Thursday, 31 December 2015

Early cloud on the eastern horizon prevented a nice sunrise, but once it cleared the morning became bright and sunny

So in sunny (for once!) conditions I carried out the final full patch walk of the year, the 120th. It didn't provide any new species for the month or year, but the species total recorded was a little above average, with 44 being found. 

A view up onto the hills to the NW of my patch, across the mostly baron sheep pasture at Migrant Alley

Of the 44 species seen today, there were a few highlights for me, one was finding the half dozen YELLOWHAMMER along the sunny side of the Greenhouse Copse, where there were also a pair of BULLFINCHES present.

A stunning male Yellowhammer, a distant shot at 40 meters, but they dont allow close approach!

Another good patch bird to find here is the GREY WAGTAIL, one was seen at the Greenhouse Grounds again, but I failed to get an image of that! One of the overwintering CHIFFCHAFFS that have been seen recently was at the Greenhouse Grounds too.

LESSER REDPOLL, SISKIN, SKYLARK, and REDWING were recorded as flyovers only, as was a CORMORANT.

Up to a dozen MEADOW PIPITS were at the Ashes Lane Fields, while over at the lakes nothing at all of interest was seen on the water this morning. Song from MISTLETHRUSH and SONGTHRUSH boomed out for most of my 4 hour walk, with those, the likes of WREN, ROBIN and DUNNOCK also gave some song, making it feel very springlike  :-)

In the Scrubby Woods and Wet Woods, only the Long Tailed Tit and Jay were not found of the scarcer Woodland Species, but the others, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, COAL TIT, GOLDCREST, STOCK DOVE, another pair of Bullfinch, GREAT SPOTTED and GREEN WOODPECKERS all showed well, but not well enough for a photo!

The only raptors seen today were the female KESTREL hunting along Ashes Lane and a pair of BUZZARDS that were soaring low over the Wet Woods.

Hopefully, I will do equally as well, preferably better, for the first patch walk of next year as I did the last of this!

A few December stats...........

The 67 species found during the month was the joint 4th best effort out of the 14 years of recording, having the same tally as December 2009. The mean average tally for the previous 5 Decembers is 66, so that was surpassed....just! The only addition to the 14 year combined December tally was the Mediterranean Gull, that tally now stands at 92, which is the 8th best of the 12 months.

Ive already mentioned that the year list was disappointing for me this year, at 104 it was 5 below my target, and the worst tally since the 99 species seen in 2007, when visits were far fewer than now.

I always like to set the target of finding an average of 70 species per month over the course of the year, it's difficult to achieve, being done just twice (2010 and 2014). This year I reached an average 68, but of course, I'll try again next year, these challenges I set get me up and out, even when there's not much else out there to enthuse!

I'll end with a few garden images I took this afternoon and to wish everyone who reads these pages a healthy and enjoyable 2016   :-)

A Lesser Redpoll visited my drinking/bathing pond, not much light there, but not a bad image  :-)

Not much else visiting in any numbers today apart from the BLUE TITS

Well Worth taking a photo of, even though I have scores of them already!


Derek Faulkner said...

Another healthy bird count for the month/year and from the photo, a stunning piece of countryside.
Your opening photo was the double of the one that I had looking across The Swale this morning.
Looking forward to dawn tomorrow on the reserve, no doubt with a headache, and seeing the Hoodie and a pair of Hen Harriers that are roosting there and the Whitefronts.

Wilma said...

You ended 2015 with some sunshine after all! That yellow hammer is very eye catching. Wishing you the best for 2016. Cheers!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Sunshine! Lucky you

Best wishes for 2016 - can you beat the bustard?????



Warren Baker said...

Yes, to the human eye, the countryside is very aesthetically pleasing................

Warren Baker said...

Happy new year to you Wilma!
Thanks for all you visits and very welcome comments :-)

Warren Baker said...

Davyman, the answer to your way! LoL

Andy said...

Hi Warren

Interesting comparing my patch list with yours. I managed 102 over here in East Peckham and you had 9 species on your list that I didn't get. Great Bustards aren't very common over here either. So in the relatively small geographical area of Hadlow/East Peckham that makes 111 for the year.
Have a Happy New Birding Year and let's see what this year brings.

Warren Baker said...

Hi Andy,
What did you find there that I didn't here? Sedge and Reed Warbler no doubt are two.

Andy said...

Hi Warren

Sorry- been away. No to Reed Warbler, a real rarity over here.
Unfortunately I'm doing this from memory as I can't see your 2015 list now. However, Sedge Warbler was a yes along with Black tailed Godwit, Wryneck, Honey Buzzard, Lesser spotted Woodpecker, Pintail and Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper? (not sure if it was on yours). Actually if my estimate of 111 was right 'cos I also had Barn Owl and Turtle Dove. Again did you get those. Did you get Nightingale? Quite a few over here.

Warren Baker said...

Andy not only were most of those missing from my 2015 list, some of them are not even on my Pittswood list! Like, Black Tailed Godwit, Wryneck and Honey Buzzard. Pintail, Little Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper have only appeared here once. No Barn Owl this year or Nightingale, but I managed Turtle Dove!