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Maenad's 2011 List (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
7 May 2011

I saw my first House Martins over Banbury as I walked back from voting in the AV referendum on Thursday night, and then today, as the rain stopped over Waitrose in Brackley, my first two swifts of the year.

118. Common Swift


Well-known member
14 May 2011

We took a trip to Otmoor this morning, but a gusty wind kept most of the small birds down. A drake Garganey was in the pools by the hide, and we may have glimpsed a Garden Warbler near the feeder, but not well enough to call. A fair number of Reed Warblers taunted me from the reeds, but in the end I added only one bird to my year list.

119. Sedge Warbler

This was the first visit though where the boy was able to walk part of the way (OK a hundred metres) holding my hands. At almost 16 months, he is getting very excited by Woodpigeons, not to mention Blackbirds feeding in the park. We might make a birdwatcher of him yet ;).
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Well-known member
15 May 2011

A change of tactics today really paid off. We stayed local and visited two sites on either side of town. The boy loved seeing the cows beside Grimsbury Reservoir, and it was a good thing we weren't trying to be surreptitious, as he sang all the way round the local fields!

120. Common Tern
121. Yellow Wagtail
122. Corn Bunting
123. Green Woodpecker

Corn Bunting is my first for a couple of years (since Cyprus 2009, I think).


Well-known member
24 May 2011

Do you ever feel it in your bones that a good bird is in the area? I walked home from the station at an unusual time today, and just had a funny feeling that I should stop for a minute at the river. Nothing on one side of the bridge, a party of mallards on the other, but I held my nerve, in spite of the funny looks from passers-by. My reward - a bright flash of electric blue as a kingfisher shot out of the vegetation and up the stream.

124. Common Kingfisher


Well-known member
5 June 2011

No time at all for 'proper' birdwatching, but on the way home from the garden centre this morning, we were lucky enough to spot a Hobby over RAF Bicester. As it happens, we shortly thereafter realised we were going the wrong way, had to turn round, and saw it again on the way back.

125. Hobby


Well-known member
28 June 2011

Domestic cares have stopped us doing any birdwatching for ages - I haven't had the binoculars out in weeks. It doesn't sound like that situation is going to change any time soon, but fortunately, I happened to look out of the train window this afternoon to see two Grey Partridges fly up from a field beside the line.

126. Grey Partridge


Well-known member
17 September 2011

At last! Since my last update, we've managed to buy a house and move into it, so birdwatching this summer has been non-existent. We celebrated the move, though, with a day at Slimbridge, and I added a good number of year ticks, and some very pleasing lifers.

127. Green Sandpiper
128. Common Sandpiper
130. Dotterel
133. Arctic Tern
134. Greenshank
135. Black Tern

Dotterel and Arctic Tern were UK firsts as well as 2011 firsts. So all in all, a successful day!


Well-known member
9 October 2011

My next addition to the list isn't particularly showy - for most birders, I expect it's a spring staple, ticked off in March/April as a matter of course. But I'm particularly proud of it because I truly found this one myself on the local patch. No one mentioned that they were around, pointed me in the right direction, told me what to look for. And for a bad birder like me, it's very exciting to find:

136. Northern Wheatear

Doubly exciting because it was only 5 minutes away from our new house! The fields were rippling with small birds yesterday - hundreds of Linnets, Greenfinches, Yellowhammers; Skylarks flying at head height by the path; and two Wheatears hopping about in the corner.


Well-known member
12 November 2011

Oh dear. It should have been a lovely day at Slimbridge. Unfortunately, LP has reached the age where he doesn't want to be pushed around in his buggy - he wants to 'walk, Walk, WALK' all the time. To compound our misery, the hides were so busy that we could barely reach the windows even in the brief periods when he was co-operating. The best moment for me came in the Rushy hide, when a flock of Lapwings suddenly took to the air and I spotted the Peregrine that had startled them. It may even have had a successful hunt, as its flight was rather laboured as it headed away, but I couldn't see clearly enough to be sure.

137. Peregrine

Bah humbug.

The good news is that I've now equalled last year's total (hooray). I have a few prospects for a tick or two more in December. We're heading to Scotland, and with a bit of luck will pick up Red-breasted Merganser, which I missed in the spring, at the coast without too much trouble. With the help of babysitting grandparents, we might also get a diver or two, Whooper Swan, who knows?


Well-known member
10 December 2011

My kind husband gave me the afternoon off today, and dropped me off at Otmoor before taking the toddler away to the shops. The reserve was very dry and conspicuously short of birds for the most part. I had to hear the regret-inducing words 'there was a Hen Harrier over there a minute ago' - I never did track it down - but it was all made worthwhile by the sight of two Short-eared Owls hunting over the grassland. So I've beaten my list for 2010 with my first owl (!) of the year!

138. Short-eared Owl


Well-known member
17 December 2011

We had high hopes for the end of the year, as we were planning on doing lots of birding in Scotland on our Christmas trip. Unfortunately, we've suffered various disasters, including illness for all the family, so only a few more ticks to add.

At Caerlaverock WWT:

139. Whooper Swan


Well-known member
20 December 2011

At Irvine, a year tick and a UK tick:

140. Red-breasted Merganser
141. Red-throated Diver


Well-known member
26 December 2011

At the ballast bank in Troon. A quick burst of seawatching in very stormy conditions while the toddler had a nap gave us some more divers, a couple of gannets, and an auk.

142. Razorbill


Well-known member
The End

Well, 142 species in the UK this year, with very little birding done from May to September, isn't exactly awful, but not great either. To be honest, the list was becoming more of a chore than a pleasure towards the end of the year, as it became more difficult to keep watching for that new species at the same time as entertaining the toddler. At almost two, he is no longer a little bundle to be wheeled about in a pram, but rather a very lively and energetic boy who always wants to be doing rather than sitting. So for 2012, I've decided not to keep a year list. I'll still go out to watch the birds, but I'll just be taking pleasure in whatever I see rather than chasing the next species.

Or, as my husband pointed out this morning, if it turns into a cracking year, I can always compile a retrospective list... :-O:-O:-O

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