Saturday, 31 January 2015

End of January report

Green Woodpecker at Priest Hill this morning, just before three Stonechats started leaping about in front of me just as the camera battery died... schoolboy error!

Well that's already one twelfth of 2015 gone and one month into my 'inner uber patch challenge' against Northumberland's very own Stewart Sexton. The bare facts are that I have recorded 65 species that equates to 72.2% of my target. The latest addition was a female Blackcap that came to fat balls in the garden this afternoon. But numbers do not tell the story in any satisfactory way.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this 'very local' birding. I have forced myself (not too much of a chore) to cover areas that I have previously considered to be bird less and not worthy of effort. I have gone back to check on other areas that has seen me visit them more often in the past month than I had in the previous twelve. Even after over forty years of birding it is a joy to discover that I can still get excited by such modest rewards - but never the less, rewards are most definitely there!

Highlights so far have been Little Egret, Mandarin, Water Rail, Common Snipe, Peregrine and Firecrest, not forgetting a flock of three Stonechats (up from a singleton) at Priest Hill this morning. What's missing? Well, Siskin and Brambling are the two obvious species and it's only a matter of time before a Great Black-backed Gull lumbers over or a Tawny Owl calls out in the night. Am I bored? No way, although I will be disappearing to the hallowed shingle of Dungeness for a few days in February...

I have added another two blogs to my worthy list.  Firstly that of Derek Faulkner's 'Letters from Sheppey'. It is a magical place to spend some time reading about the wildlife and the ways of the countryside in his part of north Kent. I'm already looking forward to his next post. Also the prolific Warren Baker's Pittswood Birds - an almost daily update on his local study area together with some rather fine photography.

9 comments:

  1. No Siskin, Brambling or Lesser Redpoll here yet this year Steve, you have found 4 more species than me for January, which has been my poorest since 2007!

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    1. Hi Warren, I've only seen one Lesser Redpoll although a flock of 30 have been seen by others.

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    2. Steve,
      In answer to your question on my blog.................I use a canon 7D camera plus the canon F5.6L 400mm prime lens. For insects I use the canon F2.8L 100mm macro lens :-)

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  2. Hi Steve, thats a good start to the year. I am awaiting sitters such as Lesser Redpoll and Stock Dove. Some waterfowl would be nice, such as Gadwall or Goosander as for waders, the mighty Dunlin always takes some catching up with on my rocky shoreline...

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    1. Hi Stewart, thoroughly enjoying our little bit of birding competition, it's really taking me back to my roots and all of the basic stuff. Good luck in Feb!

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  3. Not surprised by your absence of Siskin and Brambling Steve as, apart from Goldfinch, the late autumn finch passage down here at Dungeness was virtually non-existent, and I never did see or hear a Brambling, which has almost taken on the status of a sub-rarity.

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    1. A sad state of affairs Paul. Hope to see in in a couple of weeks.

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  4. Love the whole composition of that Green Pecker shot, Steve.

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    1. Thanks Dean, the bird was quite distant so never would have made a 'frame filler'!

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