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Top 10 Birds of 2020 (1 Viewer)

dwatsonbirder

Well-known member
No overseas trips for me this year either, and aside from a week in Cornwall and Northumberland very little time elsewhere.
In no particular order;
Firecrest - one in the garden and immediate environs during the 1st lockdown was the sign of a promising start to my lockdown garden list...
Honey Buzzard (garden and Somerset tick) (additionally there were 3 Osprey over my garden during the lockdown and I missed a fourth!)
Marsh warbler (Somerset and self-found tick)
Green winged teal (self-found tick) during our week in Northumberland
Dusky warbler(s) - one of which we found, and was joined by a second bird in the same tree - (unexpected to say the least in the UK) during our week in Northumberland
Red flanked bluetail - two together in Northumberland was special, and I hadn't seen one for a few years. Still a big blank on my self-found list...
Little Bittern* (self-found and Somerset tick *pending acceptance from BBRC)
Wood warbler (self-found and patch tick)
Goshawk - probably my best views of this species this year, and lucky to see them fairly regularly now we've moved to the Forest of Dean
Red footed falcon - Best views of this species, with a 2cy male within 40mins of home and cruising 3m above my head at one point

I won't mention the Laughing or Ring billed gulls that other people found on my patch in the spring...

Hoping for a healthy (and Covid - free) 2021, with some overseas travel. Stay safe all.

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lgonz1008

Well-known member
No overseas trips for me this year either, and aside from a week in Cornwall and Northumberland very little time elsewhere.
In no particular order;
Firecrest - one in the garden and immediate environs during the 1st lockdown was the sign of a promising start to my lockdown garden list...
Honey Buzzard (garden and Somerset tick) (additionally there were 3 Osprey over my garden during the lockdown and I missed a fourth!)
Marsh warbler (Somerset and self-found tick)
Green winged teal (self-found tick) during our week in Northumberland
Dusky warbler(s) - one of which we found, and was joined by a second bird in the same tree - (unexpected to say the least in the UK) during our week in Northumberland
Red flanked bluetail - two together in Northumberland was special, and I hadn't seen one for a few years. Still a big blank on my self-found list...
Little Bittern* (self-found and Somerset tick *pending acceptance from BBRC)
Wood warbler (self-found and patch tick)
Goshawk - probably my best views of this species this year, and lucky to see them fairly regularly now we've moved to the Forest of Dean
Red footed falcon - Best views of this species, with a 2cy male within 40mins of home and cruising 3m above my head at one point

I won't mention the Laughing or Ring billed gulls that other people found on my patch in the spring...

Hoping for a healthy (and Covid - free) 2021, with some overseas travel. Stay safe all.

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How is the Little Bittern not accepted? Were you not able to get photo proof? Just wondering because here when you get a distinct species like that you have a somewhat easy time getting it approved, especially with confirmation through eBird.
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
A great selection! I'd say that #8, Short-tailed Albatross, is up there with the first 2, at least for me!
I'd agree with that - in fact those species are near the top of my all-time list, based on my Japan trip in 2018. Short-tailed Albatross was actually my first ever albatross species, seen from land on Miyake-jima as I walked back along the coastal road to the harbour.

As far as 2020 is concerned, with only one 'lifer' (Iberian Grey Shrike) and precious little birding, I'm struggling to think of too many positive memories. My bird of the year though is Willow Tit - a species of high conservation concern in Britain, which still seems to be doing OK (maybe a little better recently?) in parts of NE England. Seeing one in my partner's garden, and another in a woodland a short distance from my house, reminded me that sometimes it's good to appreciate nature close to home.
 

connorco

Well-known member
United States
My Top 10, in no particular order.
1. American Three-toed Woodpecker (Park, MT), long needed bird that has evaded me for awhile. Finally got looks.
2. McCown's Longspur (Sweetgrass, MT), cool to see them on the breeding grounds in breeding plumage.
3. Upland Sandpiper (Sweetgrass, MT), another bird that has evaded me, nice looks at them singing on fenceposts.
4. Cassia Crossbill (Cassia, ID) A real local and cool bird. I missed photos/audio unfortunately.
5. Black-and-white Warbler (Marin, CA) Actually found two of these rarities in my home county this year, always fun to see.
6. Worm-eating Warbler (Marin, CA). Really annoyed as the first county record of this species in 10 years was found in my patch by someone else, but they weren't sure about the ID. Luckily I was able to refind it. Unfortunately, It was super secretive, and no one was able to find it.
7. Black-chinned Hummingbird (Marin, CA) Self-found rarity in my yard. First inland record for the county.
8. Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Marin, CA)(I think I called it out) Co-found rarity. Vary rare for the state.
9. Leach's Storm Petrel (San Francisco, CA) Co-found. I guess it's considered a rarity. They breed in tiny numbers on the Farallons, but are almost impossible to find off the islands, especially in summer. The big thing was it was my 400th California Bird.
10. Cassin's Finch (Marin, CA) Co-found (I believe I called it out), flyover at a skywatch. 300th Marin County bird.
 

dwatsonbirder

Well-known member
How is the Little Bittern not accepted? Were you not able to get photo proof? Just wondering because here when you get a distinct species like that you have a somewhat easy time getting it approved, especially with confirmation through eBird.
The record is submitted to the national records committee who pass judgement on the sighting, sadly no photos (I rarely carry a camera) but I think there are some recordings and it was subsequently seen by others. If it is accepted then great, if not I won't lose sleep over it - I had a good year for rarities anyways!
 

KenM

Well-known member
As I've been mostly in Lockdown my top-ten were all viewed from the house- Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, 33 Brent Geese, Marsh Harrier, 3 Woodlark, Honey Buzzard, Pied Flycatcher, Melodious Warbler, Nightingale, Yellow-browed Warbler and Firecrest, virtually Dawn to Dusking all year with a mid-day average 7-10k walk and managing to image six out the ten. In all so far with two weeks to go, I'm still two short of a hundred and am hanging-on-in!
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
My Top 10, in no particular order.
1. American Three-toed Woodpecker (Park, MT), long needed bird that has evaded me for awhile. Finally got looks.
2. McCown's Longspur (Sweetgrass, MT), cool to see them on the breeding grounds in breeding plumage.
3. Upland Sandpiper (Sweetgrass, MT), another bird that has evaded me, nice looks at them singing on fenceposts.
4. Cassia Crossbill (Cassia, ID) A real local and cool bird. I missed photos/audio unfortunately.
5. Black-and-white Warbler (Marin, CA) Actually found two of these rarities in my home county this year, always fun to see.
6. Worm-eating Warbler (Marin, CA). Really annoyed as the first county record of this species in 10 years was found in my patch by someone else, but they weren't sure about the ID. Luckily I was able to refind it. Unfortunately, It was super secretive, and no one was able to find it.
7. Black-chinned Hummingbird (Marin, CA) Self-found rarity in my yard. First inland record for the county.
8. Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Marin, CA)(I think I called it out) Co-found rarity. Vary rare for the state.
9. Leach's Storm Petrel (San Francisco, CA) Co-found. I guess it's considered a rarity. They breed in tiny numbers on the Farallons, but are almost impossible to find off the islands, especially in summer. The big thing was it was my 400th California Bird.
10. Cassin's Finch (Marin, CA) Co-found (I believe I called it out), flyover at a skywatch. 300th Marin County bird.
Your top 3 are among my targets next year during a family trip to Glacier and Yellowstone, fingers crossed I can get them and a few other targets, Three-toed Woodpecker is probably one of my main targets, so I'm glad you were able to catch up with it!
 

foresttwitcher

Virtually unknown member
United Kingdom
Lovely list! A winter Hokkaido trip is one of my most highly anticipated outings in the next few years, I've been wanting to do this trip for a long time, and I think we're about due. I had several albatrosses I wanted to add to my list, but with only 10 spots I didn't put one in. I should have. Albatrosses are like the Burrowing Parrots for me... doesn't matter how many times I see them, they are just awesome.
Do it if you can; 2 weeks in Japan in winter was my best birding trip so far. I too could have added so many more species but all 3 Albatrosses had to go on as they were my first and all on the same afternoon from a ferry.
 

Mr_K

Well-known member
Let's be honest, saying 2020 was a bad year it's like saying the sun is a star, we know it already, so let's move along. But it's always good to think of the positives even in the worst of times, one positive for me was adding a total of 15 species to my Florida life list which brought me to the milestone of 300 species in my home state (more on the later). But with all of these birds were the best experiences for me? I figured I'd make a list of the best birds I saw this year and I encourage everyone to do the same, if nothing else it would be a great sendoff to the year and maybe this list will be changed in the second half of the month, who knows?

One rule I put myself was that every bird in my top 10 needed to be photographed so that everyone can see my attempts on remembering some of the best moments of the year for me personally.

Honorable Mentions:
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Least Bittern
  • Burrowing Owl
  • Gold-winged Warbler
  • Black-faced Grassquit
Enough delay, here is the actual list with the reason included:
10. Eastern Bluebird (First time I photographed the species and it was the last Bluebird I needed to photograph)​
09. Cuban Pewee (Only sighting I had of this bird before was in the Bahamas, far away and in the rain)​
08. Wood Duck (Seen before, but usually far away and never 100% sure they were wild birds)​
07. Eastern Towhee (One of my favorite sparrows and it was amazing having a family of 5 at eye level less than 10 feet away from me!)​
06. Olive-sided Flycatcher (First record of this species for my county, best showing record for Florida and I was able to see it very easily)​
05. Greater Scaup (Last lifer of the year, Golden-winged Warbler would be here if it wasn't that the photos for it are nonexistent)​
04. Florida Scrub-Jay (Top 5 birds I have in my life list, so it's hard to not have it somewhere)​
03. Common Hill Myna (One of the best exotics I saw this year and it was nice seeing this established bird that's sadly on it's way out in the region)​
02. Bullock's Oriole (300th Florida State Bird for me! Just saw it this morning and it made me very glad I waited until now to make this list)​
01. Northern Bobwhite (Hard to beat the 300 milestone, but having only seen the bird before in the same conditions as the Cuban Pewee in Bahamas, having a chance of seeing a pair of them for 10-20 minutes next to my car and getting amazing shots, it was my clear best bird of the year since July)​
Hope to know what everyone's picks are for 2020 and here's to better birding in 2021!​
Good pictures!
 

wheatearlp

Well-known member
England
This is the year that makes us thankful for what we have close to home and I think anyone would be very happy to have a Lammergeier and a male Smew in their home county!
The Lammergeier/Bearded Vulture wasn't in my own county! It would have been amazing had it been but it was on one of my three trips of of county.
Very little birding done this year, so finding 10 species might be a stretch as I've only been birding out of the county three times! A trip to Norfolk in January gave me my number two, the South Yorkshire moors was no. 1 and a trip to Steart for the breeding Black-winged Stilts.

1. Bearded Vulture - lifer... maybe 😉, but impressive
2. Eastern Yellow Wagtail - lifer
3. Red-flanked Bluetail - county tick
4. Glaucous Gull - self-found local patch-tick, first for 48 years!
5. Cattle Egret - local patch-tick
6. Rough-legged Buzzard - 3rd in UK
7. Black-winged Stilt - nice to see one of the chicks
8. Waxwing - my first in the county for 4-5 years
9. Snow Bunting - just nice to see 30+ flock
10. Smew - first full male in the county

I've probably forgotten something, but it's not likely to improve the above list!
 

PieWie

Well-known member
With only three weeks abroad (new Zealand and the doomed WPO and a week at Falsterbo, Sweden) most of the birding was at home in the Netherlands. Still it was a pretty good year here and got a few very nice birds including a lifer, something that does not happen too often.

1 little spotted kiwi (my second kiwi but the best views of the two)
2 oriental plover (the 1st for The Netherlands and a lifer!)
3 blackpoll warbler (any american warbler is special here, a first for the Netherlands)
4 Wrybill (I love waders and this one is really weird)
5 little crake (my second this year of the species but the views were amazing, almost walking over my feet for over 2 hours)
6 little curlew (stayed over from 2019 but gave excellent views in January)
7 polynesian stormpetrel (not the best views but hey, it's a poly stormy!)
8 woodchat shrike (my third self found one in The Netherlands)
9 takahe (wow...)
10 green warbler (a first for the Netherlands but a bit boring species...)

and now let's hope that we can travel again next year...

Pierre
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
With only three weeks abroad (new Zealand and the doomed WPO and a week at Falsterbo, Sweden) most of the birding was at home in the Netherlands. Still it was a pretty good year here and got a few very nice birds including a lifer, something that does not happen too often.

1 little spotted kiwi (my second kiwi but the best views of the two)
2 oriental plover (the 1st for The Netherlands and a lifer!)
3 blackpoll warbler (any american warbler is special here, a first for the Netherlands)
4 Wrybill (I love waders and this one is really weird)
5 little crake (my second this year of the species but the views were amazing, almost walking over my feet for over 2 hours)
6 little curlew (stayed over from 2019 but gave excellent views in January)
7 polynesian stormpetrel (not the best views but hey, it's a poly stormy!)
8 woodchat shrike (my third self found one in The Netherlands)
9 takahe (wow...)
10 green warbler (a first for the Netherlands but a bit boring species...)

and now let's hope that we can travel again next year...

Pierre
Always fun to see some birds from New Zealand, but the rarities you got in the Netherlands kind of amaze me, especially that little Blackpoll since they are only found in my area during Spring migration (they are a dime a dozen birds then, but still one of my favorite warblers).
 

lammergeier05

Daniele Mitchell
Started off 2020 wrapping up a trip to Colombia
Hooded Antpitta, Otun Quimbaya
Multicolored Tanager, Km 18
Lita Woodpecker, Anchicaya
Solitary Eagle
Golden-chested Tanager

Kauai in February
Akekee

Puerto Vallarta and San Blas Mexico in December
Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo
Colima Pygmy Owl
Rufous-necked Wood-Rail
Mexican Hermit
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Started off 2020 wrapping up a trip to Colombia
Hooded Antpitta, Otun Quimbaya
Multicolored Tanager, Km 18
Lita Woodpecker, Anchicaya
Solitary Eagle
Golden-chested Tanager

Kauai in February
Akekee

Puerto Vallarta and San Blas Mexico in December
Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo
Colima Pygmy Owl
Rufous-necked Wood-Rail
Mexican Hermit

Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo is a lovely bird, and I absolutely love Mexico, but it's hard to compete with Hooded Antpitta! I saw one in 2014 or 2015 before it was well known how/where to see it, and it took a lot of effort and only gave up fleeting looks - it's high on the list to get better looks at.

And I hope you had good views of the Solitary Eagle - a species I've only ever seen twice, and neither time was it the hoped for prolonged, satisfying looks. Once I had a flyover adult for just a few seconds, and once I had a perched juvenile but quite distant and in heavy rain...
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
Started off 2020 wrapping up a trip to Colombia
Hooded Antpitta, Otun Quimbaya
Multicolored Tanager, Km 18
Lita Woodpecker, Anchicaya
Solitary Eagle
Golden-chested Tanager

Kauai in February
Akekee

Puerto Vallarta and San Blas Mexico in December
Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo
Colima Pygmy Owl
Rufous-necked Wood-Rail
Mexican Hermit
All of these are great birds, but my weak spot for Tanagers makes me a bit jealous that you got to see two megas of this family in the forms of Multicolored and Golden-chested!
 

lammergeier05

Daniele Mitchell
Anchicaya Road is famous of course, but probably deserves to be much more so. Only had two days (one night) there and got rained out on much of the first but the access to montane Chocó habitat without hiking is amazing. Of course it has very rustic logistics and the road is frequently impeded by landslides but...

I had the Solitary Eagle perched quite close at eye level in the canopy just after sunbreak looking down over the slope, followed shortly thereafter by an Ornate Hawk-Eagle...

Hooded Antpitta I also got point blank looks at. Just had to climb up the road 100 m into a ravine and had it within 10 m. Could hear the bird from the roadside to know where to look.

Colombia to my eyes seemed ripe for an ecotourism boom - still comparatively few independent travellers but a wealth of small birding companies and lodges set up for range restricted endemics. Security situation significantly better than its reputation and so much left to discover. Hopefully the potential is still there post pandemic. There was even a newly discovered Antpitta - named Dancing to commemorate the nearby city of Cali’s history of Salsa. Can’t wait to go back some day.
 

lammergeier05

Daniele Mitchell
All of these are great birds, but my weak spot for Tanagers makes me a bit jealous that you got to see two megas of this family in the forms of Multicolored and Golden-chested!
Cannot underrate my recommendation for Anchicaya road, where tanager flocks also commonly include Scarlet and white, Emerald and lower down Blue-whiskered (seen) while also commonly recorded are Lemon-spectacled/Scarlet-browed (dipped). Must see!
 

Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
Started the year with a trip to Vegas (for hockey) and Arizona for birds. After that, it's been all PA and NJ. So, prioritizing world lifers, ABA lifers, and new birds for PA....

1) California Condor (AZ - world & ABA lifer)
2) Sagebrush Sparrow (AZ - world & ABA lifer)
3) Tundra Bean-goose (PA - ABA lifer and new PA bird)
4) Rose-throated Becard (AZ - ABA lifer)
5) Rufous-backed Robin (AZ - ABA lifer)
6) Rufous-capped Warbler (AZ - ABA lifer)
7) Townsend's Solitaire (PA - new PA bird)
8) Northern Wheatear (PA - new PA bird)
9) White-winged Dove (PA - new PA bird about 8 miles from my home)
10) Evening Grosbeak (PA - not new for the state, but it's been a great year for them)

Honorable mention: Allen's Hummingbird (PA - actually my 3rd for the state)
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
Started the year with a trip to Vegas (for hockey) and Arizona for birds. After that, it's been all PA and NJ. So, prioritizing world lifers, ABA lifers, and new birds for PA....

1) California Condor (AZ - world & ABA lifer)
2) Sagebrush Sparrow (AZ - world & ABA lifer)
3) Tundra Bean-goose (PA - ABA lifer and new PA bird)
4) Rose-throated Becard (AZ - ABA lifer)
5) Rufous-backed Robin (AZ - ABA lifer)
6) Rufous-capped Warbler (AZ - ABA lifer)
7) Townsend's Solitaire (PA - new PA bird)
8) Northern Wheatear (PA - new PA bird)
9) White-winged Dove (PA - new PA bird about 8 miles from my home)
10) Evening Grosbeak (PA - not new for the state, but it's been a great year for them)

Honorable mention: Allen's Hummingbird (PA - actually my 3rd for the state)
California Condor should be high on everyone's list and Townsend's Solitaire is high on mine mostly for spending a whole day on prime habitat for it last year and dipping on it
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
Cannot underrate my recommendation for Anchicaya road, where tanager flocks also commonly include Scarlet and white, Emerald and lower down Blue-whiskered (seen) while also commonly recorded are Lemon-spectacled/Scarlet-browed (dipped). Must see!
Gotta love all of those beautiful Choco endemics
 

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