There was very little of note to be found during my 2 and a half hour visit, the female KESTREL hunted around the Greenhouse Grounds, were the only finches of any number were around 8 SISKIN. The adjacent sheep pasture at Migrant Alley had attracted around 50 STARLINGS, plus the usual 100 or so BLACK HEADED GULLS, with a few HERRING GULLS and a COMMON GULL among them.
At least 7 MEADOW PIPITS flew up from the Ashes Lane Fields as I walked to the lakes, where the only notable bird seen on the water was a GREY HERON. The Scrubby Woods and Wet Woods were given a brief looking through, the best on offer from these habitats were a LONG TAILED TIT flock, a TREECREEPER, a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and a COAL TIT.
A shorter post today allows me the time to look back over the year, one which has seen much habitat destruction take place on my patch, which in turn diminishes the species of birds that can be found here.
Just 44 species of birds were confirmed successfully breeding this year, not a disaster, but the numbers of each of those species is declining year on year now. As recently as 2011 I recorded 49 species as confirmed successfully breeding on my patch, in 2012 it was 48, in 2013 it was 45 and in 2014 it was 48, so as you can see, this years breeding total of 44 is a 10% decline in species over 5 years.
Keeping a patch year list, monthly totals and monthly means, gives some incentive to get out and try to better previous records, but few records tumble now-a-days. This years target of 109 species ( the mean average for the previous 5 years) fell woefully short, with just 104 being recorded, the worst since 1999, when patch visits were far fewer. The mean average number of species seen per month this year was 68, that puts it only in 7th place out of the 14 years of study.
Had it not been for some very fortunate one off flyover species, with me being in the right place at the right time, the year total could have been a lot worse, species like Green Sandpiper and Egyptian goose fall into this category, while Marsh Tit, Little Grebe, Pochard, Gadwall and the famous Great Bustard were all one off sightings. Missing birds from the 2015 year list, that could of reasonably been expected, were the likes of Nightingale, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Wigeon, Shoveler Duck and Golden Plover.
The Great Bustard record has to be the highlight of the year though, but I was just as pleased, if not as excited, to find the migrant Tree pipits that arrived one September morning, a real rare bird here. Equally as pleasing were the Brent Geese, 6 of which were feeding on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, the first to be seen actually on my patch rather than just flying over.
The Great Bustard - highlight of the year!
Tree Pipit, a patch rarity
Brent Geese, the first to actually visit my patch