possibly finding a 2nd White-letter Hairstreak colony. Further afield I couldn't help twitching my first UK Long-tailed Blues, even though Madeira was thick with them.

So all in all a pretty modest haul really. But living in hope for a patch mega by the end of the year, perhaps even a Rook or something equally awesome.
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
I started the year without any overseas trips planned, but hoping to get out birding more often and achieve a better work - life balance. Needless to say, things didn't work out quite as planned.
The year started with a bit of a nasty shock - my best friend died suddenly in January, found out on the first day of a ski trip with my son...had a couple of days back home, then drove to Brussels to help his brother and another friend sort his things out, attend the funeral and bring his stuff back.
This made me re-evaluate my own life (I'm 18 months older than my friend...) so in March I decided to take myself off to Colombia on a solo birding trip, primarily to tick off an Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek, which was pretty high up on my bucket list. Hand-feeding worms to a Chestnut-naped Antpitta actually edged out the superb C-o-t-R experience, while Oilbirds, lots of hummers and Blue-billed Curassow were none too shabby additions to my life list, which included 17 new families.
I'm afraid once I was back the work-life balance and getting out birding more often aims fell by the wayside...so my UK / Europe year list is not too impressive for 2019, evidenced by the fact I only saw my first goldcrest today, and that was on a work visit...such highlights as there were included watching a turtle dove displaying from a pub garden in North Yorkshire; getting my closest ever views of great skua from a pelagic in Portugal, accompanied by 16 storm petrels; and seeing my first Western Subalpine warbler (again in Portugal).
So, if you get a chance to do something you've always wanted to do - just go for it; but make time for your good friends and family.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Some fantastic stories here, really enjoyed reading them.
Lets hope what's left of the year produces a few better things yet!
 

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