NZ26 July Scores. And the birds I have missed.

Seven months in and the birds are still flowing into BirdTrack. To make up for low submissions in June I have managed to get to 18 tetrads this month adding species in 11 of them; e; g; h; k; u; s; w; x; w; y; and z.
F (Watergate Park) remains in the lead with 80 species and gave me a mammal lifer –I have never seen mink before. A pair were swimming after a Little Grebe distracting them from its nest.
The overall total stands at 115 species in total. 4549 submissions to BirdTrack (166 complete entries).
In July I saw 75 species (which is about average each month this year) from 361 submissions.
Four new species have been added firstly with a surprise find of Spotted Flycatcher in Saltwell Park. This has then been followed by a parade of birds on the mud of the Tyne –Med Gull, Greenshank, Whimbrel and Black-tailed Godwit. All of these were originally found by someone else though I can perhaps claim a bit of success with the last one. @RevDaveA had posted a picture of a sum plum bird in the rain. However, by the time I could go the tide had come in and retreated with that bird being replaced by a winter plum, probably juvenile bird. The distance of looking across the Tyne even with a x20 scope precludes a lot of fine interrogation.
However it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of new birds to the year list and forget that this is about birding across the whole 10km square. This was the case in returning to Walker Park after a couple of months to find a Treecreeper visiting a likely nest site. There can’t be many of those previous records I guess. Its also about enjoying birds and about an hour with a curlew as it picked worms out of the mud was time well spent. And as young swallows hawked the tops of wheat near Leam lane they were coming close and at waist height they added to the memories of NZ26.
On the downside I should not have been so bold as to say it was going to be easy to get swift in every tetrad. Bad weather in May, followed by being away in June and now more rain has left me with 5 more tetrads to go. As some adults are already leaving this may be a challenge too far.
So we are closer to the end than the beginning. I am still loving the birding and the challenge of NZ26. I predicted 112 at the start of the year and have gone past that this month. I have gone back to being third of three in this challenge but going over past tweets there are at least 12 possibly 13 species that have been seen NZ26 and not on my list:
Whooper Swan:
Osprey;
Green Sandpiper;
Golden Plover;
Bar-tailed Godwit;
Long-eared Owl;
Little Owl;
Short-eared Owl;
Black Tern;
Cuckoo;
Whinchat;
Crossbill.
Also a Barn Owl was seen but there is some debate as to whether it crossed into the 10km or not. And Rob’s Long-tailed Duck probably flew down the Tyne and through NZ26 but there was no one there to see it.
All still to play for and you never know there is still a chance of a Waxwing. Oh and that rarity is still out there somewhere; I’d like it to be Bill Quay as that is in my favourite tetrad.

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