Last weekend on my first outing to the patch since recovering from the infamous lurgy I managed to get yet another patch year tick to take me to 129 for the year. Given that prior to the pandemic my best ever patch year list was 118, which increased to 121 in 2020, this is if I don't say so myself, phenomenal. The bird in question was a Jack Snipe, found by James lurking on the edge of Angel Pond. As ever refinding it was not entirely straightforward, and it was up and down again so quickly that nobody managed a photo. Good views were obtained in flight though, and that along with the behaviour - silent and flushed only from your feet - satisfied James, Tony, Bob and myself as to its identity. Whilst picking carefully along the margins I stumbled across this wee beasty, a Wasp Spider guarding an egg sac. They're harmless of course, but I wouldn't have liked to have found it climbing up my leg if I'd walked into it...
Returning to birds a number of possibilities remain for the year - a contextually rare duck perhaps, like a Goldeneye, Smew or a Mandarin, a wandering Bullfinch or a Crossbill, or perhaps something crazy like a fly-over Cattle Egret? There are certainly enough of those nearby. It would be nice to get to 130, nice round numbers are always more satisfying somehow, and of course every species I add makes it more likely that this record will endure for longer. The prior record was 127. I'm not entirely sure when that was set, but other than the record-holder himself (Nick), nobody else ever came close - indeed my 121 last year was the next highest from anyone else. Unfortunately there isn't a trophy along the lines of the Golden Wheatear Chalice, but there is definitely more than a hint of quiet satisfaction which I expect comes through in this post!
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