10 Best Birds

1. Goshawk February flying over Bill Quay was at the time felt to be the bird to beat and so it proved.
2. Jack Snipe February in a drainage ditch at Watergate Park was unexpected.
3. Redstart April. Female in a hedge in tetrad f. They are great birds made more special with it being my 100th species.
4. Eider April. This proved to be the only real twitch in NZ26 as many people needed this for their Gateshead list as they moved up stream from Hebburn to Bill Quay. Found by Ros Ahmed these four were great on a warm sunny Saturday morning by the river.
5. Woodcock singles March (Balliol Business Park, tetrad U) and November (White Hills , tetrad Q). Both were unexpected but great as I did not manage to get any roding birds in Spring. Though this against a reducing national population is not a surprise.
6. Marsh Tit March. A bird with a mixed tit flock at Watergate Park eventually entered the NZ26 square and may well be the first for Gateshead in three years.
7. Stonechat March. One found wintering at Gosforth Flash by Joe Dobinson was a welcome addition to the list as they are entertaining and a species that was unexpected.
8. Whinchat September. A very tame bird on Town Moor in a week when numbers were being seen on the coast and on ‘my’ old patch. Apart from two Meadow Pipits this was the only bird in this expanse of grassland.
9. Black-headed Gull January. Leazes Park Lake held a colour ringed bird from Poland when I ‘twitched’ the reported Goosander. Knowing migration happens is different to saying for definite where a bird has come from and how old it is.
10. Yellowhammer November. Only after months of tramping mainly urban pavements was it drawn to my attention by Jonny Atkinson that farmland birds are important to me. One flying over hedges in tetrad while I watched Tree Sparrows made me appreciate, more than anything else, what I would miss if these birds disappeared.

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