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KB57s 2022 year list (1 Viewer)

Mar 13: Killingworth Lake
Haven't been here for years, but its only a short drive from my partner's place, and a report of scaup flashed up on my Twitter notifications. Less than annual addition to my list these days, so worth a twitch while I had a few hours to myself - and for once, it was really easy, getting onto it straightaway, cruising past me and giving excellent views. Displaying goldeneye and a couple of great crested grebes made it even more worthwhile. Tried again the following morning with my partner, but no luck - no scaup, and the goldeneye weren't displaying.

73. Greater Scaup *
Mar 18: NW Durham
Thought I saw a chiffchaff briefly on my garden fence the other day, but as I didn't have my glasses to hand and my binoculars were in the car, I couldn't be sure (!)...heard one singing today in the sunshine on my lunchtime walk from the office, although quite distantly in a private area, so couldn't track it down to add to the year list.

Common Chiffchaff (heard-only)
Mar 19: Morpeth, Northumberland
Had a walk by the river, hoping for kingfisher and otter, but had to settle for a singing chiffchaff, this time giving good views.

74. Common Chiffchaff

Widdrington Moor Lake
All sorts of good stuff have been reported from here recently - I was aware of whooper swans and red-necked grebe, and a birder we met said there had been reports of a redhead smew - none of which were apparent on our admittedly brief scan with the 'scope. A decent sized flock of pink feet meant the visit wasn't completely in vain, while my partner added skylark to her year list, and spotted a lapwing from the car - which I've still not seen this year!!

75. Pink-footed Goose
Mar 20: Beadnell Bay / Newton Flash, Northumberland
Did a coastal walk from High Newton to Beadnell along the vast beach revealed by a spring low tide, wading across the Long Nanny at its mouth and returning via the dune grassland. Several small groups of sanderling on the beach, and a razorbill unexpectedly flying inland of us, taking a short cut north over the dunes. Added shovelers and shelduck along with some teal and redshanks on a flooded field, then stonechats on the dunes. Lingered at the Long Nanny salt marsh for wigeon, goldeneye, more shelduck, lots of curlews and yet more pinkfeet, but still no lapwings...we both thought we'd heard a greenshank, but couldn't pick one out....ended up at Newton Flash with ringed plover added to the wader list. Would've liked to end up at Newton Point for divers and sea duck, but partner feeling tired by this point and not keen on the fresh south-easterly breeze.

76. Sanderling
77. Razorbill
78. Northern Shoveler
79. Common Shelduck
80. European Stonechat
81. Common Ringed Plover
Mar 26: NW Durham
Woke early to a beautiful sunrise and fine weather. As I had the morning to myself with no work planned, I decided on a reprise of the circular walks I did from home for charity in March 2021.
A song thrush singing away on top of a tall conifer in the village got me off to a positive start, the first of a healthy number of territories on the circular route. Chiffchaffs were very much in evidence too as I ascended alongside a small valley towards more open countryside, while a flock of 12 redwings were a reminder that winter isn't totally over yet. At least 4 curlew territories in the first 2km of my route - didn't see any song flights, although I did see a couple of birds in fields, one of which was shared with a flock of 20 common gulls - I'd seen up to 250 nearby one day last March. The first addition to my year list was engaged in a song flight - meadow pipit - giving great views in the morning sunshine. I'd hoped to add reed bunting on a small raised bog, and the linnet flock I often saw last year in that area was also absent. Crossing a large open field, I was also noticing the absence of lapwings, when I flushed two grey partridges - not a species I saw at all on my walks last year - then a solitary lapwing flew across quite high up. Added linnets, occupying a different patch of gorse bushes this year, then saw a tree sparrow calling from the roof of a stable - another species I'd missed on my walks last year, despite being a garden visitor. The rest of the walk was a series of dips of potential year list additions - no redpoll flock this year around a neighbouring village, no jay, treecreeper, nuthatch or willow tits in the woods...although there was plenty of bird activity, with a bright male greenfinch and a great spotted woodpecker the highlights.
Overall good to see the curlew population seems to be holding up locally, although the absence of lapwings (the one I saw was showing no signs of holding territory) is a bit of a worry.

82. Meadow Pipit
83. Grey Partridge
84. Northern Lapwing

And one addition to the mammal list:
05. Brown Hare
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Apr 02: Parc de Sceaux, Hauts de Seine, France
Had a few days break in Paris - a great break from work, but not entirely according to plan with winter weather and the friend we'd planned to meet down with Covid. On our last full day - and first taste of sunshine - we visited Parc de Sceaux just south of Paris and had the chance to add some birds to the year list.
Despite an encouraging eBird list with 5 species of woodpecker, we only saw GSW - pretty certain I heard LSW calling, but it was distant, in dense woodland. Only one addition to the year list, but a quality one, as it was our first lifer of the year. Partner spotted it in an avenue of trees before we even got through the park gates, and we eventually got some great views, as well as hearing the call.

85. Short-toed Treecreeper
Apr 05: NW Durham
Driving back from work in twilight, I had high hopes of a barn owl- but had to be content with a very belated addition to the mammals list...

06. European Rabbit
Apr 15: Stockton on Tees
On site early this morning - yes, I know it's Good Friday...early morning low mist giving way to sunshine, then disappointingly to cloud as I returned home.
Willow warblers are back in the NE (if not apparent in my particular corner yet) - also added stock dove (which my partner has been sending me photos of from her vegetable patch) and blackcap. Having heard about four of the latter, all singing from dense cover, got a great view of a completely silent male foraging amongst a really prolifically blooming patch of blackthorn scrub - would've made a great picture, if only I'd had my camera.

86. Willow Warbler
87. Stock Dove
88. Eurasian Blackcap

On the downside, my life list is -1 today! Whilst entering species in Scythebill, I noticed Hume's Whitethroat on my list, which I had no memory of ever seeing - it turned out to be a misallocated Lesser Whitethroat record...so back to where I was before the short-toed treecreeper...
Apr 16: north Newcastle on Tyne
Finally caught up with reed bunting this year, a regular visitor to my partner's garden - a nice summer plumage male cleaning up under her feeder after a flock of messy goldfinches.

89. Common Reed Bunting
Apr 23: Farne Islands, Northumberland
Spent the weekend in Beadnell at a house party with my partner and our families as part of her extended birthday celebrations. Although there wasn't much opportunity for birding, one of the activities she'd planned was a 'Grey Seal cruise' from Seahouses harbour, essentially a non-landing trip around the Farne Islands. This was fine, as the Arctic terns hadn't yet returned to Inner Farne, and we got good views of all other species - although the north wind made for a heavy swell on an otherwise fine and sunny day.

90. Northern Gannet
91. Northern Fulmar
92. Black-legged Kittiwake
93. Atlantic Puffin *
94. European Shag
95. Common Guillemot

And of course for the mammal list:

07. Grey Seal
Looks like a good boat trip. I’m really itching to see some sea birds at this point
It was very good - what was better compared to the normal Billy Shiels Inner Farne landing trips was the fact their 80-seater boat had less than 25 passengers, which meant plenty elbow room for viewing and photography. The other was the fact that you got to sail around the outer islands, which isn't an option available on all the Inner Farne trips.
Apr 30: NW Durham
Early morning walk up the hill from the village - on the same hedgerow where a garden warbler gave me the slip last year, one decided to perch in plain sight on a leafless young tree - then treated me to an extended session of singing from cover in the adjoining hawthorn hedge.
They say one swallow doesn't make a summer, and it certainly didn't today, the fine morning fading to a dull and quite chilly spring day.

96. Garden Warbler
97. Barn Swallow

May 03: NW Durham
Don't recall hearing a sedge warbler singing near my office before - didn't show itself and I didn't have time to wait - and it had gone when I went out again in the afternoon.

Sedge Warbler (heard-only)
May 07: north Newcastle on Tyne
Heard my first whitethroat of the year from my partner's garden, out of site further along the nearby hedgerow.

Common Whitethroat (heard-only)
May 11: Stockton on Tees
On site with work, some much more typically exhibitionist whitethroats doing song flights; a smaller number of sedge warblers, and best of all, a grasshopper warbler reeling. Not the best view I've had of the latter, close to me but flying between patches of cover, but well countable in the context of my year list.

98. Common Whitethroat
99. Sedge Warbler
100. Common Grasshopper Warbler
May 15: Warkworth, Northumberland
Walked past the saltmarsh to the Coquet estuary and back up over the sand dunes - tried to avoid adding to the disturbance on the beach, as over 120 ringed plover, at least 20 dunlin and a smaller number of summer-plumage sanderlings were attempting to forage on the rising tide.
Partner added willow warbler and whitethroat to her list near the car park, before we saw a smart but flighty wheatear. First swift of the year was foraging over the Coquet, and Sandwich terns were feeding close inshore as the tide came in.

101. Northern Wheatear
102. Common Swift
103. Sandwich Tern
A few mammals for the list:

May 14: North Newcastle on Tyne
Borrowed an Echo Meter bat detector so we could identify the pipistrelle-like bats foraging close to my partner's garden. Turned out they were indeed common pipistrelles, although my partner stayed out in the garden a little later and added soprano pipistrelle and noctule - with recordings to prove it.

08. Common pipistrelle

May 15: near Amble, Northumberland
A vole running across the busy A189 amazingly managed to avoid getting squashed either by me or the oncoming northbound car - better not try that too often or luck will soon run out.

09. Short-tailed field vole

May 17: NW Durham
Some prospective buyers coming to see my house tomorrow, so I'm kind of hoping this guy doesn't make another appearance at my next-door neighbours feeders when I show them the garden...

10. Brown rat
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