This year my patch has been visited by 108 species thus far, this is the third highest total for the ten years of recording, and the fourth year to have passed 100 species, I consider I have done well when I reach 100 species on my patch, as the average annual species total is 99.6.
Of the 108 species this year, just 42 of them successfully bred, another 3 species were found to have probably bred successfully, with evidence found, but no fledged young seen, they were PHEASANT, SWIFT, and TREECREEPER, a further 3 species probably bred but no evidence at all was found to confirm this, they were LITTLE OWL, CUCKOO and STOCK DOVE. One species unsuccessfully made a breeding attempt, that was the COOT, which layed eggs, but deserted the nest for some reason, these were the first Coot to have nested on my patch. In all 49 species, not that bad really.
Looking back at my end of month totals, in only two months did I set a record species count, those being April and May, with the total for January equalling that months record total. Next year will prove to be very difficult to set a record total for any month, and I've probable reached a plateau there ! Its interesting to compare my first five years average monthly totals, with the second five years, as this shows the value of increasing the visits to my patch. From 2002 to 2006 I was finding 59.5 species on average every month, this is when I didn't do so many afternoon patch visits, and was working full time. Then from 2007 to 2011 the average species total found per month jumps to 67.7, so more visits does equal more species found!!
Back to this year though, and the patch list was incremented by 3 species, I left it late to add anything this year, but they were all brilliant species to find, first a GRASSHOPPER Warbler turned up at Migrant Alley one September morning, then on the same day in October, ( 26th) I recorded 2 CROSSBILL flyover the Greenhouse Complex, then just half hour later a GREAT SKUA was seen going over Migrant Alley - bird of the year for me!
I always try, and have so far succeeded, to do 120 full patch walks a year - give or take 2 , and record the percentage of walks that every species has been seen on. I can see that for species like YELLOWHAMMER, the news isn't good, with 86% of full patch walks in 2002 having this species recorded, but this year just 36% of full patch walks produced a Yellowhammer. Overall, 15 species were recorded on every visit, and 17 were recored just once.
I could pick out stats all day but will leave it here for now :-) and brighten the page with some more common garden bird stuff I photographed this afternoon, in fading light.
|CHAFFINCH ( Female) the bird here was lit by the sun reflecting off my window, it was in fact perched in an otherwise shady corner, interesting light!|