The last day of October, and the last chance to find a new species for the months list. I was keen to get out, but had to wait until 06:30 until it was light enough, however, my enthusiasm was dampened quite literally as a weather front moved through bringing intermittent rain, then a low misty drizzle that closed in all around.
It was quite evident that the birds were well hidden, or had even left the area, as I found very little on my 4 hour visit, just a pitiful 36 species were seen, and actual numbers of birds were well down on previous visits as well. It really was one of the poorest patch walks this year! Such are the ups and downs of patchwatching, but it was made even more frustrating when I had a text message from a friend (cheers dave) to say he had seen a flock of Pink footed geese just go over, and may be headed my way - needless to say I missed them if they did!
The less said about todays visit the better. I decided to watch the garden feeders for an hour or two, I might just get a Brambling visit, or a Blackcap, but I really was clutching at straws for that extra species, and neither showed :-)
About 13:45 the cloud lifted and the sun made an appearance, so I was off out again for a skyscan at Migrant Alley, the 90 minutes I was out proved more interesting than the whole of the previous morning, I added the following 7 species to the daylist, GREYLAG and CANADA GOOSE, as well as 38 FIELDFARE, 2 STOCKDOVE, and 11 LAPWING, 3 LINNETS alighted in the tall hedge, and a GREY WAGTAIL was on the greenhouse roofs. Ther was also a bit of SKYLARK movement, and good numbers were seen, a flock of 24 went over, but two's and 3's went over continually whilst I was out, but that new species for the month eluded me!
So October ended on a Joint record tally with last year, the total of 68 is a very good effort, 4 more than the next nearest october total, achieved in 2007. The average October species total is 61, and the combined total for all octobers is now 85, after adding the 3 new ones seen this month, which were, Barnacle Goose, Golden Plover and that superb Black Redstart.
So what will November bring ? well it all starts again tomorrow, although saying that the weather looks to be very wet and very windy, we'll have to see! The target for November is 66, a very challenging one!