Thursday, 31 December 2009

..........HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL................
Well, its here again, the final full patch walk of the year, and just like the past few days, it was dull and damp, but the persistant rain has at least moved off now.

It was really hard going at first today, I had walked the Tree Nursery, Migrant Alley and the College Grounds, but nothing of all was seen that was of note, apart from the KINGFISHER at one of the ponds in the college grounds, in fact the number of birds were well down than of late - I get more in my garden!

There were of course the usual suspects, LINNETS were seen leaving their roost at the tree nursery, REDWING and FIELDFARE were flying over with BLACK HEADED and HERRING GULLS, a few BLUE and GREAT TITS were about, the odd CHAFFINCH, and GREENFINCH were seen, they were unusually outnumbered by BULLFINCH'S. A CORMORANT flew towards the Lake, and a GOLDCREST was seen along ashes Lane. However, the walk did come to life a bit when 3 GOLDEN PLOVER flew up from the sheep pasture as I returned through migrant alley at the end of the first part of my walk. Two sightings of Golden Plover on consecutive days! Unheard of on my patch!

The second half of my walk through the Small Holding and wet woods was just as still and quiet, very little bird activity was noticed. As I neared the lake area I could see that the two small lakes had thawed out - at last! Nearing the main lake I could see that it too had mostly thawed, and the far side had a patch of open water, a quick scan of that, and bingo! An amazing six GOOSANDERS came into focus, 2 males and 4 females quite something to see for my patch lake, in fact they out numbered the MALLARD until a few minutes later when they were reinforced by eight of their kind.

I was annoyed that I had left my camera at home now, so later on I returned for some pics. So the last walk of the year was mostly dull and quiet, but it did have some very good highlights!

As promised on yesterdays post, here's some more end of year figures, and I know you all love reading my really interesting stats - dont you :-)

The final tally for 2009 was 109 species, which is the best ever yearly total, beating last years old record of 106. I am well pleased with that, as I think if I can get 100 species in a year on my patch, with its less than optimum habitat, I am doing well.

7 species were patch ticks, Mealy Redpoll, Common Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Woodcock, Barnacle Goose, Shoveler Duck, and Little Ringed Plover, any of which i will be lucky to see next year! These 7 species brought the patch total for the 8 years of recording to 127. The average number of species recorded per year is 97. The first two years of recording produced just just 89 species in each year, but I put that down to getting to know my patch, and the fact I was working full time then!

All these facts and figures are part of the challenge of patch watching for me, but in keeping them it also reveals some interesting changes in the bird life - which is more important. In each of the last eight years I have made 120 FULL patch walks, and I keep a track of the percentage of walks that any one species has been seen. It has thrown up some interesting facts - this year for the first time GREENFINCH has not been seen on 100% of my walks, it has dropped down to 97 %, maybe not significant, but year on year it could be. Yellowhammer has dropped year on year, and my findings compare well to the county trends.

Anyway, thats about it, next year it will start all over again, my target is set at finding 100 species, maybe thats a bit modest looking at the last two years, especially as I reached the target by May this year, but I dont think that will happen again next year, 2009 really was exceptional!

Here's the pics from today, I hope they are appreciated, as I had to go back to get my camera, then all the way back to the lake again, through all that mud!

Above: 4 Goosander, Below: 5 Goosander, couldn't get the 6th one in, I know the photo's are a bit rubbish, but I had to shoot in rubbish light and through a wall of branches!

More excuses for these two pics below of a Kingfisher, this was the second one seen today, I came across it when i was photographing the Goosander. I sneaked up on it from half way round the lake, but the camera wanted to focus on the twigs and branches!


Ken Browne. said...

Hi Warren.
First of all, thank you for your comment. Secondly, well done on totalling 109 species on your Patch, that is nice going, although you have certainly put the work in. No reason why you shouldn't do well next year. As for the Goosander's, to get 6 over there is terrific, there can't be many places in Kent where you can see 6.Well done.
And Greenfinch sightings, as you say it might seem trivial at the moment but as we all know
bird numbers can change so quickly.
I have enjoyed reading your blog Warren, and looking at your photo's, so shall I in 2010.
Happy New year to you and your family.

The Early Birder said...

That's an excellent haul for 2009 Warren. I don't think I'll be walking locally every day next year but I'll try my best to see what turns up!

Happy New Year. FAB.

Kelly said...

...congratulations on 109 species and keeping up the 120 full patch walks. It's quite an an accomplishment and a lot of work (mostly enjoyable, but I remember a few of your trips through the rain, sleet and snow were a bit of a challenge). Wishing you the best in 2010!!

ShySongbird said...

Hi Warren, congrats on 109 species, excellent!

What a shame about the new lens, I was under the impression that all Canon lenses fit all Canon cameras. It must have been really disappointing after looking forward to it for so long.

I'm very envious of the Kingfisher photos, I haven't seen one at all this year let alone got a photo and believe me I have looked...and looked...and looked...!

I wish you and yours a very, very happy and healthy New Year.

Sharp by Nature said...

I can't believe it!! I'm surrounded here by about ten different lakes and not a single goosander to be found on any of them, you're not playing fair!!
Well done with your successful year list, I reckon you'll beat it in 2010.
Happy new year to you and yours.

Kingsdowner said...

Cracking end to the year.....and you may get Goosander and Golden Plover tomorrow, to start 2010 with a bang.
Have a good New Year!

Pete Woodruff said...

A Happy New Year Warren and do keep up the good work in 2010 and my many thanks for your visits and comments on Birds2blog, you're probably fed up of hearing me say it but I'm doing it yet again......I really do appreciate it.

JPT said...

Happy new year.

Anonymous said...

Yep, well done on what was a fantastic year for you, Warren.
All these stats amaze me. The time & effort you put in to compiling them, is astounding. Me on the other hand, i`m just too damn bone idol.

All that aside, have a great 2010 and here`s hoping you reach your targets.

Phil and Mandy said...

Morning Warren, well done on the best yearly total mate, I enjoy reading your blogs and looking at your pics....I'm still trying to work out how to make them all enlarge when clicked on! I hope to have a walk round with you if poss this year wsomewhen? Phil and Mandy

Adam said...

Happy New Year Warren - excellent year count, now the excitement of starting all over again!


This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Warren: Neat captures and a Kingfisher is one hard bird to get.

Newton Stringer said...

Well done on the 109 species Warren ! All the best for a bird filled 2010...