Monday, 28 December 2015

Highlights of 2015 (Part 1)

After delaying for a day to go for the Yorkshire Little Bustard (and dipping painfully), the year could only get better. A slow start though, just picking up local year ticks.

Black Grouse-Teesdale

Rose-coloured Starling- Prudhoe. Not pretty, but first rarity of the year.
Harlequin Duck- Aberdeen. A frantic, sweaty dash 3 miles upstream and back, before finding the bird back where I started, just as the light was fading. Superb!
Waxwing- South Shields. Popular single bird on the Leas.
Shore Lark- Harlepool. Giving excellent views just north of the Jewish Cemetery, feeding amongst the rubbish.
Laughing Gull- New Brighton. My first since the 80s.
Long-tailed Duck- Stella, Gateshead. A self-found Gateshead tick.
Ring-billed Gull- Dunfermline. Again my first since the 80s
King Eider- Largo Bay, Fife. A Queen!
Great Grey Shrike- Stanhope. Best ever views and first singing.

White-tailed Eagle- Bollihope, Durham. Took some effort, but rewarded with fantastic views as it sailed just over-head.

Red-crested Pochard- Holywell. My first drakes.

Ring Ouzel- Edmundbyers. Fantastically tame.
Bearded Tit- East Chevington. Displaying male in the sunshine.
Ptarmigan- Cairngorm. Cracking start to a Scottish holiday in perfect weather.
Portsoy. A bit distant for photos, but there were 10 White-billed Diver here. Yeah, 10!
Capercallie. What a beast, at point-blank range.

American Wigeon- Holywell. Bonus bird on the way back from Scotland.
Eider- Bill Quay, Gateshead. A long-awaited Gateshead tick.
Hudsonian Godwit- Somerset. A great bird on a long day. Bonus Pied-billed Grebe on way home.
Wood Warbler- Muggleswick. Always good to see.
Red-throated Pipit- Seaton Common. Nice to tick a proper 'red' bird.
Lesser Yellowlegs- Newton Scrape. I assume, last year's returning bird.
Pectoral Sandpiper- Newton Scrape. Self-found while twitching the Yellowlegs.

Turtle Dove- Sutton Bank, Yorkshire. Cracking views on way home from ticking Montagu's Harrier

Black-winged Pratincole- Bothal Pond. Back from last year.

Black Tern- Whittle Dene.

That brings May to an end. More to follow.