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How's your 2019 gone? (1 Viewer)

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
You do initiate some very enjoyable threads, Wolfbirder, Fair play to you!

Hear hear :t:

Just realised I neglected to mention one of this year's biggest highlights. Sharing my patch for most of the year with what could well be an Italian Sparrow. And it's probably still here.
 
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pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Fun thread to read through!

I had a slow start to the year but did finally connect with Saffron-cowled Blackbird which was really nice after having dipped it so many times.

In April a long week of wine, food, hiking, and birding with my partner in Salta, which added a couple dozen new birds and a good number of Argentina ticks.

Home for a week and we were back off to Bahia, Brazil, for a long week of beach lazing, which I followed with three weeks solo birding around Bahia and Espirito Santo. I really loved Bahia, it makes for a fantastic trip. I did really well overall, only dipping Boa Nova Tapaculo (didn't expect to see it, but I tried), and Cherry-throated Tanager (that one hurt to dip after 2.5 days effort!). I managed something like 140 lifers. Probably the last time I can get 100+ lifers in one month in S America!

The other real highlight of the year after Bahia was almost two months in Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, Sabah, Bali, Java, and Lombok. It was my first time birding in that part of the world so I saw a stupid number of new birds, and had some marvelous mammalian and herp highlights as well. Crossed paths with some friends along the way, and made some new friends as well. A surreal experience as well, in that, with no planning, I ended up crossing paths with two different friends in Borneo and we managed to bird together a bit and have beers one evening. What are the odds of a Swede who lives in Lima, a South African who lives in Taiwan, and a gringo who lives in Argentina all being on Mt Kinabalu on the same day?

All in all a lovely year. I think I had over 500 lifers, added about 60 birds for Argentina, and a whopping 1 to my Buenos Aires list... I could probably get out to the local spots more, there have been at least 10 or so possible ticks reported over the year that I know of and I've not gone after any of them.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Fun thread to read through!

I had a slow start to the year but did finally connect with Saffron-cowled Blackbird which was really nice after having dipped it so many times.

In April a long week of wine, food, hiking, and birding with my partner in Salta, which added a couple dozen new birds and a good number of Argentina ticks.

Home for a week and we were back off to Bahia, Brazil, for a long week of beach lazing, which I followed with three weeks solo birding around Bahia and Espirito Santo. I really loved Bahia, it makes for a fantastic trip. I did really well overall, only dipping Boa Nova Tapaculo (didn't expect to see it, but I tried), and Cherry-throated Tanager (that one hurt to dip after 2.5 days effort!). I managed something like 140 lifers. Probably the last time I can get 100+ lifers in one month in S America!

The other real highlight of the year after Bahia was almost two months in Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, Sabah, Bali, Java, and Lombok. It was my first time birding in that part of the world so I saw a stupid number of new birds, and had some marvelous mammalian and herp highlights as well. Crossed paths with some friends along the way, and made some new friends as well. A surreal experience as well, in that, with no planning, I ended up crossing paths with two different friends in Borneo and we managed to bird together a bit and have beers one evening. What are the odds of a Swede who lives in Lima, a South African who lives in Taiwan, and a gringo who lives in Argentina all being on Mt Kinabalu on the same day?

All in all a lovely year. I think I had over 500 lifers, added about 60 birds for Argentina, and a whopping 1 to my Buenos Aires list... I could probably get out to the local spots more, there have been at least 10 or so possible ticks reported over the year that I know of and I've not gone after any of them.

Great news but could you possibly detail some of the highlights from the Asian trip, perhaps including some of the non-avian stuff, please?

Cheers

John
 

foresttwitcher

Virtually unknown member
United Kingdom
Almost zero casual birding this year due to work & domestic issues. Although I have had to start walking my elderly mother's dog twice a day and it has been interesting observing the changes in the local 'common' species over the past 6 months doing a regular circuit.

Only one twitch this year - in fact the first since August last year - for a bit of a tart's lifer in the Little Auk at Abberton Reservoir last weekend.

But I have managed to hasten the demise of the human race / planet with a bit of birding abroad:
- a long weekend dash to Varangerfjord in March for Steller's Eider, which I had missed on last years longer spring visit;
- a day trip to Paris at the end of May for a concert added a couple of city species to my French list;
- a week in the Cadiz / Seville area in June got me 3 out of 4 targets (out of 122 species) with the fourth heard only;
- another long weekend dash to Bangkok (for another gig) was a great experience and got me 22 lifers in a couple of city parks and at the coastal mangroves.

A good year, no complaints really.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Great news but could you possibly detail some of the highlights from the Asian trip, perhaps including some of the non-avian stuff, please?

Cheers

John

I put a synopsis of the trip with some logistical details in this thread here:
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=379807

However, as far as highlights go, for locations I would say:

In peninsular Malaysia, Taman Negara NP, the main entrance, is lovely, has a good logistical setup, good food, varied lodging options, and you easily and quickly get into good jungle. I really enjoyed it.

For Borneo:
Paya Maga (Sarawak) was fantastic, gorgeous forest, quiet solitude, great birds, my kind of destination!

Mt Kinabalu is similar to Taman Negara NP in terms of having easy access to good forest, varied lodging and dining options, and great birding. Loved it as well.

I didn't care for Sepilok terribly, though we had a very successful night walk in the Rainforest Discovery Center (Flying Squirrels, a nice pit viper, Palm Civet, Slow Loris, Reddish Scops-Owl, Mouse Deer, roosting Kingfishers, etc).

I really enjoyed Kinabatangan River and Gomantong Cave for the wildlife and the "river safari" experience, even if the forest patches are not terribly huge. Several nice Orangutan sightings, Proboscis Monkeys, stacks of Hornbills and raptors, very enjoyable.

Danum Valley (via the DVFC) was my favorite destination by far. Amazing birding, good night drives, amazing setting, and the dorm and dining hall experience aren't nearly as harrowing as people make them out to be, we enjoyed tremendously.

Moving on to Bali:
Menjangan Resort was really nice, very quiet, free of litter and scooters and cigarette smoke/butts everywhere. Birding was nice as well, it ended up being our favorite part of the island.

The rest of Bali and the Gili Islands were enjoyable but didn't enchant - non stop traffic, scooters and cigarettes and garbage everywhere. The beaches on the Gili islands were pretty but not great swimming beaches, and the water at the nice beaches in Bali is generally pretty polluted.

Mt Ijen on East Java was a really lovely surprise - great birding, great forest, and a nice community with good food and lodging to stay in. A new set of hides/feeding stations and the guys that run them add to the deal as they make some hard birds easier and help with the transport and logistics for quite low prices. More info in the above link.

I would say the overall highlights, for me as a birder/naturalist, were Taman Negara, Paya Maga, Kinabalu, Danum Valley, and Mt Ijen. Along the way there are other sites you visit of course, but those were my favorites.

I would also say, and this is widely known of course, that Borneo is pretty special as a wildlife destination. I've never seen so many mammals on night walks/drives in South America as we routinely saw in Borneo. It might not be Africa, but seeing 3-5 species of mammals, a couple birds, and a few herps each time you go out for 2 hours is way better than I typically do in South America...
 

Paul Longland

Well-known member
Been a bit of an up and down year for me. Had a truly great week in the Camargue region in may, racking up a colossal 34 lifers on the trip (first real birding trip outside the UK). Highlights including a singing male Rock thrush, flocks of Vultures, and all three marsh terns in full summer plumage in the same view not to mention the sight of all the Flamingos. A truly memorable trip.
Back in the UK however, it has been a different story. Not only have my trips out been seriously curtailed this year due work and other commitments, meaning that almost every time something interesting turned up at a weekend, I was not able to get out, and when I did it seemed to result in a series of dips starting with a dusky warbler and then Lesser Scaup in January, through to the Little Bustard in Yorkshire. At least I stumbled upon a White Rumped Sandpiper while on a family holiday in Cornwall during October (although red eyed vireo/booted warbler both disappeared before I could get to them and the Pipit turned up after I had left and was back at work), and Rough legged buzzard last weekend whilst on a property hunting trip in Norfolk. Seemed to have had more luck when not actually birding this year as far as UK is concerned. Doesn't look like the only chance I will have to get again this year will be the few days between xmas and new year (and even that's not certain as I may have to work/be on call over xmas) so I sincerely hope something extra mega turns up at Rutland Water or somewhere close enough y to actually get to.
 

ovenbird43

Well-known member
Bird-wise it's been a pretty epic year for me. Starting with local highlights, fall migration was amazing, with a tropical storm offshore just as birds were trying to depart across the Gulf, turning them around and resulting in fallout conditions. Normally the Mississippi coast is pretty terrible for songbird migration, birds either overly the region or stop over to the east or west, but we had a solid week of great fall migration. I added a few species to my state list, like Philadelphia Vireo, Veery, and Alder Flycatcher, plus tons of warblers that were new for my coastal counties lists. It's also been a good fall for vagrant flycatchers from the west, including a long-staying male Vermilion Flycatcher. Most amazing was the day a few friends and I were leading a bird walk along the beach by the Silver Slipper Casino, when a Sabine's Gull casually flew by, and we all lost our minds. Quite a rarity anywhere in the state and especially so on the coast.

I've also had a couple of great trips away from home. First was a trip to Alaska in June, finally making my way north instead of south, which included birding in Barrow, Nome, and around Anchorage. Netted all 4 eiders in Barrow, saw Snow Buntings in breeding plumage, enjoyed the breeding displays of so many shorebirds. Nome brought most of the expected specialties as well, including Bristle-thighed Curlew and Bluethroat.

Next trip was a brief excursion to California to join some of Debi Shearwater's last pelagic trips. Storm-petrels were a surprising dip but I added a few shearwater species to my life list, and enjoyed almost-arm's-length views of Blue Whales and Fin Whales.

The next and final big trip of the year was nearly 3 weeks in Panama in conjunction with a conference, which included a 6-day backcountry trip into the Darien Gap. Too many great species to list but the included both Harpy and Crested Eagles, Black-crowned Antpitta, and most of the Pirre endemics.
 

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wolfbirder

Well-known member
You do initiate some very enjoyable threads, Wolfbirder, Fair play to you!


Hey thank you very much Britseye, very kind of you to say (and Larry to confirm).

I think there are a few who I get the distinct feeling don't like me much on here :-C, don't know why really, anyone who knows me knows I'm such an inoffensive and easy-going chap.

I'm no expert but just love talking birds. :t:
 

foresttwitcher

Virtually unknown member
United Kingdom
Don't take it personally, Nick, there are some on here that don't like anybody except themselves - and even that would be a stretch for some.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Cheers both, I'm not too bothered about them, they are usually ones who just like to make you look small in birding knowledge terms.

90% of people on here are absolutely sound .
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
Pretty decent so far; my year list shows personal record numbers in all tetrapod categories (birds ~269, mammals ~32, reptiles 9, amphibians 10) and possibly all other categories. Not as spectacular as some other peoples' year lists, but then again I didn't really get to twitch and didn't travel outside of Europe. Missed out on a few common or locally "easy" species, though (e.g. Little Tern, River Warbler, Common Rosefinch, Slow-worm, Sand Lizard).

31 bird lifers and ~4 mammal lifers in total and there's the theoretical possibility of getting a few more. Not the most lifers in a year in any category except reptiles and possibly invertebrates, but still decent.

Oddly enough, my 6 lifers from the order Charadriiformes are all from different families...
 

Euan Buchan

The Edinburgh Birdwatcher
Supporter
Scotland
Last month was pretty good seeing a Kingfisher at The Botanic Gardens and seeing Waxwings twice, Alamo seeing my first Egyptian Geese this week was pretty special.
 

Sharpbill

Well-known member
2019 was not too bad at all. Overseas I enjoyed a superb trip to Cuba seeing all the endemics except Zapata Rail (probably extinct) and Cuban Kite (no time to visit the right areas). I also achieved a bucket list ambition to see the smallest bird in the world. Bee Hummingbirds were stunningly good lookers and this is an excuse to attach a couple of images

Later a road trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway through the Appalachians (supposedly non-birding) provided many good birds but only one world bird in the shape of Brown-headed Nuthatch.

British ticks were thin on the ground, an Eastern Yellow Wagtail on Anglesey and a backdated Falcated Duck from way back when. The much desired Owl and Booby were logistically not possible, which was disappointing. The Fraisthorpe Kestrel tick dematerialised, whilst the star bird, Common Nighthawk, just wasn't British.

At a county level I was surprised to see an overwintering, inland Blyth's Reed Warbler and, on my local patch, a Great White Egret was my best find.
 

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Andy1979

Well-known member
Not very exciting on the home front this year, just two new birds for my Kent list. But a trip to Zimbabwe in April was amazing. I picked up most of the Eastern Highland endemics, and the mammals were pretty good too - especially for April!
 

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