2016 Year List

2016 Year List (UK:137) (Total:165):
Key: Bold = Lifer. Red = Overseas Bold Red (Work it out!)

Starling, House Sparrow, Mallard, Eider, Pheasant, Red-throated Diver, Northern Fulmar, Raven, Carrion Crow, Hooded Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Robin, Rock Pipit, Rock Dove, Black Guillemot, Kittiwake, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Curlew, Redshank, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Gannet, Shag, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, Eurasian Teal, Eurasian Widgeon, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Greylag Goose, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Greenland White-fronted Goose, Great Northern Diver, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Purple Sandpiper, Collard Dove, Redwing, Fieldfare, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Red Kite, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Magpie, Lesser Redpoll, Bullfinch, Egyptian Goose, Northern Shovelar, Great Crested Grebe, Bittern, Moorhen, Coot, Ring-necked Parakeet, Stonechat, Cetti's Warbler, Wren, Canada Goose, Pintail, Pochard, Green Woodpecker, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Jay, Siskin, Gadwall, Peregrine Falcon, Long-tailed Tit, Meadow Pipit, Red-legged Partridge, Treecreeper, Shelduck, Grey Wagtail, Song Thrush, Kingfisher, Penduline Tit, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Common Sandpiper, Sandwich Tern, Sardinian Warbler, Audouin's Gull, Osprey, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Yellow-legged Gull, Blackcap, Great Egret, Marsh Harrier, Water Rail, Stone Curlew, Green Sandpiper, Serin, Common Crossbill, Reed Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush, Crag Martin, Booted Eagle, Kentish Plover, Greater Flamingo, Moustached Warbler, Purple Swamphen, Pied Avocet, Greenshank, Pink-footed Goose, Long-eared Owl, Tawny Owl, Barn Owl, Grey Partridge, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Mistle Thrush, Lapland Bunting, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Golden Pheasant, Common Snipe, Black Grouse, Red Grouse, Wheatear, Dipper, Yellowhammer, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Goosander, Velvet Scoter, Common Scoter, Common Guillemot, Razorbill, King Eider, Whimbrel, Snow Bunting, Capercaillie, Red-breasted Merganser, Slavonian Grebe, Rock Ptarmigan, Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, Black-throated Diver, White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Bar-tailed Godwit, Great Skua, Puffin, Red-crested Pochard

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Mallorca - A Day's Birding 17th Feb 2016 (1 of 2)

Wednesday 17th (1 of 2)
Today was my day for bird watching, I had a great day and owe great thanks to Mike Montier via the Forum at Mallorca Birdwatching.com and to the great publication 'Finding Birds in Mallorca' by Dave Gosney, both these resources proved invaluable.
I got up early and headed up to the Forementor region in the North-East of the island. I drove up the hill above Port Du Pollenca to the view point at the top, I arrived nice and early which is advisable as it got fairly busy about 08:00.  The views were spectacular.... and a little nerve racking, the path had the smallest of walls with gaps and a sheer 150 (ish)ft drop to the ocean below.

The purpose of this location was to look for Blue Rock Thrush and Balearic Warbler.  The first birds I saw were a few Raven, there were also Yellow-legged Gull on the sea below.  I eventually found a number of Blue Rock Thrush, the trick was to sit and wait for them to appear.

Blue Rock Thrus

Blue Rock Thrush
 Blue Rock Thrush
The only problem with the Blue Rock Thrush was you could never get within about 100m of them so photo opportunity was slim but I didn't care as this was my first lifer of the day.  I wasn't so successful with the Balearic Warbler but did find another Sardinian Warbler.
I then headed down towards the Cases Velles Farm as this is known as a migrant hotspot and although I knew it unlikely due to it being the middle of February I thought a quick look couldn't hurt.  Needless to say there were no migrants but I was afforded so great views of Crossbill, I also saw Black Redstart, Robin, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Song Thrush, Blackbird and a hovering Kestrel.
I reckon 90% of the passerines I saw in Mallorca were Black Redstart, except on the Formentor Peninsula which seemed infested with Robins, they were everywhere.
My next stop was the Boquer Valley, here I was hoping for Alpine Accentor but this was not to be, I'm certainly not complaining as the birding was amazing.  I parked in the tiny dusty area at the bottom of the access path and check the field adjacent as Dave Gosney's book said it was good for Stone Curlew..... he was spot on, I found one straight away along the field margin.
Stone Curlew
Walking up the path, through the farm there were Black Redstart everywhere, a few Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Sardinian Warbler and Song Thrush, Robin, Blue Rock Thrush on the rocks higher up.
Black Redstart

Black Redstart
Boquer Valley
On the route back to the car I was treated to two lifers in the form of a flock of Crag Martin and a pair of Booted Eagle.
Crag Martin

Booted Eagle

Booted Eagle
Next stop was the Gola reserve in Port du Pollenca, I parked up on a dirt track opposite the super market off the 'boat plane' roundabout.  First bird in the fields leading to the reserve was of course Black Redstart....  I got onto the track of this very small reserve and reached one of the viewing points where I was treated to Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cormorant, Mallard, Coot, MoorhenCommon Sandpiper and Yellow-legged Gull
Great White Egret
Little Egret

Yellow-legged Gull
Back in the fields I then had Chiffchaff, Stonechat and Sardinian Warbler.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Mallorca Getaway... 14th - 16th Feb 2016

My Wife and I took the kids to Mallorca for the half term week, as per all my holidays this is not a birding holiday but where I go so do my binoculars (and telescope, DSLR, Bridge Camera, Field Guides, Notebooks etc......), I do usually have a day reserved for geeking though and Mallorca was no exception.

We arrived very late on the 13th so it was straight to bed for all.  My day out geeking was the 17th but I still managed to pick out a few birds through out the stay.

Sunday 14th

Today was a day for settling in and checking out the local area which as it was a) out of season, and b) Sunday everything was closed.....  We took the kids for a walk along the beach which was empty and beautiful looking out over the Alcudia Bay.

Alcudia Bay, Mallorca

On the walk down I saw and heard a great number of House Sparrow which I find very pleasing, I suppose this is in part due to their status in the UK.

House Sparrow

The first bird I saw upon hitting the beach was Audouin's Gull, there were two by the shoreline foraging around.  We walked along the beach to a small moor for the locals boats, this little rocky surround held a small number of Mallard, a Little Egret and a Common Sandpiper, there was also a single Cormorant a distance out in the bay.  As I was watching the Audouin's Gulls flying up and down the shoreline I noticed a few Sandwich Terns amongst them.

Audouin's Gull

Audouin's Gull

Audouin's Gull
Sandwich Tern

On the walk back a I added Cattle Egret as it flew past towards the Little Egret and Common Sandpiper.

Common Sandpiper

Little Egret

Little Egret

Cattle Egret
Monday 15th
Today we drove over to Port du Pollenca for a look around, it situated on Pollenca Bay which is beautiful but again pretty much everything was closed and refurbishing for the new holiday season.
Birds I saw in the bay were Little Egret, Cormorant, Audouin's Gull, Black-headed Gull and Mallard.
After lunch we went to the supermarket, when I returned to the car which was parked next to a piece of waste ground I saw White Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Black Redstart, Song Thrush, Blackbird and 3.....Osprey!!!  Turns out the waste land is the back end of a small reserve called Gola.
Little Egret

White Wagtail

Distant Osprey

Back at the hotel I was treated to some great views of a Black Redstart pair and a male Stonechat

Black Redstart & House Sparrow

Tuesday 16th
Today we took the kids to the South-Eastern part of the island to visit some spectacular caves which house an amazing collection of Stalactites and Stalagmites,

Whilst there we popped into Porto Cristo for lunch and found a nice little place on the harbour, birds in the harbour were Yellow-legged Gull, Kestrel, White Wagtail, Stonechat, Black Redstart, Goldfinch, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Starling, Cormorant, House Sparrow and Sardinian Warbler

Sardinian Warbler

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Horsebere Penduline finally swings in my direction.....

Last Thursday and Friday I managed to engineer it at work to enable me to work close to Gloucester, my aim was to twitch the Penduline Tits at Horsbere Pools. I visited for an hour before work and an hour after work but to no avail.

I kept an eye on the bird news and was glad it was re-found so I managed to ensure I worked close again today.  I didn't have time to visit before work so I popped out over lunch.  When I arrived there was no sign of them despite about 30 minutes of scanning.  There was a flock of Long-tailed Tits flitting up down the reed bed.

Long-tailed Tits

Also in the reed beds were Moorhen, Reed Bunting, Blue Tit and a pair or Chiffchaff.

Female Reed Bunting

Male Reed Bunting


I decided to take a walk around the pool to see what else I could find, and maybe find the Pendulines.

The fields around the pool contained about 15 Magpie, a large flock of Fieldfare interspersed with a few Redwing and a Buzzard soaring and calling over.  There were a number of Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail and a few Goldfinch.

Meadow Pipit 
Pied Wagtail


Around the other side of the pool I was treated to some great views of a pair of Stonechat, I followed them along for about 10 minutes trying to get a decent shot but they wouldn't let me approach any closer than about 10 meters.

Male Stonechat

Female Stonechat

Male Stonechat
Female Stonechat

On the way back round to where the Penduline Tits are normally seen I was treated to a lovely view of a Kingfisher flying around the reedbed trying to find a suitable perch which it failed to do.  Out on the water there were 4 Mute Swan, 3 Wigeon (2m & 1f), Mallard, Coot and Moorhen with Gull numbers steadily increasing.  When I arrived it was predominantly Black-headed Gull with a pair of Herring Gull and a single Common Gull, by now there were approx. 15 Herring Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Common Gull and a different looking Herring Gull (Had it confirmed on the Facebook UK Gulls ID group as a Herring)

Herring & LBB Gulls

Herring & LBB Gulls

Herring & LBB Gulls

Herring & LBB Gulls


It was another no show on the Penduline Tits so I headed up to the brook to have a look, there I heard so loud 'seeping' which I couldn't place, I spent 20 mins trying to locate them.  The sound ceased whilst I was checking another area so before I left I thought I'd have one last look and suddenly in my binoculars was a Penduline Tit :)  I spent about 10 minutes with fleeting views when other arrived, I was able to put them onto it for a bit until it flew straight up then appeared to come down by the brook.  One of those present went to check while we continued to search the reeds, he found the pair in the Willows along the brook and they gave some great views to about 10 people.

Penduline Tit

Penduline Tit

Penduline Tit
Penduline Tit

Penduline Tit

A worthwhile couple of hours at a small pool you would never realise was there next to a busy road across from and industrial estate gave me a lifer and a year tick, happy days....