The same grey, dull weather prevailed for my walk this morning, but at least it was mild, and windless.
It was evident from the off that there were not as many birds about today, as there had been in recent days. I found it hard to track down some of the most common species. One welcome visitor was a flyover GREYLAG GOOSE, the first this month, other than that, it was much the same as yesterday, right down to the sighting of a LITTLE EGRET at the college stream. Migrant alley had 25 SKYLARK feeding in the stubble, and as I sat and watched the sky the last of the 47 species seen today flew over in the form of a GREAT BLACK BACKED GULL, not a very common bird here at all, and yet another new species for this month.
This months total has so far reached 67, easily passing last years record December total of 62, and is surprisingly higher than this July's total (66), equal to June's total, and just one less than May's. The total for all Decembers combined is 79 - which is higher than the combined August total (77). These figures go to show, I believe, that my patch is all about 'visiting' birds. There are not many resident breeding birds, and it is just down to luck, and being in the right place at the right time, and of course persistance and frequent visits, that dictates the monthly totals.
I was watching the garden after my walk, and it appears that the Sparrowhawk attacks have stopped, or almost stopped. The behaviour of the birds has totally changed, they feed from the floor now! They bath in the pond! They go to the open parts of the garden! ROBINS and DUNNOCKS perch on plant pots and rocks out in the open, and the Tits and finch's all crowd onto the feeders, non of that take and fly stuff. So..... I have moved the feeders back out to the places that I designed them to be, over the paving slabs, will the hawk return for easy pickings, or has he met his demise somewhere ? He was at least 4 years old ( I know because it was ringed by my friend) and I read somewhere the average age of a sparrowhawk is 3 years. We shall see!!