Sunday 21 January 2018

January pace

An idle moment at the beginning of this year revealed that my highest January total on the patch was 71. You want life tips, this is where you come. Totting up the 'available' species that didn't seem too hard, I wondered how I had never managed more than this? Looking at the other years where I've kept easily retrievable records - nearly a decade now - showed that the average and mean are both around 66. It is always good to have goals, especially measurable ones, and lists are nothing if not measurable. A target was set....

Today I equalled my highest ever. I have been spurred on in no small measure by Tim, who has taken up where Nick left off. I can only think that the book he is currently editing must be extremely dull as he is constantly out birding the patch!. And as everyone knows, there is simply no substitute for time in the field - so far he has pulled out Med Gull, Great White Egret, Wigeon and Hawfinch and is setting the pace. Bob is not far behind (generally literally!) but I reckon I can't be that far away either. 

failed Little Egret selfie

The Egret was completely left field, and Wigeon is never easy on the patch, so these two have been very helpful in elevating my total, but largely it is the January grind that is responsible for my current total. This morning before the rain set in I set out once more into the gloom, my eyes and mind set firmly on picking up the missing species that I knew were there somewhere. It started well, with the Little Egret finally giving itself up on Heronry, and a short while later two adult Great Black-backed Gulls flopped slowly eastwards to add to the one seen from the breakfast table before I set out. In search of Grey Wagtail I went all the way to the Dell but drew a blank, and as the rain started I ditched my plans to go to the OSW - a short while a presumably damp Tim found a Hawfinch! Retracing my steps along the north side of Heronry I attempted a Little Egret selfie, and then was lucky enough to get a Bullfinch flying through the cover between the path and the golf course, its flashing white rump signalling its presence. Presumably this is the same bird that Rob S found last week, it has been a really good winter season for them. Only another couple of months before that rump could end up being something else!

The list of what is still possible in the ten days that remain is long and varied. Just one of the following, all of which have occurred either here or nearby in January, will see me over the line: Grey WagtailWoodcock, Snipe, Jack SnipePeregrine, Buzzard, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Hawfinch, Short-eared Owl, Med Gull, Caspian Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Shelduck, Red Kite, BramblingLapwing.... Time is running out however - the mornings are still not light enough to be conducive to birding before work, and there is only one weekend remaining.

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