HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
The start of a new year! This will be the 11th one spent recording the birds and other wildlife seen at Pittswood, and the fifth one recording everything via this blog. Many thanks to all who read and comment on my sightings ( and rantings!) I always enjoy reading your comments but seldom find the time to reply to everyone, so I'll thank you all - again :-)
As always, I was eager to get the year list off to a good start this morning, so at the late hour of 08:00hrs, when it had only just got light, I set off into the now usual weather conditions, that is, heavy cloud, wind and spits of rain! Funny, exactly the same weather as last year :-) The first bird on the list was a ROBIN, which if you were paying attention to yesterdays post, you'll remember was also the last species of 2011, and for you with elephant type memories was also the first bird of 2011 :-)
The first full patch walk lasted just a little over 3 hours, in which 42 species were seen ( see the 2012 list in the sidebar on the right) Highlights were few, but the feral BARNACLE GOOSE seen on one of the lakes, was a species not seen in any January before, taking the combined January species total to 81 now. The best January total, of 68 species, was achieved in both 2009 and 2011, so it would seem quite possible to beat those, looking at the combined January total, but it's never that easy, the weather has a big part to play, especially if it turns cold, this is when the likes of Brambling, Snipe, Woodcock, Green Sandpiper, visiting Ducks, and flyover waders help swell the months total, fingers crossed for a cold spell then!
As for the year list target, well last year I was trying to reach the average total achieved for the previous 3 years, ( when I started blogging) which was 109, I failed by 1 ! This year the average total for the previous 4 years is also 109, so that's what i'll be chasing in 2012! I'll also be trying to beat the record totals set in each individual month again, but that's now proving a difficult task, I only managed it in April and May last year. The average monthly species total seen throughout the year dropped for the first time last year, from the high of 70.25 in 2010, to 69.00, that's something else to try to improve upon :-)
Back to today, and by 11:00hrs the rain had set in, and is still coming down heavy now at 15:30hrs, even the garden birds stopped coming in by 14:00hrs, but a COAL TIT was picked out of the gloom, I didn't get one on the list this morning, also picked out in the grey skies as I peered out across the tops of the Wet Woods from my upstairs window, was a CORMORANT, no doubt going to visit the lakes, this brought the days sightings to 44 species, a reasonable start to 2012 :-)
Whilst on the subject of my garden birds, last year was quite a good year for species seen actually using it, in all, 36 species were recorded, which is the joint best total along with 2006 and 2010, although last year was the first that no new species were added to the garden list, that remains on 54. The best month was March, when 27 species came in, way over the monthly average of 22 species.
Nothing from the Camera today, the best shutter speed attained this afternoon was 20, I like to get at least 400 !!