Thursday 27 April 2017

Progress (aka death by numbers)

So my Wanstead year list is on 89. Other local birders have seen far more, but this does unfortunately happen, especially when some of them can bird the patch far more than I can. I don't help myself of course, as I too could bird the patch more than I do. Sadly I have this terrible desire to travel abroad and see better birds, so I frequently miss out on stuff here. For instance had I been here last weekend I could potentially have added another six or so year ticks. As it was I was in Northern Greece lapping up Bee-eaters etc, so I don't feel too sorry for myself.

Despite this negligence I'm actually on about par for the year compared to what I normally see. This is perhaps simply indicative of how regularly I underachieve, but looking at what I've seen, and more importantly what I haven't seen, I'd still have to say that the year is looking pretty good. Let us turn to some stats...

Today is the 27th April. How many birds have I seen by this date over the last few years? I am so glad you asked!

2016: 87
2015: 92
2014: 82
2013: 97
2012: 94

So I'm firmly in the middle of the range, and crucially I have yet to see Sand Martin, Redstart, Ring Ouzel, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Hobby - many of the regular migrants basically. I'm already ahead on last year - and that 87 included not only Sand Martin and Redstart, but also Red Kite and a few winter species that this year I'm saving for later. That said it didn't include Red-crested Pochard or Wigeon either, but I still think I'm ahead. In fact if you add the regulars, I think I'm doing better than all years other than 2013. 

2013 was a special year, my best ever on patch with 118. Tons of waders (10 species - I've only ever seen 13!), Crossbill, Waxwing, Kittiwake, Cuckoo..... I doubt I'll ever see that many again, I'm not committed enough these days. Here are those final totals again. You can see that they follow the April 27th marker quite closely. If I had to predict my final total for 2017 I think I'd guess 110.

2016: 106
2015: 115
2014: 102
2013: 118
2012: 113

A propos of nothing at all, here is a Whinchat. I have not yet seen Whinchat on the patch this year either, but I am very much looking forward to that first encounter. Although it is heresy, I am beginning to wonder if Whinchats are possibly on a par with Wheatears....

Whinchat from Greece last weekend


  1. Whinchat or Wheatear...both brilliant, score-draw I'd say

  2. Whinchat, Wheatear or dead Womble - with photographic skills like that it's gonna look awesome whatever it is.

  3. Great pic. On my [very] inland patch waders are the equivalent of extreme birding! As a retired teacher I would say that your mad gadding about was an impossibility during the working years - though I did my best in the hols! Seen ROuzels but not Whin this year; patch list pathetic in comparison.