Thursday, 29 December 2011

Tomorrow'd better be better!

The Safari thought about going down to Chat Alley for the high tide but the weather had other ideas. Hail stones rattled off the kitchen window and cold rain lashed horizontally across the garden. The wind had turned from the south west to a westerly - totally wrong for the place we like to view coming right at us rather than us being sheltered from the south westerly. We wimped out not particularly wanting to stand in the face of 30 - 40 mph gale for a few Kittiwakes, no doubt we'll learn there was something a tad more interesting out there and perhaps we should have been a little braver.
A very brief watch of the feeders gave us a nice finch trio of four Goldfinches, two female Chaffinches and two Greenfinches. Hopefully when Wifey gets her new pergola built for her Wisteria (will it flower again this year - and will the other one flower for the first time?) we can hang the feeders a bit nearer the window for closer pics, although it'll be over the pond and that might not be so good if waste food and droppings contaminate the water.
Wifey tried singing a few new songs on the karaoke machine and still got scores of between 94 and 100 for ones she's not done sung before but was to shy to be videoed for You Tube again. Then she set about the Christmas cards with a pair of pinking shears making next year's gift tags. We sat by listening and making sure Little Bertha was well supplied with logs and pumping out the heat to stave of the minging damp. Talking of logs we saw this and wondered if at that price it would be a good buy - looks like a revamped old model Husky to me - if it is will it be as good as the original or made of naff plastic parts which break on first or second use then you can't get replacement parts? Still it's only 80 quid and there's an ever increasing pile of logs needing cutting stashed in the garden.

There now follows a very quick review of what we thought of 2011 - an interesting year.
We only got one sighting of Barn Owl despite them having a pretty good year. Similarly we only saw one Kingfisher after they appear have been hit hard by last winter. And what happened to all the Jays only three sightings all year.
On the other hand we did somehow manage EIGHT lifers this year - a feat not achieved since our earliest twitching days a long time ago now. Two of those we self found and one was first for the county for which all our thanks go to Frank cos without a dog we wouldn't have been walking in the park at that time of the morning!
Our sister's wedding right down in the far south of the country gave us the only opportunity we've ever had of adding Cirl Bunting to our BI life list and now only Storm Petrel is left of the regular British Isles breeding species to tick off...will it fall n 2012?
The local orchids put on a good show with a new site for Bee Orchids which produced over 30 monster blooms and talking of monster blooms the Hybrid Marsh Orchid was a two foot tall stunner.
Fylde Amphibian & Reptile Group was formed with the subsequent successful search for Great Crested Newts with them turning up in several new sites albeit close to know existing sites, and a very exciting forthcoming project for 2012.
Back to the birds - somehow we managed to book an inland holiday the week of the 'best' autumn storm for a generation and missed a field guide's worth of cracking seabirds including a sackful of one of our 'most wanted' - Sabine's Gulls. But Wales did give us our only Red Kite and Crossbills of the year.
Cetaceans included record breaking numbers of Harbour Porpoises sightings in the first half of the year - after that the weather was too rough to be able to see them! But better was to come in the form of two sightings of Bottle Nosed Dolphins, first four then at least a dozen really close in - THE highlight of he year!!!
Then we found an suspected Iceland gull, later confirmed and eventually poorly photographed it yesterday - CR got a proper pic today
Totals are as follows
Year birds 206
Patch 1 - 71 including one lifer Iberian Chiffchaff
Patch 2 - 73 including one lifer Caspian Gull
Garden - 45
Nature reserve - 93 and somehow that didn't include Meadow Pipit!?! Target for next year must  be the ton!
The is the proviso that there are two full days left of 2011 so these totals may change depending on if we can get out on safari and if so where we go.
Where to next? Somewhere entertaining - if the weather allows...
In the meantime let us know how kind 2011 was or wasn't in your outback.
New Year's Resolution for you all to try - read your electricity and gas meters on 1st of every month to make sure you know how much you're using and then you'll be better able to get the best tariff without getting ripped off by the supply companies - actually you'll still be ripped off; just to a lesser amount...

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Good luck with the next to days Davo :-)

I'm sure the nature reserve will give up 100 species for you next year - get out there more often :-)