|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.