A LITTLE OWL was calling as I walked to work this morning, but it wasn't light enough to see anything else until the end of my commute, the clocks go back soon, so I'll get just a few weeks of light in the mornings again, before winter sets in proper.
This afternoon was a hum drum affair, only birds that I would expect to see were recorded, apart maybe, from the CHIFFCHAFF which was still in the scrub area adjacent to the lake. There were no geese on the lake today though, just 5 MALLARD and 3 MOORHEN. Again there was much activity at the feeders in the large garden area, BULLFINCH was the best bird seen there, but CHAFFINCH, GREENFINCH, GOLDFINCH, BLUE and GREAT TITS and a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER all came to feed. A GOLDCREST gave a breif bit of song nearby.
Over at Migrant Alley the Stonechats have moved on, or at least, I couldn't find them, and all that was seen on the paddocks were PIED WAGTAILS and CORVIDS, with a single MEADOW PIPIT and two SKYLARKS that flew over. So it wasn't a very inspiring day!
I got to thinking about my record year list whilst out, and how difficult next year was going to be. I have improved on my yearlist every year since I started watching my patch in 2002 - except 2003, in which I equalled the previous year. The reason for the increase is the fact that I increased my casual visits, and that I was just getting used to where the birds liked to be. However, I have always carried out 120 full patch visits each year - plus or minus one visit.
Year Totals to date
2002 - 89, 2003 - 89, 2004 - 92, 2005 - 93, 2006 - 98, 2007 - 99 2008 - 106, 2009 - 107, so far!
So next year will be the toughest ever I think, especially when I checked how often each species was seen this year, 10 of them were seen on just one occassion. They all could have been easily missed, had I taken a differnt turn, or been walking at a different pace, or just not looking up! On the other hand, what did I miss!!!