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kb57's 2020 list (1 Viewer)


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After last year didn't turn out as I expected and hoped in any respect (some ways better, some worse..), I'm not making any predictions for this year, other than to hope nothing bad happens and I get to enjoy watching some birds.

As with my past lists, lifers in bold, and I might reinstate the asterisk for species I didn't see last year (this may highlight a few embarassing omissions from last year's list, so not sure about that yet...). IOC taxonomy and English names, using Scythebill as a reference source for both.

Jan 1st: north Newcastle on Tyne

A quiet and not very diverse start to the year in my partner's garden, notable for the arrival of blackbirds, which had been absent from the garden thus far this winter!

1. Common Blackbird
2. Common Wood Pigeon
3. European Goldfinch
4. Eurasian Magpie
5. Carrion Crow
6. Blue Tit

Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Decided to avoid the coast today, and head for somewhere dog-free. Lake was mostly frozen, limiting waterfowl numbers, although lots of wigeon, teal and coot were crowded into the remaining open water...didn't luck onto a bittern or water rail, but a decent start to the year, with a few woodland species which sometimes take a while to connect with.

7. Great Tit
8. Coal Tit
9. Eurasian Nuthatch
10. Great Spotted Woodpecker
11. European Robin
12. Common Chaffinch
13. Eurasian Wren
14. Eurasian Treecreeper
15. Dunnock
16. Black-headed Gull
17. Mute Swan
18. Eurasian Wigeon
19. Eurasian Coot
20. Eurasian Teal
21. European Herring Gull
22. Eurasian Bullfinch
23. Redwing

north Newcastle on Tyne

24. Common Starling


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2nd January: Co. Durham

Back to work...

25. Western Jackdaw
26. Common Moorhen

3rd January: driving to work, NW Durham

27. Common Pheasant
28. Eurasian Collared Dove

4th January

Co. Durham, neighbours garden

29. House Sparrow

north Newcastle on Tyne

30. European Greenfinch


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5th January: north Newcastle on Tyne
My sharp-eyed partner spotted 3 reed buntings on a patch of uncultivated land next to her garden, before we took an afternoon trip up the coast.

31. Common Reed Bunting

near Ellington, Northumberland - driving up coast road

32. Common Kestrel

Amble harbour

33. Common Eider
34. Rock Dove (ssp. domestica)
35. Great Black-backed Gull
36. Great Cormorant
37. Ruddy Turnstone

Coquet Estuary

38. Eurasian Curlew
39. Eurasian Oystercatcher
40. Mallard
41. Dunlin


42. Rook
43. Common Merganser
44. Common Buzzard
45. Common Goldeneye
46. Little Grebe
47. Grey Wagtail

I was thinking of making a mammal list this year too, although I don't make any effort usually to see mammals...the captive (soon to be ex-) grey squirrel and already deceased brown rat with rigor mortis at Gosforth Park don't count, so #1 was from Amble:

1. Grey seal


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7th January: Rowland's Gill, Gateshead

Only just getting light as I travelled to work, but I obviously timed it right for dispersal from the nearby red kite roost, with no fewer than four seen drifting across the road.

48. Red Kite


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9th January: Co. Durham

Parked my car at work this morning, scattering a flock of goldfinches in doing so, which had been feeding on seeds fallen from alder cones scattered in the parking area by overnight winds and rain. They flew back down - I stayed in the car to watch at close range, and was rewarded with a female lesser redpoll amongst the flock of ca. 25 goldfinches.
Later on the flock appeared feeding on alders outside my office window, and I relocated the redpoll. Also saw a single female siskin amongst them - most winters we have many more siskins, and a few more redpolls than this.

49. Lesser Redpoll
50. Eurasian Siskin


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11th January: north Newcastle on Tyne

Ruderal vegetation has been allowed to flower and set seed on land near my partner's place, attracting a flock of up to 30 linnets. Later, in central Gosforth I got an uncountable view of a song thrush (seen better by my partner) and a better view of a mistle.

51. Common Linnet
52. Mistle Thrush

12th January: Gosforth Park Nature Reserve

Very quick visit to feeders and lake hide, with 2 jays in between, and some tufted ducks on the lake...and mammal #2 in adjoining fields. Still haven't seen a live brown rat, or a rabbit for that matter yet this year!

53. Eurasian Jay
54. Tufted Duck


2. Roe deer


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14th January: Co. Durham

Local park near my office, lunchtime birding in the rain (typically best part of the day was a flock of 12 redpolls later that afternoon just outside my office window).

55. Long-tailed Tit

15th January: Co. Durham

Grass verge outside an industrial estate on my journey to work.

56. Mew Gull


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16th January: NW Durham

Another addition at my neighbour's garden feeders

57. Eurasian Tree Sparrow


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21st January: NW Durham

Stuck in the office all weekend working, and working late this week, so no additions to the bird list. Got mammal #3 on the way home from work though, happily negotiating the road without incident.

3. Badger

Still haven't seen a rabbit this year


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23rd January: Low Newton by-the-Sea, Northumberland

Decided after working all weekend I needed a break, so we took Thursday off and headed up the coast. It was a glimpse into the world of my more privileged fellow boomers, the ones who had planned for their retirement and made proper pension provisions, unlike me...

Starting at Newton Flash, we quickly added some of the plastic greylags, alongside some others:

58. Greylag Goose
59. Common Redshank
60. Whooper Swan
61. White Wagtail (ssp. yarrellii)

After lunch in the (for once) relatively quiet Ship Inn, on to a (for once) undisturbed high tide roost at the north end of Newton Haven. Lots of turnstones, plus:

62. Sanderling
63. Eurasian Rock Pipit
64. Purple Sandpiper (* - last seen 2018)

Walked up to the Long Nanny - not much on the sea apart from eider and goldeneyes, and even on a Thursday there was sufficient high-tide doggy related disturbance to keep the beaches empty. Quiet at the Long Nanny though, which held a huge flock of loafing gulls, a flock of pinkfeet in the field just north of the bridge, and a flock of curlews on the saltmarsh. Additions comprised:

65. European Stonechat
66. Pink-footed Goose
67. Grey Heron

Finally, walking back towards Newton Point on the inland dune path, a covey of grey partridge flew up and landed a short distance away in an adjoining field.

68. Grey Partridge (* - 2018)

...and amazingly, given the habitat, still no rabbits!


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26th January: Burnopfield, Co. Durham

Another addition to the casual mammal list, I can remember a couple of decades or so ago when they were still red round here...

4. Grey squirrel

Big Waters, Newcastle-on-Tyne

Haven't been here for years, but decided to try a circular walk route taking in the lake and surrounding farmland. The unwelcome Nearctic invader theme continued, before adding a couple of stock doves feeding on stubble. I suspect I may have forgotten to add lapwing from our recent trip up the coast, although my partner assures me we didn't see any at Newton Flash. The Wildlife Trust feeding station here was where I finally saw my first ever water rail, but had to be content with moorhen today.

69. Canada Goose
70. Stock Dove
71. Northern Lapwing
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28th January: near Cramlington, Northumberland

Work visit on agricultural land; seen both common and jack snipe on this site last year, but no luck today.

72. Eurasian Skylark
73. Yellowhammer
74. Song Thrush


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30th January: Work visit to Bedfordshire

Bedford, on the river outside my hotel

75. Egyptian Goose

Near Brogborough - working, then following directions to the GG shrike site for distant but good 'scope views.

76. Great Crested Grebe
77. Fieldfare
78. Northern Raven
79. Great Grey Shrike * (2016 - Lindisfarne)
80. Green Woodpecker

Had to return to Bedford to pick up the mobile phone charger I'd left in my hotel - so I couldn't resist another twitch, this time for ring-necked duck at the nearby Priory Country Park. Seemed like a difficult task when I saw how big the site was, but my superior fieldcraft skills paid off...finding someone else looking through a 'scope that is, and asking if they'd found it...they hadn't, then within half a minute of my arrival it swam into view. Lucky!! This never usually happens to me, but I wasn't complaining. Got my scope on it later for better views of it diving - seemed to take more of a jump than a tuftie? I guess with the escape possibilities this has to be provisional for now, but still a nice bird!

81. Ring-necked Duck * (1987 - Michigan)
82. Northern Shoveler
83. Gadwall

Mammal #5 from near Brogborough had me puzzled at first, a small deer with a face a bit like a fox and big ears??!

5. Chinese Water Deer


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15th February: north Newcastle on Tyne

We weren't the only ones watching the flock of linnets (with bullfinches, tree sparrows, goldfinches and reed buntings) outside my partner's house this morning...a male sparrowhawk flew past the front window, perching briefly on the garden fence less than 2m away.

84. Eurasian Sparrowhawk


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22nd February: Alnmouth, Northumberland

I have a particular dislike of windy weather for walking in (although strangely I can tolerate being buffeted on a RIB or a ferry in the context of pelagic birding...). So during this windy period I've been staying in the office during lunchtimes, and happily agreeing to more urban based options in my currently limited leisure time. By Saturday I was desperate for fresh air though...my partner had to go to Alnwick, so we took the opportunity of a brief walk around Alnmouth, armed with the 'scope. Not much on the sea despite the very high tide, apart from a fully-crested shag.

85. European Shag

Cresswell Ponds, Northumberland

On the way back to town called into the hide, where we could shelter from the elements. Flock of lapwings all facing into the wind (why I wondered?), quite a lot to distract us with curlews, pinkfeet and goldeneye around, but only one addition to the year list.

86. Common Shelduck


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26th February, north of York

From the train window on the way back from a work trip to Manchester, almost two months without seeing mammal #6...

6. Rabbit B :)

27th February, North Shields

Work took me to the banks of the Tyne today, just downstream from the fish quay. Brought my bins and had a quick scan of the gulls, rewarded by the long white primaries of my second-ever Iceland gull, and first immature bird.

87. Iceland Gull (* - 2017, Newton Flash)


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28th February: Near Brogborough, Bedfordshire

Work more than a little hectic, but at least I'm getting out of the office. Out early on site, and about to get somewhat wet - a male peregrine made for a great start to the day, flying over then suddenly changing direction to stoop on prey - unfortunately whatever it was was just out of view, and I didn't see whether it had any success. The other two additions were slightly less exciting, but at least the small group of pochard included a majority of females - there has been an issue with skewed sex ratios with this species I believe?

88. Peregrine Falcon
89. Common Pochard
90. Lesser Black-backed Gull


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3rd March: Frensham Common, Surrey

Work took me down to darkest Surrey this week. Only one chance to get out birding with an early morning walk over Frensham Common and Ponds.
Was hoping for mandarin on the ponds, but guess this isn't a regular site.
Firecrest was also on my wish list, and when I spied a little bird foraging close to the woodland floor I thought my luck was in - unfortunately it turned out to be a goldcrest which hadn't read about spatial resource partitioning.
Better luck on the heathland, hearing what I was amazed I still recognised as a Dartford warbler (given I hadn't seen one for 48 years), then spotting a pair at long range - a short while later came across 3 more foraging close to the path and providing excellent views.
Also thought I heard LSW singing, but couldn't be 100% sure...and couldn't pin it down. So:

91. Goldcrest
92. Dartford Warbler (* 1972 - Dorset)


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8th March: Warkworth beach, Northumberland

Had a few hours late morning free for a walk, before a family meal later in the afternoon. Partner suggested a walk along by the saltmarsh and beach at Warkworth, and I readily agreed.
The saltmarsh creeks are a usually reliable spot for little egret, which duly obliged; might be getting too late for the small flock of twite which hangs around here, although sometimes you can come and just not see them. A few pipits on the saltmarsh attracted my attention - thinking possible water pipits I got the 'scope on them for a better look, hunkered down low against the wind. Clean grey mantles had me excited, but closer inspection of two revealed what I took to be too much streaking on breast and flanks for water pipit a this time of year - littoralis rock pipits seemed a better fit.
Quite a few (12+) guillemots on the sea, most still in non-breeding plumage, and a breeding plumage great crested grebe - a new year tick for my partner; GCG always look incongrous to me on the sea, unless they're in winter plumage.

93. Little Egret
Eurasian Rock Pipit (ssp. littoralis*)
94. Common Murre


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10th March, NW Durham

Another addition to the mammal list, spotted on my way home after a late night working in the office - by a roadside hedge, about 100m from where I saw a badger a few weeks ago.

7. Brown hare

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