The last full walk round my patch for january took place this morning, a four hour trek from 07:30hrs. I was hoping for just one more new species for the year list- maybe a flyover Mute swan, or a rarely recorded Coot at the lake, but it wasn't to be. Having said that, it was however a very good vist with 48 species being recorded.In the Tree Nursery I saw a SPARROWHAWK working the lines of small trees, and as I looked up over across to migrant alley, a KESTREL was hovering over the stubbles, then almost immediately the local PEREGRINE flew over, carrying a large item of prey, I just pointed my camera at it, and got a pic. of sorts, but the speed it was moving at, and the poor early morning light were against me! I checked the Barn Owl roost but it wasn't home, so went on to Migrant Alley, here, there were 50-60 FIELDFARE and a scattering of REDWING amongst them, I also picked out a single SKYLARK, and a lone MEADOW PIPIT flew up, ''seep seeping'' as it went. The ader tree's along the College stream had a flock of 30-40 SISKIN in, but little else was seen in the college grounds. As I walked back over the sports pitch to migrant alley, a flock of 17 CANADA GEESE flew over, and a little further on, as I scanned the sky, 3 SPARROWHAWKS were in the sky together, maybe the one I saw earlier was one of them ? The raptor fest didn't end there, as I exited the stubbles and looked south, back over the tree nursery, I saw 2 COMMON BUZZARDS being mobbed by crows!
The walk around the wet woods and lake area, turned up REED BUNTING, YELLOWHAMMER, TREECREEPER, MARSH TIT and a dozen MALLARD on the lake. A GREY LAG GOOSE was also on the lake, the first there this year.
A second outing was had around 13:30, mainly to try to get the species total for the day up to a round 50, as I had not seen a Nuthatch, or a Green woodpecker (very unusual!). I made a quick visit to the maize stubbles at migrant alley, no change there, but as I went into the tree nursery, a happy co-incidence happened. As I reached the very spot that the Peregrine had flown over my head this morning, I happened to stop, and look back over the Greenhouse complex, I saw a bird coming in from the NW, as it neared I could see it was.......................the Peregrine again! (or another!) This time I got a better photo of it, still not good, but better! Oh, and I never did get to find the green woodpecker!
So ends the first month of the year, and the 68 species recorded was a record January total, beating the record set last January of 62, so i cant complain! There were 4 species recorded that have not been seen in any previous january's - PEREGRINE, BARN OWL, WOODCOCK and surprisingly the BRAMBLING. The total for all January's combined, now stands at 78, the mean number of species to be seen in january is 58.7
The chase begins again tomorrow - February's record was set in 2006 with 65 species, a tough one to beat I think!