HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL THE READERS OF THESE PAGES !
Another year begins, this will be the tenth year spent watching the wildlife on my patch at Pittswood, and this will be the fourth year ive recorded everything via this blog. I hope the many readers will keep following my exploits, and will keep the comments coming, all of which I read, and try to reply to, especially if a specific question is asked. Thanks to you all :-)
Well, after being kept up by all the celebrations last night, I managed to get out just before 08:00hrs this morning, and was eager to get the 2011 year list under way ( The list - in order of Appearance - can be seen on the sidebar to the right of the page)
The weather was cloudy, dull, and drizzly with a light westerly wind, so once again the camera stayed at home, I cant remember the last time I saw the sunshine, it was at least a week ago!
The first bird of 2011 was the ROBIN, who's cheery song mocked the best efforts of winter to dampen his spirits! Only slowly did the morning reveal its birdlife thereafter, and eventually after visiting the Tree Nursery, Pub Field, Migrant Alley, the College Grounds and the Greenhouse Complex Grounds, I managed to find most of the Regular species.
My first noteworthy record of the year was finding at least 200 SISKIN feeding in Alders along the College Stream, it was also good to get LESSER REDPOLL on the year list, one flew over calling, and later in my visit 14 were found feeding in the usual Silver birch over by the lake area.
The YELLOWHAMMER flock that has been seen over the last few visits feeding by the new paddock at the north end of Migrant Alley, had again increased in number, a very pleasing 26 of them were seen as they flew into cover. Also pleasing was finding a single COMMON SNIPE in its usual place at the wet field margin, a species that can, and has, evaded my list in previous years.
Flyovers today included three raptor species, PEREGRINE, KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK as well as four Gull species, BLACK HEADED, HERRING, and COMMON GULL, as well as GREATER BLACK BACKED GULL, the latter is a great one for the year list as it was only recorded twice last year :-)
The second half of my walk through the small holding, Wet Woods and Lakes area provided me with all the regular and scarce woodland species that are to be found there, GREAT TIT, BLUE TIT, COAL TIT, LONG TAILED TIT, MARSH TIT, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, and both the GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER were all easily found today. Unfortunately the lakes are still frozen over, except for a few places near the banks, so I didn't get Mallard on the list, a pity, as that would have brought the day list to 50 species.
I usually try for 100 species for the calender year, that is quite a challenge for my patch, limited as it is, by its few habitats, but in the last three years i have achieved that, and more, so i'll make my target more difficult, 109 is the mean average for the last 3 years, so thats what i'll be chasing :-) Oh! and the best January species total is 68, achieved in 2009, so i've that to chase as well !