After a long absence I finally kicked off my year-list today, ending of on 51 species, which is exactly half my total from last year. You can see how it gets harder from here on in! The goal, as ever, is to get over 100, something I've managed for the last six years. I topped out in 2013 with 118, and the lowest was 102 in 2009, so last year I basically hit rock bottom. Nice. Still, I need to get that average down to be in with a chance of winning the coveted Golden Mallard, which as any fool kno is worth at least fifty quid on Ebay.
Highlight today was provided by a fly-over Bullfinch on the Flats, the first I've seen there so a sub-list total rises, and made even better because the guys and I had just decided that we needed to stop gassing and head off to try and find a Bullfinch. So we continued chatting, this time about the possibility of Reed Bunting which a number of us still needed for the year. Lo and behold a dot in a distant bush resolved itself into a Reed Bunting without us needing to move. Brilliant, this is how birding should be - you think of a bird and it then immediately appears. Red-throated Diver was then suggested as another bird that we should split up and find....
We did eventually head off our separate Diverless ways, and I added such annual gems as Wren, an elusive Greylag Goose, and some hard-to-see Mute Swans. In Bush Wood a Coal Tit and Goldcrest called, and Bob and I tracked down a very vocal Nuthatch. A further jaunt to try and hit 50 species later in the afternoon added Meadow Pipit and Mistle Thrush, but much excitement still remains with both House Sparrow and Skylark still needed. I'm going to try and do a spot of birding before work the next few days as I'm already significantly off the pace - Tony's on 62 and he doesn't even live here! I'll reel him in though, plenty of time yet, and I'm not travelling again for weeks. Two weeks.
No camera today, so the Greylag Goose went unrecorded. I've not yet finished sorting Morocco from December, and I've another 600 from the UAE to go through - I've made a start for the purposes of the requisite trip report, but what with my sock heroics I've had practically no time to do anything. I ended up washing around 180 dirty socks (don't judge us!) and when added to the odds we already had and some singles in sock drawers, I've paired a monumental 143 sets of socks. Live doesn't get more exciting than this, and of course presents us with a new problem which is that our sock drawers are not sufficiently capacious to store them all. So there's currently a game of sock bowls taking place on the landing.