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KB57s 2023 year list (1 Viewer)

05 Feb: Whitley Bay, North Tyneside
A short afternoon trip to the coast proved productive for birding, the promenade south of St. Mary's Island allowing close observation of undisturbed waders on the adjoining rocks on a rising tide, including some great views of purple sandpipers. Less excitingly, added pheasant to the year list in a field near the cemetery.

88. Eurasian Oystercatcher
89. European Rock Pipit*
90. Northern Lapwing
91. Purple Sandpiper*
92. Common Pheasant

And another for the mammal list, with grey seals hauled out on the rocks of the island. Watched another seal close-in holding a large flatfish it had caught...it was a lot smaller, with a harbour seal-like facial profile, but I'm guessing it was a newly-independent grey seal pup?

5. Grey Seal

EDIT: could've sworn I saw oystercatchers near Faro airport in early January, but for some reason didn't record them...in any event, they were definitely here!
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Not much wildlife but some real quality on that canada trip especially the mammals. It's so easy to get excited about a foreign visits possibilities but snow generally means not much seen. I went to finland last winter and only got plants for my igoterra lists. Not a sight of a single bird.
Not much wildlife but some real quality on that canada trip especially the mammals. It's so easy to get excited about a foreign visits possibilities but snow generally means not much seen. I went to finland last winter and only got plants for my igoterra lists. Not a sight of a single bird.
Indeed - I didn't mention the stop we did just outside Cranbrook at a site which had an impressive eBird list...didn't see a single bird, not even a raven, and I was slightly worried our 4x4 wouldn't be able to extract itself from the snowbound car park!
When I was birding at Revelstoke I must've walked a couple of km before seeing my first bird, and that was along an ice-free Columbia riverbank, before coming across a couple of American crows in a lumber yard.
The mammals were another matter though - I didn't mention the very distant herd of unidentifiable deer, but close-up views of mountain goats were great, while seeing a cougar cross the road was just one of those jaw-dropping, can't believe what I'm seeing moments. I guess moose and elk would've put the icing on the cake - there were plenty warning signs to beware of both species as we drove around.
12 Feb: Weetslade, North Tyneside
Short walk with the lurcher, trying to avoid other dogs on a Sunday morning is difficult on this site but he was generally well behaved...flyover kestrel and a small flock of long-tailed tits gave a couple of additions to the year list.

97. Common Kestrel
98. Long-tailed Tit
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15 Feb: North Newcastle on Tyne
Plenty to distract me at my partner's feeders this morning, including a small flock of greenfinches...while robin just made it into the first 100 species (even closer after I realised I'd forgotten to add oystercatcher...)!

100. European Robin
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17 Feb: North Yorkshire
I'd been trying to organise a work site visit before returning to Portugal, and finally managed it on a day which required a genuinely scary trip down the A1(M) in westerly gales. Took about an hour longer than normal due to the inevitable blown over curtain-sided trailer - apparently a couple of vans ended up blown off the road too.
Once on site the winds abated and it was actually quite pleasant - a small flock of fieldfares in a hedgerow, and a brown hare in a fallow field margin even gave me a couple of additions to the year list.

101. Fieldfare

6. Brown Hare
19 Feb: Warkworth and Amble, Northumberland
Almost my last chance to add a few wintering UK species to the year list - we took a drive up to Warkworth salt marsh and beach, followed by fish and chips in Amble. A nice male merlin hunting over the salt marsh started the day well, although the twite flock I've seen here in past years wasn't around - lots of disturbance from dog walkers unfortunately. GBB gulls aren't too common in southern Portugal, so it was good to see a few on the Coquet estuary. In contrast, I was surprised to add a distant gannet flying south, which I thought I'd have to wait till I headed south to see - not usually too many in the North Sea in February. The sea seemed quiet as we headed up the beach, but from a dune-top vantage point I picked out a small flock of common scoter, while my partner spotted a red-throated diver quite close in. A walk upriver in Warkworth village didn't add any new year list species, just my first female goldeneye of the year. I know I go on about doggy disturbance, but there's way more waterborne disturbance from rowers, canoes and paddle boards on the Coquet than there used to be - would've hoped for goosanders and maybe a kingfisher here in the past.
After an excellent plate of fish and chips in the Quayside cafe at Amble harbour, we picked our way past the tame turnstones and feral pigeons hoovering up after the Sunday market, to add the equally tame eiders bobbing about in the harbour and quay - males looking impressive at the moment. All in all happy with what wasn't exactly a full-on birding day.

102. Merlin
103. Great Black-backed Gull
104. Northern Gannet
105. Common Scoter
106. Red-throated Loon
107. Rook
108. Common Eider
Some nice species there, I always struggle with Merlin and am hoping there's still eiders around when i go to scotland in may
Some nice species there, I always struggle with Merlin and am hoping there's still eiders around when i go to scotland in may
The merlin was definitely the most satisfying - if you're ever passing through Northumberland on the way to Scotland, the eiders in Amble harbour are really tame and give great views - they're around most of the year too.
Thanks for the suggestion. Not sure what route we are taking yet but I’ll bear it in mind. We have them fairly locally in the winter but it’s a long old trek out to see them
23 Feb: Tavira, Portugal

My last chance of adding UK wintering species was on a train journey to Glasgow on 21 Feb...3 probable pink footed geese just north of Lindisfarne, and a flock of probable greylags west of Falkirk...but fleeting views weren't sufficient to clinch ID. The long journey was necessary as Tuesday's flight from Newcastle had sold out, and more sensible options such as going via Amsterdam were really expensive. As it happened, the 8-stage journey (lift in car - Metro - 2 trains - airport bus - flight - taxi - train) all went smoothly, and I even arrived home an hour early as I managed to get out of the airport and into a taxi quick enough to catch an earlier train from Faro.
Lots of work to do and waiting around for a sofa delivery, so not much chance to get out of the apartment, but some familiar species nearby on my first full day back - probably the same female black redstart that's been hanging around since December, plus some greenfinches - then I counted 26 crag martins briefly overhead.
The next day I needed to go down to Tavira for meetings to sort out a couple of things - my walking route takes me past a small park, where a single swallow was foraging low over the park and the quiet adjoining street.

109. Barn Swallow
26 Feb: Tavira, Portugal

Feeling pretty miserable this afternoon - having to work on a Sunday to meet a looming deadline was bad enough, then Newcastle went 0-2 down in the Carabao Cup final...I took myself off to the town as light was starting to fade to clear my head.
Hirundines were back in force over the river, a group of about 20 house martins, some of which appeared to be nesting on the 'Roman' bridge...walked through the small riverside park and heard a small screaming party of 4 swifts overhead. They came back as I walked over the river, and as far as I could discern looked like common swifts as I didn't see much of a pale throat - although I'll be interested to know if this is a little early for them and they were perhaps more likely to be pallid...at the same time, an almost certain common sandpiper flew downriver - I don't honestly think it was a countable view, although with its flight action it was unlikely to be anything else.

110. House Martin
111. Common Swift

EDIT: decided to plump for common swift as eBird suggests both are equally likely (i.e. just starting to arrive) in late February, and that's what they looked like
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27 Feb: Tavira, Portugal
Glanced outside while putting the kettle on for a tea break, and noticed some movement in the oxalis under the trees outside the apartment - my first song thrush of the year (although heard frequently back in UK, always distantly). Not a new one for the seen-from-apartment list though, seen in December...although I did add Sardinian warbler yesterday morning.

112. Song Thrush
03 Mar: Tavira
Making my morning cup of tea and glanced out to see a small bird on the fence outside - got my binoculars on it as it flew, revealing a prominent yellow rump - first serin of the year and a new one for the apartment list. Got a better view about an hour later as it foraged on the ground. I'd heard what I was sure were serins in nearby conifers in the past, but hadn't been able to pick one out.

113. European Serin
07 Mar: Santa Luzia saltpans
Walked back into Tavira through the salt pans - lots of birds but only a few additions to the year list, which is already quite well populated with wader species. Three meadow pipits foraging in a dry field, and a total of about 3 common sandpipers too - which had been evading me this year.

115. Meadow Pipit
116. Common Sandpiper
09 Mar: Real Alcazar, Seville, Spain
Caught the bus to Seville for a couple of days - mostly doing tourist stuff but took the binoculars for the Alcazar gardens and the possibility of lesser kestrel around the cathedral, which did have recent eBird reports.
Lots of rose-ringed parakeets in the gardens, which unfortunately close in early evening just as bird activity is increasing - lots of chiffchaffs, plus blackcap, black redstarts, great tits and greenfinches around.
Sat around the cathedral looking upwards, but the only kestrel - being mobbed by a crow - was definitely of the common variety.

117. Rose-ringed Parakeet

10 Mar: Cathedral area, Seville
Don't know how I missed these the previous day, but heard some grating parrot-like calls from some palm trees which didn't seem to fit the repertoire of rose-ringed, and looked up to see a pair of monk parakeets in their enormous nest in the crown of the tree. A very plastic lifer (and in fact a new family for my partner, were she to count such things...) but countable as a category C here.

118. Monk Parakeet
Very plastic but I spent hours walking around the parque maria luisa in Seville last year looking for a monk amongst the hundreds of rose ringed.

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