2009 rarity review – my perspective

Apart I have changed the layout and the design of my blog, I started an annual review series of the rarities had occured in the country in the actual year. This is all about my perspective and not necessarily contains only mega rarities for the country. The desire of watching a rare or never seen bird species escorting my birding in the last 10 years. I can call myself a lucky birder as in the past few years I had a very few ocassion when I missed to find the rare bird.

As a contrary to the previous successes 2009 started so bad for me. In my region, more or less, I remained the only one who is interested in rare bird watching. That was one of the reasons to miss a real mega bird, an Iceland Gull on 28 January. My car was out of order that time and could not find a solution to travel to the otherwise not too far town along the Danube river despite the bird stayed there for three days.

On 7 February an American Wigeon appeared on the same site where it was first found in 2008 in the Kiskunság region. I didn’t force to visit the site as I could see, the most probably same, bird in March 2008.

The 2nd Pine Bunting for Hungary was recorded on 24 February in W Hungary. I could visit the site on the next day and the bird was luckily added to my home list.

Another great news, which was received on 15 March, was the first breeding attempt of Boreal Owl for Hungary and for many of us this species was never seen in the country. For me it would not have been a lifer but I wanted to add it to my Hungarian list. Due to the same reasons like above, I could not drive there. When I finally got my car back the pair disappeared from the forest as the nest was destroyed by a predator.

2009 was an extreme year for the Dalmatian Pelican influx. From 28 March birds in various places were recorded many times at the same time. I wanted to see this bird but due to my job I could not find a half a day to travel to any of the fix sites. On 4 April I was participating on a raptor watch near my home town when I spotted possibly two flying Dalmatian Pelicans. I could ID only one of them 100%.

On 11 April a Red-breasted Swallow was found over the Danube River at Vac. I had a lucky twitch for this species a few years back so did not forced to visit the scene.

A day later a Slender-billed Gull was reported from East Hungary. It looked like I wasn’t lucky with gulls this year as I had no chance to see it. For me it was the second chance for this species. Maybe next time…

On 6 May a slowly flying Egyptian Vulture was found in S Hungary which wasn’t twitchable. Luckily I saw it earlier in Hungary.

On 2 October a Pacific Golden Plover was found on the Hortbágy region but I didn’t travel there as I have it on my Hungarian list.

Finally after the lots of disappointment the sought after lifer, the Long-billed Dowitcher was successfully relocated by my team on SE Hungary on 25 October. I was so happy by this species and not only because it was a shorebird but was a lifer to me. On our way back home I could see a Dalmatian Pelican on a nearby fishpond (see the bad quality digiscoped image). It provided a much closer and better view than in April during the raptor watch.

On 12 November a Hume’s Leaf Warbler was photographed in E Hungary but wasn’t seen by others. The bird was relocated on 5 December on the same place. This species was well seen last year in S Hungary. I have it on my country list.

That was all about rarities in 2009. I know I have to be happy as being able to add two new to my Hungarian bird list and a lifer to my world list. I am not so happy by knowing that my country list could have been expanded by three more species. Luckily that doesn’t mean the end of the world to me. My Hungarian list is at 341 species to date. 2010 should be a way better year from birding point of view and hopefully I will be back in the field for photographing birds again.

Last but not least I wish to all my Dear Readers, a successful, healthy and lossless New Year. Thank you for following me through the year and thank you for supporting me in the hard times. I count on you in 2010.

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