When we started to plan the Big Year, one of the birders we turned to for advice was Bosse Carlsson, Swedish WP lister. Bosse thought that maybe 650 was a realistic upper goal for a Big Year, later on when the planning started to become more detailed we realized that maybe even 700 was attainable. Now that we’re at 700 before the end of August we’re starting to fantasize about 750.
It wouldn’t have been possible to be at 700 now without all the massive amounts of help we have received from birders in WP. You are too many to mention, but you know who you are. Thank you !!!!!
On our way back from Madeira we did a short stop in Lisbon to pick up some additional birds. First off were two Cat-C birds in the Tagus estuary.
The next morning we hung at the gate of privately held Sesimbra Nature Park where a Pie-billed Grebe has been residing for quite some time now.
Got better views of the Iberian Chiffchaff than on our last visit to Iberia at the place of the Grebe.
Finished off by driving all the way to Tarifa in southern Spain, same place where were we earlier in the year and ticked Iberian Chiffchaff and White-rumped Swift. This time we found the Rüppels Vulture almost ridiculously easy. The first place we stopped, and for me, the first vulture I looked at in the scope was a clear Rüppels. We also got the opportunity to compare the bird to the more common Griffon Vulture. When watching the Rüppel in the scope and a Griffon came into the same scope view, the two vulture species are really different.
So, according to our iGoTerra list this was bird number 700. However, we have a few questioned birds already up on the list. In particular.
American Herring Gull. This was the bird from southern Portugal originally identified as an AHG by Mårtens friend Pieter Adriaens. The bird starts to look bad though. Pedro Nicolau wrote us: “By the way guys, I’m not sure if you’re aware but the American Herring Gull you’ve seen in Portugal is a heavily controversial bird, and will most likely be dismissed as a michahellis. As the moult progressed the bird was showing red orbital ring and yellow legs.. to me the bird is a michahellis. I’d go for another one.”
We’ll see what happens with this bird.
Pale Martin. Highly controversial bird, but recently confirmed by Lars Svensson to be a Riparia Diluta, Pale Martin.
Long-toed Stint. The Stint found by Erik in Kuwait, we’re still working this bird since we’re still convinced it’s an LTS. KORC has tabled the bird until additional information is presented. Pics and video of that bird on our Google Drive
Maybe some or all of these three questioned birds eventually has to be removed from our list.
Well back in Stockholm, we got picked up at Arlanda by Andreas Bohlin. We do look confused.
Andreas drove us to Hjälstaviken close to Stockholm. Quite a few Lesser White-fronted Geese there, so if we remove the American Herring Gull, we’re still on 700.