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KB57's 2019 list (1 Viewer)

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
4th June, Teesdale

Haven't managed to get out birding for a while, but a work visit to the North Pennines added one rather obvious species to the list.

274. Willow Ptarmigan (ssp. scotica)
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
11th June: Allington, Kent

Work visit down south, where green woodpeckers are common enough to be seen in the grounds of an industrial site (with plentiful ants in the surrounding grassy bunds, it has to be said)

275. European Green Woodpecker

12th June: Co. Durham

Back from a long drive home in frequently atrocious weather conditions (thank you satnav for helping me avoid the M20...), added a very plastic and somewhat reluctant tick to my year list, driving past a farm near my home which I know runs a pheasant shoot

276. Red-legged Partridge
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
15th June, North Yorkshire

Had a day free and decided I was long overdue some birding. Started off badly, dipping corn bunting at a site I'd seen them a few years ago, near Nosterfield...called into Nosterfield gravel pits, dipping little ringed plover (but seeing some avocet chicks), before dipping turtle dove at Sutton Bank.
Wykeham Forest paid off quickly with a great view of a tree pipit displaying and carrying food, but it took the best part of two hours and the help of some much more experienced raptor watchers to be rewarded with distant views of two of the star species.
Thanks to a tipoff from another birder at Wykeham, I finally scored with turtle dove at Harwood Dale, sitting in the pub garden with a coffee watching a male purring on a TV aerial, before launching off into a display flight near the pub - missing quite a few tail feathers, suggesting it's had a near miss recently! It's been decades since I've seen a turtle dove - I'm not a huge fan of the dove family, but I totally get now why people think turtle doves are special!
Visits to Fylingdales Moor and Scaling Dam added more species to the day list, without adding to my year list.
So, only four additions, but quality ones...

Wykeham Forest

277. Tree Pipit
278. Northern Goshawk
279. European Honey Buzzard

Harwood Dale

280. European Turtle Dove
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
26th June: Etangs de Boitsfort, Belgium

After a few days in Brussels city centre, managed to get out for a couple of hours into some quite good looking habitat - forest and wetlands.
As seems to happen quite often, after my first turtle dove in a very long time a couple of weeks ago, I added a second today!
Only one somewhat reluctant addition to my year list, and indeed my life list (as I've never felt able to bring myself to count the ones in London parks). If I can count red-legged partridge, I can't turn my nose up at this...

281. Egyptian Goose
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
30th June: Coquet Island, Northumberland

Didn't get round to doing this last year, so was keen to get back out on a boat trip I've always been a positive advocate for. Slightly disappointing today, trip only lasted just over 30 minutes, ostensibly due to westerly wind meaning we couldn't circumnavigate the island and stayed on the east side (admittedly the side to see the roseates) - but fitting two return visits on one tide might have something to do with it as well...
Saw the usual suspects; Scythebill said kittiwake was new for the year list when I've obviously forgotten to log a visit to the Baltic in Newcastle. Aside from getting a blurry flypast image of a roseate (a small step up from my usual long-distance nestbox pics), we've certainly had better Coquet birding experiences.

Numbering subject to change when I can work out when I saw a kittiwake!

282. Atlantic Puffin
283. Arctic Tern
284. Common Murre
285. Roseate Tern
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
6th July, Cow Green Reservoir, Co. Durham

Did a walk with a group of friends from Cow Green to High Cup Nick, along part of the Pennine Way. Not a birding trip, but carried my binoculars, and saw plenty of breeding waders - oystercatcher, lapwing, curlew, snipe, redshank - and a great view of two flypast golden plover. Thanks to my lack of winter coastal birding, this was a year tick; if I was keeping a British year list, the grey wagtails at Cauldron Snout would've also been a new addition.

286. European Golden Plover
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
22nd July: Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB, Wirral

A long weekend of family stuff in the NW, with enough time for a few hours at Burton Mere on a very hot (28C) afternoon. Nice to see black-tailed godwits at this time of year, when quite a few retain summer plumage.

287. Black-tailed Godwit
288. Green Sandpiper
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
28th July: Newbiggin, Northumberland

Given an easterly airflow, persuaded my partner that a bit of gentle seawatching from the rocks at Church Point might be a good way to spend an hour or so this afternoon.
Lots of tern and gannet action, the former including a single little as well as Arctic, common and Sandwich - but we didn't get onto any shearwaters or skuas. A Mediterranean gull overhead was a highlight, until we went to the promenade for a drink and saw 8 more loafing on the beach amongst the families! Never seen so many in NE England before, it was more like an eastern Algarve beach, where they are the default loitering gull.
Despite this, painted lady butterflies were the day's highlight species, with a big influx apparent on the coast - good to see plenty wildflowers around the church for them to feed on, along with quite a few Silver Y moths.

289. European Shag
290. Mediterranean Gull

Cresswell Pond

Got a great daytime view of one of the resident barn owls, before an unexpected whinchat near the farm. Whimbrels and avocets the highlights around the pond.

291. Western Barn Owl
292. Whinchat
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
18th August: RSPB Blacktoft Sands

After not getting out birding for a while, we decided to book a Sunday night overnight stay in Lincoln, and combine a visit to this historic city with a couple of RSPB reserves.

First up on the way down was a welcome return to Blacktoft Sands, which didn't disappoint in its role of boosting my frankly still somewhat feeble wader list.

293. Ruff
294. Spotted Redshank
295. Eurasian Spoonbill
296. Common Greenshank
297. Peregrine
298. Western Marsh Harrier

Green sandpiper, sparrowhawk and lots of black-tailed godwits made for a very productive couple of hours birding
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
19th August, RSPB Frampton Marsh

After a morning coffee and wander round the mediaeval centre of Lincoln, our first ever visit to this reserve. Wondered why the car park was so full on a Monday lunchtime, then realised there was a buff-breasted sandpiper twitch in full swing. We contrived to miss said sandpiper, stopping to scan from the road while everyone was watching it from the sea wall - a marsh harrier then caused mass panic and everything redistributed - it was lost from view by the time we got to the sea wall.
Decided to visit the rest of the reserve, as I'd promised my partner she'd get some good pics from the '360 degree' hide. More like 330 degrees, but I'm not complaining, some great views of godwits and ruff. We were almost godwitted out by the end of the day though!
Didn't manage to pick up the long-staying dowitcher either, although it had been seen the previous day, and only had a little grebe on the lake with breeding black-neckeds. So a strangely unfulfilling visit after promising much more than we expected on arrival, although if we'd been that desperate for a buff-breasted sandpiper we could've gone back to the sea wall - I noticed towards the end of the day all the scopes pointing in the same direction, presuming it had been spotted again...
Not totally unfulfilled though - my partner scored her first ever curlew sandpiper, albeit from a somewhat elusive bird at long range, while I also picked up another wader on the 'visitor centre' lake which really should've been on my year list by now.

299. Curlew Sandpiper
300. Common Sandpiper

I'm not celebrating my first ever 300 species world list quite yet though, as Scythebill says I'm still on 299, and I need to check the anomaly...
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
31st August: Warkworth

A walk along the River Coquet produced a great flight view of a species I normally catch up with a little earlier in the year than this..

301. Common Kingfisher
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
21st September: Lindisfarne

More of a walk than a dedicated birdwatch today, reflecting the fact I'm on a bit of a weight loss mission at the moment. The island was full of people, although population density declined dramatically away from the village and castle.

Quite a few waders about on the foreshore, including lots of knot - finally adding a couple of very belated species to my list.

302. Red Knot
303. Bar-tailed Godwit
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
3rd October: Santa Luzia, Portugal

A combined birding and beach holiday back at our usual haunts in the eastern Algarve. My partner had visited earlier in the year (adding species like bee-eater to her year list) but this was my first trip for two years.
We had a non-birding (but interested in nature) friend along for the first couple of days; on our first day we walked from the village to Pedras del Rey, over the bridge and along by the rail track to Barril Beach. As well as the usual waders on the saltmarsh (frequent whimbrel, plus ringed plover, turnstone, redshank and a greenshank) I added serin to the year list in trees by an orange grove. At Barril beach, our friend drew my attention to a small bird in a bush by the rail halt, and I had my first 'lifer' of the trip!
Distant views of grey plover and osprey on the saltmarsh on our return from the beach, then we took a drive before dusk around the Santa Luzia saltpans, adding Sardinian warbler, flamingo, and a flock of distant Audouin's gulls, with the usual YLGs and LBBs

304. Yellow-legged Gull
305. European Serin
306. Western Subalpine Warbler
307. Grey Plover
308. Western Osprey
309. Sardinian Warbler
310. Audouin's Gull
311. Greater Flamingo
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
4th October: Faro, Portugal

My partner had arranged a boat tour from Faro port with Ocean Vibes, a relatively new company run by a couple of young marine biologists. There was just the 3 of us booked on the early afternoon tour, which took in part of the Ria Formosa we'd not visited before - the extensive saltmarshes and creeks south of Faro.
Birding from a small boat was great - mostly the species you'd expect here like whimbrel and black-tailed godwit, but much better views of grey plover and a better view of an osprey than the previous day, plus the only curlew of our trip, and a few little terns. When they realised we were keen birders and not that interested in a coffee stop on an island, they took us offshore to look for seabirds and cetaceans. No luck on the dolphin front but 3 Cory's shearwaters (including one close flypast) and 1 Balearic made it well worthwhile. A distant juvenile skua will have to remain unidentified.

312. White Stork
313. Cory's Shearwater
314. Balearic Shearwater
Stercorarius sp. skua

We drove back to Tavira afterwards so our friend could do some shopping as she was leaving the next day, adding an unexpected 'lifer' as we approached the town, sat on a roadside pole.

315. Black-winged Kite

A species I'd hoped for but dipped on my previous trips here
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
5th October: Tavira, Portugal

Spent much of the day in and around Tavira. Not much birding getting done, but we did take a drive down to both sides of the rivermouth past the saltpans to connect with larger flocks of flamingos than were currently around the Santa Luzia pans.
Sat on the beach at the east of the rivermouth, when a hoopoe flew across the narrow channel to the Ilha de Tavira opposite. A year list tick for me, if not my partner.

316. Eurasian Hoopoe
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
6th October: San Lourenco / Ludo saltpans

Back to Faro again, parking on the road at the west end of the airport runway. Walked along the causeway by the saltmarsh, past the golf course lake at San Lourenco, then back across the saltpans.
Always good for birds, we added significantly to the trip list, with a few year list species thrown in. One potential 'lifer' we decided not to count was a little bittern hiding behind reeds from the golf course lagoon hide - other birders let us use their scope, but in all honesty neither of us felt we had a countable view.

317. Crested Lark
318. Zitting Cisticola
319. Black-winged Stilt
320. Slender-billed Gull
321. Western Purple Swamphen
322. Iberian Magpie

Other highlights were migrant pied flycatchers, willow warblers and chiffchaffs in the trees; and a ssp. leucorhoa Northern wheatear on the saltpans which had me looking very carefully at my pics - strong bill, upright stance, pale colour, lots of black on the tail...but long, evenly-spaced primary projection nailed it as a Northern...
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
7th October: Santa Luzia

Took the ferry along the channel to Terra Estreita beach. Often get good views of Audouin's gull close by the boat here, but none around today. My partner did ask 'what's that tern with a big red beak'? though...

323. Caspian Tern

8th October: Santa Luzia

The following day we repeated the same, both times as part of a circular walk along the beach and back to Santa Luzia...we got the hoped-for closer views of Audouin's gulls, and saw a Cory's shearwater offshore (as well as the usual Northern gannets).
On the landward side of our route, added a species near Pedras del Rey that had managed to elude us this trip so far.

324. Spotless Starling
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
October 10th: Sagres

Drove to Sagres for a Mar Ilimitado pelagic on the first day of the birdwatching festival. This was the first time we'd done the motor yacht rather than a RIB. The lower speed (meaning, presumably, why we didn't take in the Cory's shearwater rafts off Cape St. Vincent) was balanced by greater comfort, and a good vantage point for photography.
After stopping by a large pod of common dolphins, we passed a single storm-petrel before stopping to chum. This brought at one point a total of 16 storm petrels, plus close flypasts of 2 great skuas, as well as the usual gannets and gulls.
A bit late in the year for the Wilson's we've seen here before, and lacking in any shearwater sightings (lucky we did the Faro trip!), but an enjoyable day out nonetheless.
A 'normal' Northern wheatear near the harbour served to emphasise how different the presumed Greenland bird at Ludo saltpans had been.

325. European Storm-petrel
326. Great Skua
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
12th October: North Newcastle on Tyne

Sometimes you need to travel to see good birds, occasionally they come to you...a sunflower heart feeder in my partner's garden, to be precise...

327. Willow Tit
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
17th November, Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Not had a chance to get out birding the past few weeks due to work commitments, but I did rejoin the Natural History Society a couple of months ago after a ca. 45 year absence. Great to spend some quiet time in the nature reserve again, when I had a couple of hours unexpectedly free on a Sunday afternoon.
Little egrets and nuthatches would've been unheard of here in my younger days, and good to see it is still a great place to see treecreepers; I was taunted once again by a species which always eluded me in the past.

Water Rail (heard-only)
 
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