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

KB57s 2023 year list (1 Viewer)

June 15: Chirk, Wales
Spent a few days in Wales on a work visit, which took in a great site in private woodland by the Dee, with a family of goosanders, common sandpiper and grey wagtails (but not any hoped-for dippers...) enriching my lunch stop. The final day before flying back from Liverpool produced a perhaps belated addition to the year list, with a family of mistle thrushes noisily moving through the trees in a small wood. Haven't seen GSW yet either, a calling individual remaining stubbornly out of site.

145. Mistle Thrush
June 23: Tavira
Lots of work to finish off so I've been head down over the computer for most of the week. Wandered out onto the balcony a short while ago while the kettle was boiling to somewhat myopically watch a hoopoe probing the lawn outside (I don't wear my contact lenses whilst doing close work...). Hoopoes are regular visitors at the moment, although always good to see - then a larger bird flew down beside it onto the pavement. Took a few seconds to sink in what I was looking at, then I backed away slowly to retrieve my binoculars, fortunately close to hand on the kitchen worktop. First apartment lifer!

146. Iberian Green Woodpecker

A really nice looking immature bird, watched for a good while presumably feeding on ants, before it flew off into the old olive grove at the end of the street.
Congratulations. A lifer on the house list is pretty much the dream isn’t it
Thanks - although moving to a new country always increases the chances, I didn't think there'd be much new I could see located on the edge of Tavira town centre with a little patch of undeveloped land between us and a rail line and road. I've been coming to this area for almost 10 years now too, so there aren't many commoner species I'm still missing - IGW do fall into the relatively common and widespread category, I've just not managed to see one before.
July 23: Vila Foia, Monchique
Escaping the heat of the lowlands for slightly less heat in a little retreat on the slopes of Foia, surrounded by cork oaks and Arbutus trees. Nuthatches very frequent and a first for us in Portugal...heard an unusual warbler call, which my partner's Merlin app IMO identified correctly, when checked with Xeno Canto - unfortunately we were unable to locate the bird, so it was another heard-only lifer...

Iberian Chiffchaff (heard-only)
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July 24: Foia, Monchique
I guess spending time in dense cloud at 14C will be good training for my return to England next month, but our early morning visit to the highest point in the Algarve wasn't great for birding...a couple of putative woodlarks disappearing into the mist, before a decent look at a female rock bunting - according to Scythebill last seen by me in Kashmir in 1981, and Nepal in 1982!

148. Rock Bunting*
Aug 01: Tavira saltpans
Although I live within walking distance of the left bank saltpans in Tavira, I've never properly visited them before. As I'm heading back to Newcastle for the rest of August tomorrow after being here since May, this was my last chance to rectify that for a while. Did a circuit via Ribeira do Almargem and saw a decent list of birds, although Audouin's gulls continue to elude me this year. Both additions to the year list were in the same salt pan quite early on in my circuit, and included a subspecific 'lifer'.

149. Curlew Sandpiper*
150. Western Yellow Wagtail* (ssp. iberiae)

The curlew sandpiper was still more or less in breeding plumage, but I had two more presumed juveniles flying over later on, with good views of their white rumps. The wagtail was quite distant, but I had a much better close view of another bird later on.
Aug 28: Warkworth, Northumberland
Managed an afternoon up at the coast for the first time during my month-long stay in Newcastle. A heavy shower on the way up helped us decide to do some birding from the Wildlife Trust's Hauxley visitor centre cafe - the lake was feral goose central, with a supporting cast including shoveler, oystercatchers, little egret and little grebe - but a close flypast sparrow hawk gave me a year list addition.
On to Warkworth beach, which the bank holiday dog walkers and families meant was mostly bird free - offshore a group of razorbills gave me another tick, while a quieter stretch of shoreline near the pier provided a rare opportunity for 4 bar-tailed godwits to feed without disturbance. Got caught in another heavy shower on the way back past the salt marsh - lots of lapwings on the estuary, and a couple of wheatears at closer range.

151. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
152. Razorbill
153. Bar-tailed Godwit
154. Northern Wheatear
Sep 14: Canal de Tavira, Portugal
For the first two weeks in September I was self-isolating with Covid in my apartment, possibly after picking up the virus on my late August flight over to Faro (or maybe I should blame Hauxley nature reserve tea room, about the only other time I was out in public!). Back to testing negative again, we decided to go for a swim in a glass-like sea at Terra Estreita. As might be expected, apart from the odd gannet and sandwich tern, it was quiet offshore - however, waiting for the ferry back across the channel to Santa Luzia we were treated to around 15 Audouin's gulls drifting past on the incoming tide. The ferry ride itself provided good close views, with what I presume were quite a few 2cy as well as adults.

155. Audouin's Gull

Sep 15: Tavira saltpans
Brief visit to the left bank saltpans near Fort de Rato - the usual waders, and a single glossy ibis.

156. Glossy Ibis*
Sep 27: Bishop Auckland area, Co. Durham
Back in UK for a work site visit - on an area of agricultural land when a skein of around 90 pink feet flew over quite low, heading more or less due south - from other reports there's clearly a lot of southward movement of this species at the moment, as you'd expect at this time of year.

157. Pink-footed Goose
Sep 30: St. Mary's Island, North Tyneside
Watching grey seals on the rocks on a spring low tide, and trying to dig out a guillemot amongst the group of offshore auks without the 'scope (concluding everything identifiable was a razorbill), when 2 or possibly 3 dolphins passed close by the rocks, including some spectacular breaching behaviour.
More pink feet overhead too, heading south but much higher then the flock I saw earlier in the week - I relied on another birder and my partner for positive ID as they could actually hear them!

10. Bottlenose Dolphin*
Oct 14: Tavira saltpans, Portugal
Had an enjoyable October Big Day around Tavira / Santa Luzia area. Got soaking wet with heavy rain in the saltpans in the morning, when I'd probably have been better checking the trees on Tavira island for migrant passerines - which were very quiet by the afternoon. Perhaps I'm a little late for the pied flycatchers which I used to see regularly on early October holidays here.
Lots to see though, but only one addition to the year list - if I was keeping a country list it would be a new bird for Portugal too.

158. Common Snipe
No idea how rare they are out there but I don’t have it on my Spanish list and bubo doesn’t have it in my first 20 or so easiest missing birds either so I guess it’s a pretty good bird in Iberia.
No idea how rare they are out there but I don’t have it on my Spanish list and bubo doesn’t have it in my first 20 or so easiest missing birds either so I guess it’s a pretty good bird in Iberia.
eBird shows that there are actually quite a few recent records in the Algarve, though a few spots seem to be more favoured than others, such as Quinta do Ludo near the airport - before mine, there hadn't been a record on this particular site since February, and it gets quite a few checklists submitted. Nowhere near as common and widespread as in UK though.
Nov 19: Quinta do Ludo, Faro
First time back on this site since January and had an unpleasant surprise to find access from the footpath alongside São Lourenço golf to the northern part of the saltpans has been blocked off, complete with security guard and CCTV cameras - had to backtrack past the golf course lagoon and return the way we came towards the west end of the airport runway. Apparently the new owner of the old farmhouse and adjoining land has taken exception to the fact he didn't get planning permission for a new hotel.
Didn't see a swamp hen today either (are there fewer around here now??) but otherwise had a decent afternoon birding, culminating in a great view of a black-winged kite hovering then flying off. Only one addition to the year list, one I could've got more easily in UK, had I been bothered to walk to Big Waters this year! A pair of great crested grebes still in breeding plumage (and still looking like a pair for that matter...).

159. Great Crested Grebe
Nov 21: Canal do Tavira
Took the ferry from town down the river to Tavira Island for lunch and a paddle on the beach, making the most of a little time off work. Distant view of an osprey from the island, flying across the channel in the direction of Cabanas.

160. Western Osprey

Wondering if it is still 'western', or do I recall a recent lumping...?
Dec 01: north Newcastle on Tyne

Back in snowy NE England...

Been distracted from work over the past couple of days by quite a few fieldfares flying around and feeding on hawthorn berries, visible from my partner's study window. Finally caught up with a few redwings amongst them just now, well lit by the rays of the low setting sun (at 15:20...).

161. Redwing

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