• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

kb57's 2024 Year List (2 Viewers)


Well-known member
Happy New Year everyone - hope you all have a great year's birding.

This year I have a simple resolution, which is to get out birding a lot more often than I did last year, even if it just means a quick visit to a local site. To help me along and define a target, I'm going to try and achieve the 2024 eBird challenge of an average of one completed list for every day of the year - in practice this means more birding to compensate for days when I don't get out. Less well defined aims like achieving a better work-life balance never work for me, my freelance work has taken up more time than I thought since I packed in my business, although I am going to try and wind down a little, and hopefully make time to learn more Portuguese.

Don't know if I'm going to achieve any of my 'bucket list' targets this year either, which is a bit concerning as I'm not getting any younger...but there are a whole lot of birding opportunities close to hand now to explore, in southern Portugal and Andalucia, so I'm not going to fret about not getting to Antarctica this year!
In terms of my year list, I have a very modest target to surpass of 164 from last year - it would be good to at least reach 200 in Europe this year, which should mean I've been out birding and enjoying the outdoors a little more.

As before, IOC taxonomy and English names (or my imperfect approximation thereof)...lifers in bold and species not seen last year with an asterisk
Last edited:
Jan 01: north Newcastle on Tyne
We were meant to spending New Year's Eve in Tavira, but due to a personal commitment my partner had to postpone her flight back, and we spent the evening at her place. This has never been the same since I learned that Jools Holland recorded the Hootenanny sometime in July or whatever and wasn't actually live (I know, I was like the big kid that still believed in Santa...)...and stepping outside during the bells failed to produce any sign of tawny owls.

01. Common Wood Pigeon
02. Eurasian Blue Tit
03. Eurasian Bullfinch
04. Common Chaffinch
05. European Goldfinch
06. Carrion Crow
07. Common Blackbird
08. European Robin

St. Mary's Island, North Tyneside
A visit to the busy promenade / undisturbed rocky foreshore has in the past provided great views of purple sandpipers and a decent selection of waders, but was strangely empty today with just a few gulls a pied wagtail and a couple of curlews. In total contrast, the sanctuary area on the island rocks were a veritable seal fest, with more grey seals plus pups than I ever remember seeing. Didn't have long enough to explore further north, might've produced more sea duck, divers, fulmars etc.

09. Common Starling
10. European Herring Gull
11. Black-headed Gull
12. Great Cormorant
13. White Wagtail (ssp. yarrellii)
14. Eurasian Curlew
15. Grey Heron
16. Common Kestrel
17. Common Pheasant
18. Eurasian Teal

01. Grey Seal

Near Cramlington, Northumberland
Flock of lapwings flying over the road.

19. Northern Lapwing

Back home (and missing from my eBird lists)

20. Great Tit

Gosforth Golf Club, Newcastle
Caddying for my partner, who was keen to try out her new Christmas present (a golf GPS) on a few holes. We had the course to ourselves, which made for a relaxed part-round - even though I got into trouble for counting the numerous gulls loafing on the fairways when I was supposed to be watching where her ball landed...mammal number 2 was another 'grey' (or should I say 'gray'?) species...

21. Eurasian Magpie
22. Western Jackdaw
23. Mallard
24. Common Gull
25. Dunnock

02. Grey Squirrel

Headed for the airport in the evening for country no.2 of the year...
Last edited:
Jan 02: Portmarnock beach, Dublin, Ireland
Arrived in Dublin for my stopover on the way to Portugal the previous evening, getting to my hotel bar just in time to see Jota's audition for the Royal Ballet in Newcastle's penalty area. It took a couple of pints of Guinness and a read of Arjan Dwarshuis's Big Year book to recover.
Left my bags at reception and set out with just my binoculars (and a waterproof - rain was forecast) to walk down Portmarnock beach, and across the dunes to Baldoyle Bay.
Highlights were hooded crows and rooks providing close views, as well as a CARRION CROW - this is a 'rare' on eBird which will hopefully pass muster, watched at close range (I was looking at every crow because it's great to see hoodies again...)...then a winter plumage GC grebe just beyond the surf, a species it took me ages to see last year.

26. Hooded Crow *
27. Rook
28. Eurasian Oystercatcher
29. Great Crested Grebe

Baldoyle Bay SPA, Dublin
Walked around the northern head of the bay, slightly frustrated I didn't have my 'scope...I actually had the eyepiece back in the hotel, I have two 'scopes in UK and Portugal but only one eyepiece...small groups of pale-bellied Brent geese were heading north, presumably towards Malahide Estuary. A couple of birders were scoping the bay from the north side - I assumed they were counting waterfowl, but it turned out there'd been a regular water pipit visiting a favourite freshwater spring at the head of the saltmarsh. I'd just missed it, but got two sets of flight views, one pretty good, and heard it call, but it was reluctant to return. As a 'lifer' this was on the outer margins of tick-able for me, but I took it. Good to meet friendly local birders too.
After an excellent breakfast of poached eggs, rocket and bacon at 'Il Panorama' in Portmarnock, I walked via the Greenway footpath (not actually very green, but added meadow pipit and reed bunting) to the southern part of the bay. Some great close views of waders including bar-tailed godwits from the path.

30. Brant Goose (ssp. hrota) *
31. Common Shelduck
32. Common Redshank
33. Great black-backed Gull
34. Common Greenshank
35. European Stonechat
Eurasian Wren (heard-only)
36. Water Pipit
37. Eurasian Collared Dove
38. Long-tailed Tit
39. Mute Swan
40. Little Grebe
41. House Sparrow
42. Meadow Pipit
43. Common Reed Bunting
44. Dunlin
45. Bar-tailed Godwit
46. Grey Plover
47. Ruddy Turnstone

Howth Harbour, Dublin
Took the DART one stop to Howth - the original intention had been to walk to Howth Head, but water pipits and poached eggs had delayed me slightly, and the light rain was gradually getting heavier, so I focussed on the harbour. I'd hoped for black guillemot (and based on eBird reports, possible great northern diver) at the south end of Baldoyle Bay, but still had hopes of seeing the former here - I'd had winter black guillemots before in breeding harbours. No luck today, but the pipit-fest continued with two tame rock pipits a metre or two away from me on the outer harbour wall. I'd had some really close-up birds today, but this was the best. Eventually scored an auk - another great view but a common guillemot, shamefully absent from my 2023 list. As 2pm approached the rain was getting worse and it was time for me to bail out and get an Uber back to the airport via my hotel.

48. Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon)
49. European Shag
50. European Rock Pipit
51. Common Murre *
Last edited:
Jan 03: Salinas do Forte do Rato, Tavira, Portugal
My three countries in three days challenge continued with a couple of hours morning visit to the local saltpans, after an alba white wagtail in the street outside the apartment - no time for the full circuit, I drove down to the coast and started from there. Apart from the expected species, highlights for me were a couple of red-legged partridges flushed from an area of dry saltmarsh - one of the common species I haven't added to my Portugal list yet, these really were proper wild birds with a strongly developed flight reaction! Another was a male marsh harrier flyover, causing panic amongst a small group of spoonbills (would a marsh harrier attack a spoonbill I wonder? - certainly the better defended grey heron and little egret didn't react). The next highlight was a close flypast slender-billed gull, the first time I've seen a pink-flushed individual. I also got snipe in more or less the same spot I saw one last year, obviously a favoured area locally.

White Wagtail (ssp. alba)
52. Sardinian Warbler
53. Pied Avocet
54. Black-winged Stilt
55. Sanderling
56. Red-legged Partridge *
57. European Serin
58. Common Snipe
59. Lesser Black-backed Gull
60. Whimbrel
61. Common Ringed Plover
62. Kentish Plover
63. Greater Flamingo
64. Little Egret
65. Eurasian Spoonbill
66. Western Marsh Harrier *
67. Yellow-legged Gull
68. Black-tailed Godwit
69. Slender-billed Gull
70. Common Linnet

My best start to a new year for a good while - although visiting three countries might just be regarded as cheating, there was a lot of similarity of habitat, and in fact a few species common to all three days (curlew, grey heron, pied / white wagtail, goldfinch). Were it not for needing to meet my partner at Faro airport tomorrow, I'd have been tempted to hop across the border to Spain and make it 4 countries in four days...
Last edited:
Jan 04: Tavira
A short break from work added some year list ticks from the apartment balcony, during a period of relatively high bird activity and low disturbance from passers-by. Black redstart was unfortunately absent - my no. 1 species of 2023; given I believe that they are site-faithful to wintering territories, I'm worried she might've succumbed to one of the local cats - what was possibly the same female bird was around at the end of last year.
A noisy flock of wheezing greenfinches initially tempted me outside, but I also had great views of foraging chiffchaff, white wagtails, goldfinches, and a couple of male blackcaps - one of which was making a very poor attempt at singing, getting into practice for the breeding season when they fly back north. Two flyover crag martins completed what was a good collection of some of the most frequently observed wintering species.

71. European Greenfinch
72. Common Chiffchaff
73. Eurasian Crag Martin
74. Eurasian Blackcap
Last edited:
Jan 04: Tavira
After meeting my wife at the airport, a coffee and stroll along the Ria frontage at Santa Luzia failed to produce any new year list species, but got some great close-range views of whimbrel on the foreshore. Back at the apartment, we were standing out on the balcony, sheltered from heavy rain when she pointed out a large flock of birds flying overhead - at least 70 glossy ibis heading south! A new and unexpected seen-from apartment tick.

75. Glossy Ibis

Jan 05: Tavira
A spell of observation from the balcony produced two hoopoes feeding on the lawn outside the apartment, larger numbers of crag martins overhead, and a robin - then a female black redstart appeared! If it is the same one, reassuring to see her back! Later in the day got great views of avocets, black-winged stilts, black-tailed godwits, dunlin and a couple of slender-billed gulls at the saltpans near to Tavira market.

76. Eurasian Hoopoe
77. Black Redstart

Jan 06: Tavira
Spent a little bit of time by the river in the centre of Tavira, drawing a blank with the potential Caspian terns and common sandpipers. Thought this was going to be our first blank day, but managed to spot a spotless starling on a TV aerial on the walk back.

78. Spotless Starling

Jan 08: Quatro Aguas, Tavira
The previous day was the first blank in terms of new species, and a ride in the ferry downriver to Tavira Island failed to produce anything until we docked at Quatro Aguas to pick up passengers, then watched a Sandwich tern fishing at close range. I contrived to miss crested lark on the island whilst having a coffee.

79. Sandwich Tern
Last edited:
Jan 10: Trafal Lagoon, near Quarteira
A rare foray west of Faro to check out one of the coastal lagoon sites we've never visited before. A really bird-rich site, including numerous chiffchaffs hawking for insects, lots of shoveler and teal, a small flock of Audouin's gulls, great views of glossy ibis, a quartering female / immature marsh harrier, and a couple of swallows. In contrast the largely dry Foz do Almargem located a short walk away was a disappointment, holding a total of 5 shoveler...

80. Northern Shoveler
81. Gadwall
82. Audouin's Gull
83. Eurasian Coot
84. White Stork
85. Barn Swallow
86. Common Moorhen

Partner wanted to visit the marina area - have to say not that impressed as lots of high-rise development, and mostly closed up with a real out-of-season seaside resort feel. We did manage to find an ice-cream and coffee shop open, and added crested lark to the year list near the seafront.

87. Crested Lark

The observant will have noted I've deleted my skylark - I think it was just a rather plain-faced, flat-crested crested lark...
Last edited:
Jan 13: Barril, Tavira Island
Common sandpiper on the saltmarsh near Pedras del Rei then a few gannets offshore from Barril beach - Mediterranean gull flying down the shoreline added a third species for the day. Nice view of a Caspian Tern fishing in the Canal do Tavira too.

89. Common Sandpiper
90. Northern Gannet
91. Mediterranean Gull


  • Common sandpiper PDR.jpg
    Common sandpiper PDR.jpg
    3.3 MB · Views: 1
  • Caspian Tern PDR 1.jpg
    Caspian Tern PDR 1.jpg
    1.3 MB · Views: 1
Last edited:
Jan 14: Lagoa de Aldeia Nova, nr Vila Real do Santo Antonio
First visit to this little gem of a site - a small reed-fringed lagoon set in pinewoods just behind the dunes. Woods were busy with Sunday afternoon walkers but the lagoon is fenced off, still allowing close views, especially of red-crested pochard. An altercation between a western swamp hen and a coot was a highlight, along with ferruginous duck and a flock of Iberian magpies moving noisily through the trees.

92. Red-crested Pochard *
93. Tufted Duck
94. Common Pochard
95. Western Swamphen
96. Ferruginous Duck *
Cetti's Warbler (heard-only)
97. Iberian Magpie

EDIT: for some reason I forgot to add Ferruginous Duck to my year list...


  • RC Pochard 5 reeds cropped.jpg
    RC Pochard 5 reeds cropped.jpg
    4.8 MB · Views: 1
  • Swamphen Coot.jpg
    Swamphen Coot.jpg
    2.8 MB · Views: 1
Last edited:
Jan 18: Loulé
Took in a bit of culture on a wet day with a visit to the town of Loulé, including an art gallery where there wasn't much that would give you change from 20000 euros...partner looked up from a narrow street and saw a large soaring raptor, then a fight ensued over the single pair of binoculars we'd brought with us, so neither of us got a satisfactory view. It was big though...

Eagle sp. (putative Bonelli's...)
Jan 20: Benamor Golf, Tavira
Called in for a spell on the driving range and a coffee, to find a cattle egret hanging around on one of the little ornamental pools near the restaurant.

98. Cattle Egret

Vilamoura - Parque Ambiental and ETAR sewage lagoons
Exploring a little wider still with an unfortunately brief visit to the reed beds of the environmental park, and a look through the fence at the sewage works lagoon. Surprised by my first Portugal siskin, which seems like a northern species to me, although there are quite a lot of Algarve records. Taunted by multiple Cetti's warblers, then added kingfisher at the sewage works - and a lot more cattle egrets.

99. European Siskin
100. Common Kingfisher

My revised numbering (with the missing ferruginous duck inserted) gives me a more satisfying no. 100 in the form of a kingfisher...
Last edited:
Jan 21: Quinta do Lago saltpans / Quinta do Ludo golf course lake
The classic Faro airport circuit, made possible again due to public demand - the fencing has been cut and the security guards were absent, allowing a circuit from the public path along the golf course to the public path through the saltpans and coastal lagoons.
My visit started at high tide, so the tanks had really good numbers of waders, although nothing new for the year until I got to the northern section, where there was a soaring common buzzard over an area of open ground, and a somewhat belated addition of Zitting Cisticola - seen several times more before the end of the day. The golf course lake added wigeon and pintail, and I was feeling pretty happy when I saw a jay fly across the golf course - that was nothing compared to my next addition, courtesy of a friendly British birding couple who beckoned me across to the edge of the lake...I'll let the pictures explain...

101. Common Buzzard
102. Zitting Cisticola
103. Eurasian Wigeon
104. Northern Pintail
105. Black-headed Weaver
106. Eurasian Jay
107. Little Bittern

Taunted by several more Cetti's warblers which remain unseen, but really happy to reach 100 sooner than ever before for me.


  • Little bittern 2 QD Lago.jpg
    Little bittern 2 QD Lago.jpg
    4.8 MB · Views: 5
  • Little bittern flying QD Lago.jpg
    Little bittern flying QD Lago.jpg
    4.6 MB · Views: 4
  • Little Bittern QD Lago.jpg
    Little Bittern QD Lago.jpg
    6.4 MB · Views: 5
  • Pintail qd Lago.jpg
    Pintail qd Lago.jpg
    5.1 MB · Views: 5
Last edited:
Nice. I’ve seen two and never got close to a photo
I was really grateful to the birders who pointed it out to me, I just wouldn't have looked for a little bittern in a couple of small clumps of reeds on the near shore of the lake right by a public path!
Jan 23: Salinas do Forte do Rato, Tavira
Did a morning walk from the apartment down to the saltpans - the first tank I looked at near to the shopping mall had a few little stints, the only ones I saw the rest of the day. No other additions but an enjoyable morning's birding - the most unusual thing for me being a flock of loafing grey plover on a salt pan bund - I've seen flocks of grey plover elsewhere (Dee Estuary for example) but they seem to be relatively solitary in the Ria Formosa.

108. Little Stint
Jan 24: Castro Verde plains, Alentejo
A big day out on the Castro Verde plains, arriving at dawn at a stakeout which in my head would've had flocks of sandgrouse flying overhead, little and great bustards displaying in the fields, and great spotted cuckoos perched on every fence post. Needless to say I saw none of these species at any of the stakeouts, but I had an enjoyable day trying and managed to add a good few species to the year list.
One constant species, taking me back to my youth, was corn bunting. I added a 'lifer' in the form of Calandra lark, a flock no less, albeit a really rubbish scope view where I could just make out their distinctive chest markings. Skylarks were flocking at one stop too, but it was raptors that saved the day - a red kite and buzzard at one stop, marsh harrier at another, while a close view of a peregrine on a utility pole caused an unscheduled middle of the road stop. I also added my first Portugal lapwings, carrion crows and golden plover - I've never been into country lists, but getting into eBird listing takes you down a slippery slope, where I'm celebrating my first Iberian magpie for Castro Verde concelho...
A riverside walk near Castro Verde town brought my first definitive view of Spanish sparrow - both this species and Calandra lark are ticked off in my old copy of Petersen, Mountford and Hollom from my student travels round Europe but I have no memory of when or where I saw them, so they're classed as life birds - and raptor number 5 in the form of a black-winged kite on another utility pole. Other highlights were a close but inevitably invisible quail (maybe my first ever, not sure..) and an Iberian grey shrike forcing another unscheduled stop in the middle of an empty single-track road.

109. Corn Bunting *
110. Calandra Lark
111. Eurasian Skylark
112. Red Kite
113. Peregrine Falcon *
114. European Golden Plover
115. Spanish Sparrow
116. Black-winged Kite
Common Quail (heard-only)
117. Iberian Grey Shrike *
Last edited:
Some nice birds there. I liked calandra lark. The neck marking was much more helpful than all the different thekla and crested differences.
Some nice birds there. I liked calandra lark. The neck marking was much more helpful than all the different thekla and crested differences.
I'd still like a better view than a scoped flock feeding on the ground, and a few brief flight views at other stops - Merlin was helping me with call ID, which is quite distinctive, but then at another (lark-free) site it was completely fooled by spotless starlings mimicking Calandra lark calls from a power line just behind me!
The only other species likely to be flocking at this time is skylark, which I did see at one site and was confident to ID with flight calls.
There are reports of both Thekla's and crested larks from the Castro Verde area, but I wouldn't have felt confident to call any of them as the former - I'm just going to have to get out to the far western Algarve (where I believe Thekla's are much more likely) and study closely.

Users who are viewing this thread