The final visit of October, and the last chance to try to find a new species for the month, and so equalling the best ever monthly total of 78...........
Well it all went pear-shaped from the off, a light but persistent rain fell, and within 90 mins I was back home soaked through! However, I did get over to the lake area, where it was pretty busy, compared to normal, and I found 4 CANADA GEESE, a GREYLAG GOOSE, 13 MALLARDS, 7 MOORHEN and a KINGFISHER, the latter being just the 3rd seen this month.
The drips coming through the trees were more wetting than the actual rain, and finding any small passerines in the conditions was difficult, but a feeding flock, containing all 5 Tit species, a NUTHATCH, two GOLDCREST and a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER made for a cheering sight. MISTLE THRUSH, and REDWING were noted going over as I walked home for a change of hat and coat.
An hour later I was back out, and it was still raining, I walked over to Migrant Alley, and found at least 75 BLACKHEADED GULLS on the paddocks, and on the adjacent College Sports Pitch, where 5 HERRING GULLS and two COMMON GULLS were also seen, the latter is a good species to find on my patch. MEADOW PIPIT, PHEASANT, PIED WAGTAIL and ROOK were the last birds to enter the notebook, which was now soggy and almost unreadable, so once agin I retreated back home to dry off, what a let down the last four visits of the month were :-( I felt sure I could muster up just one more species for the month.
Having said that though I cant complain, this October has been a fantastic month, the species total of 77 has completely eclipsed the previous best October species tally of 68. No fewer than five of the species seen this month were totally new for October, those being - Swift, Whinchat, Pochard, Red Crested Pochard, and Ring Ouzel, the last two species being patch ticks !
The combined list for all nine Octobers is now an impressive 90, and the mean number of species seen for October is 63, but this rises to 67 if only the last 5 years are taken into account. The first few years of watching my patch were undertaken whilst working full time so monthly totals were a lot lower.
The year list is now on 107, two below the best ever year, (set last year) and patch ticks so far this year have reached 4. So November is going to be a tough month if i'm to keep the momentum going, the target for November is 66, set in 2008, last year I managed only 63. The mean number of species seen for the last 8 Novembers is 57.