Saturday, 31 December 2011

The final sunset of 2011
The final patch visit of 2011 was, as has been for much of the last two weeks, undertaken in overcast, dull but warm conditions, which again had me struggling to find much of note. Its has been very much a case of 'what ive got i'll keep' as the year fizzles out to a disappointing end.

The visit to the lakes first thing provided me with both a CORMORANT and GREY HERON, which is more than has been seen there of late, the usual MALLARD and MOORHENS were hidden away under the bankside vegetation too. A YELLOWHAMMER flew over the Scrubby Woods as I searched the undergrowth there, finding a GOLDCREST, nearby a  TREECREEPER called and both GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS also called in quick succession. A NUTHATCH flew to the adjacent garden, and joined the GREEN, GOLD and CHAFFINCH'S that were already on the feeders there.

Walking over to the College Grounds, through the Tree Nursery, Pub Field, and Migrant Alley yielded few passerines, so it was down to picking out flyover species, which included HERRING GULLS, BLACK HEADED GULLS, and a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, also the only winter thrush of the day, a lone FIELDFARE.

The College Grounds was a bit busier, with a LONG TAILED TIT flock being found, as well as COAL TIT, two more Goldcrest, a pair of BULLFINCH and a flyover calling LESSER REDPOLL, a KINGFISHER was seen to catch a fish, then batter it on a branch before swallowing it down, easily the highlight of the day  :-)

So December ends on the lowest monthly count of the year, with a total of 61 species being found, 4 below the next lowest monthly total, which was set by February. The year list ended on 108, which is a good tally for my patch and the third best of the ten years, but this year was the first that I have not set a record tally, last years 113 species will take some beating!

I'm looking forward to next years challenge, I just hope the habitat degradation, dog walking, and shooting activities are curtailed, otherwise I feel that to carry on with this local patch could be a bit of a waste of my time, i'll have to see how it pans out.

Hopefully, all the readers of these pages will have a great new year celebration, I wish you all the best for the new year, :-)  I'll leave you with a final photo - the last bird recorded here of 2011, of course, a ROBIN!

Last bird recorded in 2011.....Robin


Kelly said...

...and such a beautiful photo too. Looks like he's nabbed a snack. All the best in the coming New Year!

Steve Ashton said...

Happy new year Warren, a nice sunset. Answer to your question, I would prefer 300mm at 5 metres as the lens is smaller and lighter. Saying that, 600mm at 10 metres would give you the same quality, but aching limbs getting it to the subject. Have a good one. Regards Steve A.

Warren Baker said...

Thanks Kelly,
Good luck to you too, enjoy the birds and wildlife over there :-)

Warren Baker said...

Cheers Steve,
It all seems to be swings and roundabouts as far as camera equipment goes!!

Rohrerbot said...

Happy New Year! You have a great blog with fantastic pictures and I look forward to your work next year. Enjoy getting out and about....I'm here in the freezing cold temps of Wisconsin right now and the birding is hit or miss. ON COLD days, it's hard to find signs of life. But yesterday was amazing!

Christian said...

Hi Warren. First of all, thank you very much for your advice regarding the exposure of the woodpeckers. I will give that a go. I use a 500D and it does have AEB as far as I am aware. Cheers mate.

Smashing Robin shot mate and a lovely way to end 2011.

Bob Bushell said...

Amazing capture Warren. Have a new year in 2012.

Ken. said...

Well Warren. Here we are at the end of another year. I admire your loyalty to your local patch. You try to report your sighting almost every day, come rain or shine.
I imagine you have good records of how the wildlife in your area has either increased or declined over the years since you started your blog.
You blog is a not only a interesting read but also a enjoyable one.
Let'shope that 2012 is a very happy one not just for you, but your family too.

Pete Woodruff said...


My Sincere and Kind Regards.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, Warren.

Let the 2012 patch birding/challenge begin ;-)

Little Brown Job said...

Great close up Warren, all the best for 2012 :-)