Monday, 21 December 2015

10 days left and all to play for

The Safari has done quite well in our annual Year List Challenge with Monika and exceeded our target of 200 species for tour very productive few days with LCV at Spurn.
But the overall total hides some perhaps unusual misses on our local patches.
We're very unlikely to get back to Patch 2 this year, but have added it as a second site for next year's Patchwork Challenge. How did we do? 77 species out of a target of 90 in the end, 85.6%.
So what was missed, a rather mixed bag of what could/should have been reasonably be expected - Arctic Tern, Black Tailed Godwit, Collared Dove, Fulmar, Golden Plover, House Martin, Kestrel, Little Gull, Mallard, Peregrine, and even Woodpigeon.
The garden didn't do so well only managing 42, out of a target of 55 (76.4%) with a long list of absentees including some which must surely have passed unseen while we were out at work - work eh, the bane of the birding classes! Canada Goose, Fieldfare, Great Spotted Woodpecker (maybe not so expected now the neighbour's large Sycamore tree has been removed), Grey Wagtail, House Martin, Jay, Kestrel, Lesser Redpoll, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Peregrine,  and Pied wagtail.
The nature reserve was by far our best location coning in with 109 species, nine over our target of a ton...and there's still a week left of the year to add another one or two. Not many 'missing' species seeing as we're so far over target but with all the water raging through the local rivers a Kingfisher must be on the cards. Lesser Redpoll and Little Egret might have been added to the tally by now with a little bit of luck. But where are the Otters? Like the Kingfisher they may be expected to turn up to escape the worst the rivers are throwing at them, and what about favourites from the 'old days' Grey Partridge, Golden Plover and Brown Hares which used to be fairly regular in the adjacent fields, sadly it seems they are nothing more than a memory.
Going back to our overall total missing species reasonably expected are Great Northern Diver, Bittern, Mandarin, Red Grouse, Hobby, Redstart, Long Tailed Duck and Curlew Sandpiper. Overall we're pleased with how the year has panned out, a couple of out of area birding trips/hols but other than that not too much 'out of area' twitching has provided plenty of marvelous sightings of all manner of flora and fauna - you don't have to go far to see fantastic wildlife there's lots to see only a few yards from your front door all you have to do is keep your eyes (and ears) open.
We had a wildly windy hour or so at the nature reserve after this morning's torrential rain. Once again we failed to find any Long Eared Owls which wasn't too surprising they'd probably still be sheltering after the atrocious weather. Unsuitably shod we couldn't get to the other side for a look without going the long way round. We got side tracked looking over the water so didn't get that far. The wind was getting stronger making the reeds dance to a crazy tune and whipping up white horses on the mere so only the brave Coot were sat out, the rest of the waterfowl were taking shelter in and against the reeds on the far side. Lots of uncountable Teal and  Wigeon, 22 Tufted Ducks, a couple of Goldeneyes completed the line up. In the distance a Carrion Crow tussled with a Kestrel while a Buzzard flew behind them. With little happening we wandered back to the car having a long but unsuccessful look for the Stonechat at the wetland on the way, the light was a lot better today but with all the rain there was no way we'd have been able to get on to the field for some pics had it been present.
Then it was time to hit the shops for yet more cold and flu remedies.
Where to next? If the weather is kind we'll probably be out on safari somewhere.
In the meantime let us know who's not posing for photos in your outback.

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