A visit to my patch wasn't possible today, apart from the walk home from work, where I saw 9 LAPWING on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley.
Later this afternoon, I had a look through the years sightings from my patch. I like to compare years to see how the birds are faring in the countryside, after all my patch is a standard piece of farmland/residential area for Kent, and so represents a snapshot of whats going on.
The species that has declined most in sightings, year on year, is the YELLOWHAMMER, last year I recorded it on 79% of visits, but this year it has been seen just 56% of visits ( figures for Full Patch Visits Only, of which 120 are carried out each year).
It's a better story for the LESSER REDPOLL which has been sighted more often, it has gone up from 11% last year to 16% this. Also increasing in sightings is the TAWNY OWL, it was recorded on just 2% of visits last year but 7% so far this year.
I have comparable figures for each species, but wont go through them all here. A quick summary would be to say, of the 110 species seen so far this year 17 have been recorded on every visit, which was the same figure as last year, on the other end of the scale 21 of those species were seen just once ( again these are only Full Patch Walk Figures).
Year on year I have increased my yearly species counts, but the early years had far fewer shorter visits due to me working full time. Here are the years counts:
2002 - 89, 2003 - 89, 2004 - 92, 2005 - 93, 2006 - 98, 2007 - 99, 2008 - 106, 2009 - 109, this year 110 so far.
Also interesting is the average number of species seen per month for each year, this has risen from 57.6 species in 2002, to 68.9 species this year.
To improve on these totals will become very difficult now, and I think the figures will level off after this year.
Well, sorry for the stat based post today - normal service will be resumed tomorrow, However more Christmas interruptions will occur next week :-(