Monday, 30 December 2013

With more heavy rain and gales for most of the day, only a short, late afternoon patch walk was had, which took me over to the lakes, the place where I am most likely to pick up one last new bird species for the year list, alas it was not to be, just the MALLARDS, MOORHENS, MUTE SWANS and MANDARIN DUCK, of which there were 3 males visible, were on the water today.

I kept my eye on the sky on the way home, hoping for a Lapwing to add to the December list, but no luck there either, so it seems the year and months list will end where they now sit, especially as the weather for the last day of the year looks to be wet and windy again  :-(

This month has been particularly difficult given the very stormy conditions, and the tally of 63 species is only the fifth best December tally out of twelve, 10 species behind the record December total set back in 2008, with a further 5 new species needed for it to reach the fourth best position, it will certainly not move up the rankings now.

Time to look back briefly on the past year I think, and pick out some of the salient points of my birding exploits on my patch.

The number of successful breeding species on my patch, of which I found recently fledged young for, was down by 3 on the previous year, from 43 to 40, with a further 6 probably successfully breeding, but for which no recently fledged young were found for, so 46 species probably did breed, that compares with 48 in 2012.

The total species recorded over the year was 110, a very good total, the 2nd best out of the twelve years of recording here, and 3 behind the record of 113 found in 2010, that year had no less than 7 patch ticks, while 2013 didn't produce a single patch tick, the first of the twelve years not to do so.

Of the 110 species seen this year, 13 of them involved just single sightings of that species, or multiple sightings of the same single bird over several days, 7 of the 13 were flyovers, this shows that it takes a lot of luck and daily visits are a must, even to get to 100 species on my patch! Out of interest the 13 species were, Wigeon, Waxwing, Nightingale, Stonechat, Ring Ouzel and Sedge Warbler, the flyovers were of, Red Kite, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Golden plover, Curlew, Barn owl, and Great Black backed Gull.
Stonechat, a species which the same single bird was present on several dates
The coming year will present me with more challenges, mostly due to habitat destruction being rampant here now, with building work, hedgerow removal and general ''tidying'' of the wild areas all adding to the general decline of the area. Once common migrant breeding species such as Turtle Dove, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and House Martin will almost certainly be lost as breeding birds from my patch this year, going the same way as the Nightingale, 2014 could be the year they are only recorded as passage birds.
Lesser Whitethroat - will  a pair find a place to nest here next year ?
During the quieter months of June and July, I look forward to recording the Butterflies and Dragonflies on my patch, although these are also suffering from habitat loss. I only started serious record keeping of Butterflies in 2011, when I found 22 species, the following year I found 23 species and this year was the best yet with 24 species being found. My Dragonfly recording only just started this year, the 18 species I found seems a good tally, but more years of recording will tell for sure.
Clouded Yellow, 2013 was an exceptional year for these migrant butterlfies
Migrant Hawker Dragonflies were a common sight this year too.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Tidying is an abomination that needs to be resigned to the annals of history!
Good luck tomorrow for a ' last blast'

Warren Baker said...

why? That's what I ask myself!! why does clearing away the likes of a bramble bank that isn't affecting anyone, have to be cut down and tidied!!

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Both your butterfly and dragonfly numbers are very good .
With luck , I would say 30 would be a reasonable butterfly target and 21 for damsel/dragonfly , so you are well on the way for both .
All the best for the new year to yourself and your good lady .