Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Monday 31 December 2012

2012 - A Year Review

UK BOU Year list - 310 - My first time reaching 300+, and hopefully the last. My 300th bird was a Pallas's Warbler in Lancs. Also congrats to Jake and Mick on reaching 300+, and thanks to both for a brilliant year. I saw 19 new species for my British List bringing my total up to 381 BOU.

Sussex Year list - 216 - a good total despite spending most of my time out of the county. This is my third highest Sussex total. Best bird probably being the Siberian Stonechat at Beachy.

Best twitch of 2012 - Has to be the 23hr round trip from Seaford - Fife Ness, Scotland for an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler. Also saw Radde's Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher and a Pallas's Warbler on this day. A cracking day.

Self-founds of 2012 - I had a good year this time. 2 BB rarities included a Glossy Ibis at Cuckmere in February and a Great Reed Warbler on Shetland in October. Others finds included 2 White Storks at Rye, Long-tailed Skua in Argyll, Sooty S'water, Storm-Petrel and Wryneck on the patch and a Honey Buzzard at Beachy.

Best 3 birds of 2012 - In order - Cream-coloured Courser, Pechora Pipit, Common Yellowthroat.

Best world bird of 2012 - This bird has to come from Ethiopia. There were many to choose from but the most rewarding was in fact the Prince-Ruspoli's Turaco.

Yearlist ends in Norfolk 31/12/12

The end of a fantastic year ended in Norfolk to scrape up the last few yearticks of 2012. I picked up Jake at 4.30am and headed off via Mcdonalds to Thetford. We also visited Marlingford and Cley, mainly seeing a fine selection of long distance migrants?? :-)

Golden Pheasant - 7 - inc 5 males
Woodcock - 3

Cley NWT
Richardson's Canada Goose - 1
Marsh Harrier - 2
Sacred Ibis - 1

no sign of drk American Wigeon.

I ended the year on 310 BOU. It is certainly a relief for it to be 2013 tomorrow, as I will not be listing at all, and hopefully save a bit of money in the process. Happy New Year to all!!

Sacred Ibis in Norfolk/South Africa Nov 2011

Saturday 29 December 2012

Devon 29/12/12

Went down to Devon today with Jake and Mick. I left mine at 04.15, and returned home a nice 13 hours later. Targets birds were the Cirls for Jake (yeartick), and the Yellowlegs for all of us.

Cirl Bunting - 2
Black-necked Grebe - 2

Ernesettle Creek
Lesser Yellowlegs - 1 BOU 2012 308

Ernesettle Creek

Sunday 16 December 2012

Cuckmere Caspo - Self Found 16/12/12

Having been completely unaware of any Caspian Gulls in the Cuckmere earlier today, I picked up Bob initially to do a roost at Charleston Reedbed, but seeing hundreds of Gull settled just north of Exceat Bridge, we decided to look at these.

I started scanning, and 10 Gulls in I instantly found an adult CASPIAN GULL walking through the group. It stopped and unfortunately went to sleep, but every now and then raised it's head and did a few wing stretches, enabling all wing detail to be seen.

With falling light, we concentrated on just this bird, but a brief scan didn't produce any more potential candidates. There were however a couple of argentatus Herring Gulls.

Having been really pleased of finding a Caspo on the patch, and in Sussex for the first time, I was slightly gutted to find out a maximum of 3 had been seen earlier in the day, but I'l have it as a self-find for now! However looking at DC's pics, my bird does seem to have more black on the bill, so it could well be a different bird, heres hoping!!

Other features seen not in the images below were long primary projection with predominant white on P10 with a black sub-terminal band creating a clear mirror.

 note the pear-shaped head, dark eye high on the head, long pale bill with dark sub-terminal tip on lower mandible, a disjointed neck, bulging chest, and long thin legs, coloured a very pale yellow.
 this image reveals a long slanting forehead, long lores, dark eye, bulging chest and a much clearer colouration of the legs.
 the size of the bird in this image probably makes it a male, and the dark mantle is also very noticeable.
both Caspian (top centre asleep) and Argentatus Herring Gull (bottom, second from right) in this image.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Another Garden Waxwing 9/12/12

A Waxwing flew over my garden this afternoon. It was first picked up by it's call, and was then seen flying SW.

This is now the 3rd time Waxwings have been seen from my house, a single bird in 2008 and 15 in 2010.

Friday 7 December 2012

Ringed Gull 5/12/12

At Newhaven West Beach on Wednesday, whilst searching for the 1st winter Caspian Gull, I found a 2nd Winter Herring Gull with a ring on it's left leg.The results came through today:

Ringed - Pitsea Landfill, Essex - juv as 06/11/10

Seen - Wandsworth Bride, London - 1st winter 02/03/11

Seen - Wandsworth Bridge, London - 1st winter 09/03/11

My sighting - Newhaven Harbour, Sussex - 2nd winter  05/12/12

The ring number was YW3T.

Below is the Herring Gull as a 1st winter at Wandsworth Bridge. Happy days!!

Herring Gull / 3 / Wandsworth Bridge, Greater London / 02 Mar 2011 © N Mahieu

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Cambs & Suffolk 4/12/12

Spent the day with Mick in Cambs and Suffolk. First stop was Ouse Fen where thankfully the 2 Penduline Tits showed relatively quickly before we froze. Good scope views were had, but not great for the camera.
Next stop was Great Livermere in Suffolk where there was no sign of the Grey Phal, fortunately it wasn't too far out the way.
Penduline Tit puts me on 307 BOU for 2012.

Penduline Tits at Ouse Fen, Cambs

Monday 3 December 2012

Dorset, Hants & West Sussex 3/12/12

I waited on news before heading down to Dorset, and fortunately it didn't take too long. I arrived at Longham Lakes just after midday and quickly found the White-rumped Sandpiper on the south lake island.

On my return I popped into Bickerley Marshes near Ringwood and had good views of both the Glossy Ibis and Great White Egret.

Last but not least, Amberley Wildbrooks held 6 Ruff and 3 Golden Plover amongst the Lapwing.

The Sandpiper represented my 3rd in the UK, but more importantly was another yeartic bringing my total to 306 BOU.

both pictures were phoned scoped, hence the poor quality.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Waxwings!!! 27/11/12

After my once a year shopping trip to Eastbourne, I happened to find 4 Waxwings sat upon a dead tree on the one-way system. Ignoring all other traffic, I quickly veered onto double yellows and started watching them. No bins, no camera........brilliant.

My phone became my new camera and the results were painful. Never mind, I quickly got the news out as I had to dash off soon after, but hopefully this is the start of a mini invasion.

UK Yearlist BOU now on 305.

3 of the 4 Waxwings taken on my iphone. Just about viewable is the crest
on the left hand bird.

Monday 26 November 2012

Ethiopia 10/11/12

We arrived in Addis on Ethiopian Airlines at first light to start the Ethiopian Endemics trip with Naturetrek. My first bird of the trip (a Pied Wheatear) was my first lifer so a good start.

We birded from the airport after immigration and then made our way through the traffic to The Ghion Hotel. We birded the grounds for an hour before driving north to Gafersa Reservoir, which proved to be a great introduction to what turned out to be an amazing country. Not just the wildlife, but the people were great, despite all the poverty, there wasn't a moment when I felt in danger, everyone was happy to see you, and more importantly they were good bird spotters, and were always rewarded when they found a goody.

Although I am not a fan of birding with a large group or tour company for personal reasons, I feel Ethiopia can be the only way to do this unless the trip is planned to perfection. Roads were dodgy, no signposts, and local knowledge is always useful.

All endemics targeted were seen, plus some very good mammals, best being the Ethiopian Wolf and South African Bush Baby.

Addis Airport
Hooded Vulture - 20+
Dusky Turtle Dove - 2
Swainson's Sparrow - 20
Nyanza Swift - 20+

The Ghion Hotel
Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher - 1
Brown-rumped Seedeater - 3
Ruppell's Robin Chat - 1
Tacazze Sunbird - 20
Bronze Mannikin - 6
Dusky Flycatcher - 1
Red-rumped Swallow - 5

Gafersa Reservoir
Lanner - 1
Augur Buzzard - 2
Moorland Chat - 10
Wattled Ibis - 10
Spur-winged Plover - 4
Three-banded Plover - 1
African Citril - 4
Half-collared Kingfisher - 1
African Black Duck - 2
Baglafecht Weaver - 2

 Swainson's Sparrow
 Brown-rumped Seedeater - ENDEMIC
 Tacazze Sunbird
 Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher - ENDEMIC
Wattled Ibis - ENDEMIC

Ethiopia 11/11/12

Today we travelled north from Addis Ababa to Debre Libanos Gorge. We stopped a couple of times en route on the Solulta Plains and also on our return to Addis. Several endemics were seen on the Gorge, and is generally a must go site. The views are amazing.

Solulta Plains
Erlanger's Lark - 1
Thekla Lark - 20+
Black-winged Plover - 8
Pallid Harrier - 3
Red-breasted Wheatear - 2
Blue-breasted Bee-Eater - 2
Black-headed Siskin - 20

Monastary at Debre Libanos
Ruppell's Black Chat - 3
White-billed Starling - 8
Lammergeier - 1
Stout Cisticola - 3
Fan-tailed Raven - 6
Eurasian Griffon Vulture - 1
Ruppell's Griffon Vulture - 20
Grey-backed Camoroptera - 1
Yellow-bellied Waxbill - 1
Brown-woodland Warbler - 1
Eastern Grey Woodpecker - 2
White-cheeked Turaco - 2
Mountain Wagtail - 1

Ethio German Park Hotel/Portugese Bridge
Verreaux's Eagle - 1
White-winged Cliff Chat - 1
Mocking Cliff Chat - 2
Red-collared Widowbird - 1

 White-winged Cliff Chat - ENDEMIC
 Verreaux's Eagle
 Lammergeier with Yellow-billed Kite
White-cheeked Turaco

Ethiopia - 12/11/12

Today we travelled south from Addis to Wondo Genet in the Rift Valley. We stopped at a couple of good locations, mainly lakes/lagoons and a fish market in Zwai. We also visited Lake Abiata reserve which reminded me of the Kruger, mainly due to the Hornbills. We arrived in Wondo after dark.

Addis Ababa - Coca Bridge
Long-crested Eagle - 1
Black-winged Lovebird - 3
Shikra - 1
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill - 7
Red-billed Quelea - 1
Woodchat Shrike - 1

Coca Bridge, Rift Valley
Fish Eagle - 6
Wire-tailed Swallow - 10
Goliath Heron - 1
Pallid Harrier - 1
Senegal Thick-Knee - 1
African Darter - 2
African Jacana - 10
Kitlitz's Plover - 15
White-faced Whistling Duck - 4
Pink-backed Pelican - 1

Zwai Fish Market
Marabou Stork - 40+
Basra Reed Warbler - 1
Lesser Swamp Warbler - 1
Pygmy Kingfisher - 1
Malachite Kingfisher - 4
Northern Carmine Bee-Eater - 2
Grey-headed Gull - 2
Western Reef Egret - 1
Intermediate Egret - 2
Black Crake - 2

Zwai Restaurant
Black-billed Woodhoopoe - 1
Beautiful Sunbird - 10+
Nubian Woodpecker - 1

Lake Abiata Reserve
Abyssinian Black Wheatear - 2
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting - 4
Brubru - 1
Boran Cisticola - 4
Ruppell's Starling - 10
Lappet-faced Vulture - 1
Little Bee-Eater - 2
Von der Deckins Hornbill - 6
Hemprich's Hornbill - 4
White-headed Buffalo Weaver - 20
Masked Shrike - 2
Black-crowned Tchagra - 1
Abyssinian Roller - 1

 Pygmy Kingfisher
 Malachite Kingfisher
 Woodland Kingfisher
 Pied Kingfisher
 Von der Decken's Hornbill
 Hemprich's Hornbill
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting

Ethiopia 13/11/12

We birded the whole area north of Wondo and Wondo Genet, walking the slopes and valleys. After breakfast, we entered the Forestry college where fortunately there were some trees left. Nice to be in the shade today and some cracking birds were found.

Wondo Genet
Abyssinian Black-headed Oriole - 5
Little Rock Thrush - 1
African Thrush - 1
Tambourine Dove - 4
Abyssinian Woodpecker - 1
Spotted Creeper - 2
Lesser Honeyguide - 1
White-cheeked Turaco - 3
Yellow-fronted Parrot - 2
Brown-throated Wattle Eye - 1

Wondogenet Hotel
Double-toothed Barbet - 2
African Goshawk - 1
Thick-billed Raven - 2
Brown Parisoma - 1
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird - 2
Bruce's Green Pigeon - 2

Forestry College
Verreaux's Eagle Owl - 2
Abyssinian Ground Thrush - 1
Abyssinian Black-headed Oriole - 10
White-rumped Babbler - 2
Olive Pigeon - 2
Narina Trogan - 1
Northern Puffback - 1
Little Sparrowhawk - 1
Yellow-fronted Parrot - 4
Green-backed Honeyguide - 1
Banded Barbet - 2

Evening walk - North of Wondo Genet
Crowned Eagle - 1 (fem on nest)
Yellow-fronted Parrot - 8

 African Goshawk
 Verreaux's Eagle Owl
 Abyssinian Ground Thrush
 White-rumped Babbler
Abyssinian Black-headed Oriole - ENDEMIC
 Variable Sunbird
 Tambourine Dove
 Thick-billed Raven - ENDEMIC
 Yellow-fronted Parrot - ENDEMIC
sunset over Lake Awassa

Ethiopia 14/11/12

Today we drove from Wondo Genet to the Bale Mountains. The first part of the drive was uneventful apart from a local bus which had been speeding and coincidentally taken out and killed 7 cows causing an unbelievable mess which the Vultures and local dogs soon cleared up. The 2nd part of the day was amazing, driving through very scenic mountain passes seeing some much wanted endemics. We birded the lower slopes of the Bale Mountains at Dinsho Lodge where a local guide showed us some Owls. We stayed at the Goba Hotel.

Wondo - Mountain Pass
Pallid Harrier - 2
Lanner - 2
Black-winged Plover - 100+
Somali Crow - 1

Shashemene - Dinsho Lodge
Abyssinian Catbird - 2
Abyssinian Longclaw - 2 (seen in evening)
Rouget's Rail - 6
Ethiopian Cisticola - 3
Cape Eagle Owl - 2
Black-headed Siskin - 50
White-headed Vulture - 1
Golden Eagle - 2
Great White Pelican - 20 (migrating)
Blue Rock Thrush - 1

Dinsho Lodge
Abyssinian Long-eared Owl - 1
African Wood Owl - 1
Abyssinian Catbird - 2
White-backed Black Tit - 4
Brown Woodland Warbler - 2
Ethiopian Boubou - 1

 Abyssinian Catbird - ENDEMIC
 Cape Eagle Owl
 Abyssinian Long-eared Owl
 Ruppells Robin-Chat
 White-backed Black Tit - ENDEMIC
 the cow killer

dogs enjoying their breakfast

Sunday 25 November 2012

Ethiopia 15/11/12

The day was spent at 13,000 feet on the Bale Mountains Plateau, but on the north and south slopes some good birding was had. On the plateau the weather was fortunately good, with some clear spells, but in the afternoon it rained, so we headed back to the Goba Hotel.

Bale Mountains NP north slope
Chestnut-naped Francolin - 10
Cinnamon Bracken Warbler - 6
Tawny-flanked Prinia - 2
Lammergier - 3
Rouget's Rail - 4
Ethiopian Cisticola - 3

Bale Mountains NP plateau
Spot-breasted Plover - 28
Moorland Francolin - 2
Wattled Crane - 2
Blue-winged Geese - 4
Black-headed Siskin - 300+
Cape Eagle Owl - 1
Steppe Eagle - 2
Lesser Spotted Eagle - 2
Golden Eagle - 4
Ethiopian Wolf - 2

Bale Mountains NP south slope
Bale (Brown) Parisoma - 1
White-backed Black Tit - 4
Black Sparrowhawk - 1

 Black-winged Lovebird - ENDEMIC
 Ethiopian Cisticola - ENDEMIC
 Abyssinian Longclaw - ENDEMIC
 Chestnut-naped Francolin - ENDEMIC
 Spot-breasted Plover - ENDEMIC
 Black-headed Siskin - ENDEMIC
 Blue-winged Geese - ENDEMIC
 Steppe Eagle
 Rouget's Rail - ENDEMIC
Ethiopian Wolf - ENDEMIC