The cold easterly wind continues to batter me senseless each morning, and I returned home from today's futile slog around the patch earlier than I had planned simply because I was freezing. Evidence of migration was restricted to a single Sand Martin - put simply it feels about a million miles from late April out there at the moment. Patches with significant water are doing really well - a feast of Terns, Gulls and Waders, but here in the arid smoke it isn't like that. Here you can walk around the patch for two hours in the morning and see nothing of interest whatsoever. Very frustrating when you need one bird to break your personal half year record. As a reminder my highest patch total by the end of June for as long as I have lived here is 103. That is what I am currently on.
Well, was on. Yes that is right, the deed is done, the quest is at an end (although there is now the slight spectre of the highest ever July total of 106....no, I must stop it, it is becoming ridiculous) and I am over the line. I had to wait until lunchtime for there to be any birdy action on the patch, the morning cloud had been blown away and the sun was out. And so were two Hobby in the Old Sewage Works, hopefully the breeding pair from last year, it would seem so at any rate - thanks to Simon for the heads up. I had only just got home and put my bike away when I learned that the first Lesser Whitethroat of the year had finally turned up. Who twitches a Lesser Whitethroat though? Me, that's who, and with joy. And also Simon and Bob. For Simon it was his 100th bird for the year, and for Bob his 99th - both going great guns and surely Bob will also crack 100 for the year before the end of April. Only if he keeps #lookingup though. It is a bit difficult to keep track but at least two of the other regulars are still in the running, Nick on 98 and James on 96, and with four days still to go you would not bet against it despite the inclement conditions making morning bird finding very hard.
|Lesser Whitethroat bush|
As for me I am now on 105. Stop the competition now I say. Birds that have yet to stray onto my 2021 year list include Whinchat, Tree Pipit, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Common Tern and Common Sandpiper, any and all of which could make an appearance before the end of the month. And that is without any left field birds of the sort that nobody can predict. I will definitely be out again tomorrow morning!