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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

KB57s 2023 year list (1 Viewer)

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.
I did the same in Alcazar but finally spotted them in a more urban location near the Cathedral - the trick I discovered was to check the crowns of palm trees. There are a LOT of rose-ringed in Seville though!
Mar 23: Tavira
Feeling like I'm missing out on spring here while I'm stuck in the apartment working, especially as I've got to go back to UK soon - a hoopoe flying past the apartment while I boiled the kettle for a cup of tea cheered me up no end. Last of the Darjeeling I'd brought from England too...

119. Eurasian Hoopoe

update...now I'm being distracted by the sound of a heard-only lifer calling from the old olive grove between my apartment and the railway line...loud but screened from view by the trees closer to the apartment

Iberian Green Woodpecker (heard only)
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Mar 24: Tavira
Having seen a couple of presumed pallid swifts attempted landing on palm trees from a distance, in poor light a couple of days back, I saw 5 confirmed pallid swifts foraging close overhead in the same vicinity. These then morphed into a flock of 12 higher up above the city, which I think included common swifts too - but light was fading by now so everything was starting to look darker.
Heading back to England to sort out some work / business matters and catch up with family, so this will be my last Portugal year tick for a few weeks.

120. Pallid Swift
Apr 02: Wallington Hall, Northumberland
A sunny Sunday at the start of the easter holidays is never the best time to visit National Trust sites, but once clear of all the visitor attractions things quieten down a little. It was worth the effort for the main target - a single brambling seen well from the hide, feeding on the ground with a flock of chaffinches. Usually a good site for this species - nuthatch is nailed-on here too, while a grey wagtail seen briefly at the edge of one of the woodland ponds was another slightly belated addition to the year list. No marsh tits today though..and with all the money NT bring in, why can't they commit to fixing the Orangery?

123. Grey Wagtail
124. Brambling*
125. Eurasian Nuthatch
Well done on the brambling. Had a flyover at spurn last year but can’t remember when I last saw one on the deck
Apr 04: Weetslade, North Tyneside
Finally added dunnock to my year list, along with skylark...hoping for a mabbotti Iberian dunnock at the back end of the year if I can get up into the hills, a potential future split...so I paid more attention than usual to its facial markings so as to better appreciate any future encounter back in Portugal.
Best part of the day wasn't a year tick though - 28 fieldfares feeding up in one of the skylark exclosures - expect they'll be off across the North Sea soon.

126. Dunnock (ssp. occidentalis)
127. Eurasian Skylark
Apr 25: north Newcastle on Tyne
Distracted from work by a couple of stock doves outside the window - I'm writing this as a pair of bullfinches are on the sunflower seed feeder, after seeing a group of three very bright greenfinches earlier. The possibility of a fleeting willow tit visit is making it hard to focus on work...

129. Stock Dove
May 01: Durham city
Oblivious at the time to all the lapwing-related excitement up the coast, we had a morning visit to Durham city and a stroll along the riverbank. The section downstream of Framwellgate bridge has a number of pipes in the river wall on the left bank, which are used by nesting sand martins. With the road and path directly above them, this provides excellent close views.

130. Sand Martin
May 06: Gateshead
Not a huge fan of Katie Melua, a bit too middle-of-the-road for my tastes...however my partner likes her so I treated her to a couple of tickets at The Sage. Must admit I quite enjoyed it, her backing band were good, if only she'd let her younger brother guitarist off the leash a little more...Parked by the Baltic so we could walk past the kittiwake colony nesting there, so got another year list species in a period when I'm stuck in working most of the time.

131. Black-legged Kittiwake
May 10: South Buckinghamshire
Work visit to a site west of Uxbridge - I was supposed to be focussed on vegetation, but paused at some bramble scrub with a singing garden warbler, giving very brief and for me, uncountable views. Had better luck with a whitethroat, and finally saw a rabbit!!!

Garden Warbler (heard-only)
132. Common Whitethroat

7. Rabbit
May 13: Weetslade, North Tyneside
Travelling back to Portugal so only one chance to get out on Global Big Day, and do a global very small day of less than an hours' birding. I had one target in mind which I wanted to see again this year, and am unlikely to do so if I wait for my return from Portugal - willow warbler.
Four territories on my short walk, the first singing high in a group of trees and couldn't pick out - the second an excellent view in a hedgerow, third much more brief, and fourth heard-only.
Not sure how much longer we'll be able to hear willow warblers in lowland sites like this, given the ongoing range contraction - as if to emphasise the changing avifauna and changing climate, I heard my first Cetti's warbler on this site today.
A slightly less exciting addition to the mammal list at the bird feeders...

133. Willow Warbler

8. Brown Rat
May 18: Santa Luzia saltpans
Took a walk back to Tavira along the track which skirts the northern edge of the saltpans. Although we're past the migration season, still quite a lot to see including Iberian magpie, Sardinian warblers, black-winged stilts, avocets, flamingos, redshank, Kentish plover, turnstone, and a lone breeding plumage sanderling. It's also a reliable site for bee-eaters in summer, with a group of 4 hawking over the saltpans and adjoining orchards.

135. European Bee-eater
May 26: Santa Luzia
Took a walk at dusk between Santa Luzia and Pedras del Rei, along the road between the Ria Formosa salt marsh and agricultural land inland. Unfortunately the latter is being increasingly converted to citrus groves, with little pasture left and therefore no cattle egrets and less little owl habitats. Still managed to see three perched on power lines, as well as a more distant black-winged kite; I was wondering whether we'd still see red-necked nightjar here (having seen my first here last year), when one flew over the road and crossed the channel to Tavira Island - followed by another a short while later.

137. Red-necked Nightjar
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May 28: Mértola, Alentejo
Had a hire car for a few days, so took advantage of the temporarily increased mobility to leave the Algarve for a day trip to Mertola, not much more than an hour away from us, but a very different landscape. Saved exploring sites further afield for another day and focussed on the town. Added a couple of obvious omissions from the year list in spotless starling on rooftops, and a couple of flypast red-rumped swallows amongst the multitude of house martins. Kingfishers have also proved elusive, but saw one on the tributary river from a vantage point in the town - I was disappointed not to see more lesser kestrels though - my partner had a couple of flypasts before I saw one while scanning from the top of the castle, probably coming from the convent to the south where I believe the main breeding sites are located. The castle itself obliged with a pair of blue rock thrushes - first I've seen since Japan in 2018.
We ended with a short walk by the Guadiana, where a nightingale and golden oriole singing in riverside trees proved frustratingly invisible - it never ceases to amaze me how a brightly coloured bird can remain hidden in a single poplar tree...fortunately saw another shortly after, a nice male flying up the Guadiana in plain site - before disappearing into another poplar...

138. Spotless Starling
139. Common Kingfisher*
140. Red-rumped Swallow*
141. Blue Rock Thrush*
142. Lesser Kestrel*
Common Nightingale (heard-only*)
143. Golden Oriole*
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June 05: Tavira Island
Non-birding friend visiting, but still managed to see quite a lot on a beach walk on Tavira Island from Barril to Terra Estreita, followed by a ferry to Santa Luzia and walk back to Tavira through the saltpans.
Kentish plovers on the beach and in the saltpans - more surprising for the time of year was a small flock of summer plumage sanderling on the beach, and immature gannets offshore. Didn't see any Audouin's or Mediterranean gulls around today, but little terns are back along the shore and in the Gilau estuary.

144. Little Tern

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