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!