And no immediate plans to either. So far this year I have been out in Wanstead 14 times. Not bad for the 13th of January! Actually it is only really eight times, as I record the Flats and the Park on different sheets, but have of late been combining both in one sortie. It has been very enjoyable, if hard work and mostly bitterly cold. Goodies include two Snipe, and yesterday a showy female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the Dell. By the end of January last year I had recorded 54 species, and today, roughly half-way through the month, I find myself on 53 species with stacks of relatively easy ones to go if the weather would just sort itself out. I've decided to set myself a target of 60 for January.
[NB If this is all too interesting for you, you should probably skip straight to the end of the post for two gratuitous and unnecessary photos. Page Down is over towards the right →]
I have graced Rainham no fewer than seven times, and my patch-list for the year stands at 86, a total I didn't reach until mid-April last year. And this includes some serious goodies like the Great Skua, one of the Serins, Red-breasted Mergansers and Glaucous Gull. And best of all it now includes TWO site ticks, as yesterday I jammed in on a Woodcock. Having spent two abortive and very cold hours there this past weekend, yesterday one flew over the car as I was leaving, slap-bang in the middle of the day - how cool is that?
[I warned you to skip down...]
My list for the year is 122, compared to 127 at this point last year. Of those, 120 are in Essex. 102 are in London. As I wrote yesterday, that is a cracking start for London. It might even be a good start for Essex, where last year I got something like 185. I have no idea, but parts of Essex are quite a long way away, so that seems like too much driving. And I'd end up chasing bloody Wrynecks all over the place again, so I shall probably stick close to home, but the start I have had shows just how much good birding is available locally. Obviously London patches are never going to match the quality of a coastal patch somewhere, and I'd miss those awesome autumn days in Norfolk or wherever, so I'm not going to be religious about it. But so far so good, and it is far less stressful. And much cheaper, always a consideration for the