Today's last full walk round my patch of the year was the 121st, and that keeps the tradition of doing at least 120 full ciruits of my patch over each of the last 7 years.
This morning wasn't as frosty as yesterday, in fact the frost that was about was from the day before. I left at 07:30, and it was barely light, but I wanted to see the LINNETS leave their roost, I did see them, and also was treated once again to the sight of the BARN OWL hunting next to it's roosting shack, until it was mobbed by a CARRION CROW which sent it back into the shack. I noticed a flock of some 30 LAPWING coming from Migrant Alley, and I suspected they had been flushed up by a dog walker, or the shepherd, but as I arrived I found that it was in fact the PEREGRINE! It was sitting in the middle of the Maize stubble, needless to say nothing else was around. A circuit of the College grounds produced the standard array of birds, nothing unusual today, and the return walk through Migrant Alley, only gave me MEADOW PIPIT and BLACK HEADED GULL for my list.
The walk around the wet woods and lake area was also disappointing, mainly because everything was frozen. A couple of LESSER REDPOLL flew over, and a SPARROWHAWK (the first of the festive period) also went past, but very little else of note was recorded.
Just 43 species were seen, with 2 from the garden to add - NUTHATCH and MARSH TIT. An afternoon sit on the horse jump, over at Migrant Alley, for 90mins, was not the spectacle of yesterday, all I got was cold! Well a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL did fly over, bringing the day list to 46, but that was it.
Above: SONG THRUSH
So thats it, another year of birding at the Pittswood Patch ends, and it was the most Successful year of the 7 years of recording. Some basic stats - The year list ended on 106, easily beating last years record total of 99. I was very pleased with this, as I have been chasing the '100 in a calander year' and only thought it would achieved narrowly, how wrong was I!
The full patch list went up by 5, bringing it to 121 species, they were, BARN OWL, OSPREY, MARSH HARRIER, POCHARD, and GOLDENEYE.
The number of species that bred or attempted to breed, was 47, the other 59 species were just visiting or passing through! This shows how hit and miss my year list can be. Some of the species were seen just once, I happened to be in the right place at the right time!
2009 will be a testing time I think. 2008 monthly totals were beaten in every month bar one (July), and some months were well beaten, i'll find it hard to do better next year.
When I started recording birds on my patch in 2002, just 89 species were recorded in that year, with an average monthly list of 57. The average monthly list for 2008 is 67! This goes to prove the beter you know your patch, the more likely you are to find those 'special' species.
Well I've bored you with enough stats for now. I wish all who read this blog a HAPPY NEW YEAR and an excellent birding year for 2009. Also I'd like to thank all of those who leave comments, I read them all, but don't often get the time to reply always, please keep them coming!