This morning, like so many mornings this month, was once again plagued by dense fog, making birding practically hopeless!
The 2 hour visit today was undertaken more for the sake of getting out for some exercise rather than trying to find those missing species that have failed to turn up this month, with the likes of Canada Goose and Greylag Goose not being recorded for the first time ever during December, plus, without the regular, but less common visitors of Lesser Redpoll, Mandarin Duck, Coot and Mute Swan, meant the final tally of just 56 species was achieved this month, the joint lowest of the fifteen years of recording, joint with the Decembers of 2002 and 2003, which were the first two years of recording, during which visits were far fewer than nowadays. The persistent foggy mornings had a lot to do with the poor tally, as flyovers were just not possible to see!
The poor month capped off a less than average year, with the mean average monthly species total only reaching 66, the lowest since 2007 and a long way from the 70 I try to achieve! The years species total was also lower than recent years, 102 species were seen, compared to the 104 last year, and well down from the peak years of 2013 and 2014 which each had 110 species, the mean for the previous 5 years is 108.
Breeding bird species have held up quite well, with 41 species having been noted with fully fledged young, plus two species that probably successfully bred, but the young of which went unrecorded ( Little Owl and Tawny Owl) The mean average number of species breeding here for the past 5 years is 43.
Well, that was just a quick over view of the year. Next year will be a bit different, I will still keep up my 10 ''full patch walks'' each month, plus do some occasional shorter visits, but they wont be daily as they have been for the past 15 years, there just isn't the variety or interest out there in the declining habitats at pittswood anymore.
My blog posts will no longer be daily, but each of the months 10 ''full patch walks'' will be posted up, along with any photo's ( if the sun ever returns!) I will also post up any significant finds, or any changes that occur as they happen, good or bad!