The final patch visit of the year took place in dull cloudy conditions, but that's a vast improvement on recent visits as there wasn't any Fog, Snow, Frost, Ice or wind!!
It was a tale of two halves today, on the ground it was hard going to find much, it seemed that there had been a mass exodus of birds from my patch since yesterday, with species like Treecreeper, Mistle Thrush, Long Tailed Tit and even the common Dunnock not being found, imagine, not being able to find a Dunnock!
Overhead however, things were much more exciting, with flyovers from BRAMBLING, SISKIN, REDPOLL, CORMORANT, 6 MEADOW PIPITS, one of the local PEREGRINES from the tower, and best of all 3 GOOSANDER (71) and an EGYPTIAN GOOSE (72) both new species for the month, the latter is only the second record for this species this year.
A STOCK DOVE that also flew over was just the second seen this month, whilst two species were seen that I hope stay around for tomorrows new year list - the GREY WAGTAIL, seen again on the manure heap at Migrant alley, and the COMMON SNIPE again at the wet field margin adjacent to the Greenhouse complex. The YELLOWHAMMERS had increased in number, but by just one, 8 now fed in the new paddock at the north end of Migrant Alley.
A good total of 48 species was recorded in the 3 and half hours I was out today, and the two new December species takes the months total to 72 species, just one off the record set in 2008, six of those species were new to any December, Red Kite, Curlew, Brambling ( about time I got one in Dec. !) Egyptian Goose, Jack Snipe and Waxwing.
So there ends the 9th year of recording on my patch, the most successful one so far, with 113 species being recorded, 4 better than the previous best set last year. Seven species were patch ticks, the GREENSHANK, CURLEW, RING OUZEL, RED CRESTED POCHARD, WIGEON, JACK SNIPE and WAXWING, incredibly all these were seen in the final 5 months of the year, with the last two being found in December.
There were some losses from last year though, most notable the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and Red Legged Partridge both were only ever seen once last year, and could well be missed again next year, as sightings have slowly petered out over the years.
I took the camera out today, just in case! I was glad I did in the end, for as well as this nice female BLACKBIRD, I also got a photo of the flyover Egyptian Goose, it's not very clear in the poor light, but you can just make out the salient points to ID it :-)