For a bit of fun, and to spice up what could be a long and difficult spring's birding (lockdown, sticking to dry inland patches, etc), I've devised a scoring system for the more notable migrants. It is loosely based on my perceived status of each species at a local level (hence why acrocephalus warblers have a higher score than might otherwise be expected). Being basically dry (only one modest ‘village’ pond) almost all wildfowl and waders will be flyovers and of few species. Each individual bird scores, thus a flock of 5 Yellow Wagtails would score 15 points. I will also score birds as bird/days, so a Black Redstart that stays on site, and which I observe over four different days, will score 28 points in total. All meaningless but a bit of fun - it will, at the very least, amuse me.
The patches that will be covered are all within two miles of home: Priest and Howell Hill; Canons Farm; Epsom and Walton Downs. Plus the garden and anywhere in-between.
1pt Wheatear, Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Brambling, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin
3pt Yellow Wagtail, Common Redstart, Whinchat
5pt Hobby, Tree Pipit, Ring Ouzel, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Crossbill
7pt Cuckoo, Woodlark, Black Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher
10pt Little Egret, any geese (except for Canada, Greylag and Egyptian), any ducks (except for Mallard and Tufted), Mediterranean Gull, Short-eared Owl, Nightingale, Grasshopper Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher
15pt Merlin, Water Rail, any wader (except for Lapwing), any tern
20pt Honey-buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Osprey, Turtle Dove, Corn Bunting
30pt Great White Egret, Common Crane, Quail, Long-eared Owl, Hoopoe, Wryneck, Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike
50pt Species such as Black Kite, Alpine Swift, Bee-eater
There might be the need for me to assign any big surprises to a relevant category (such as an overflying skua or a Bluethroat), but if such an event comes along I’ll happily wrestle with the problem!
It all kicks off today (March 15th) and will carry on until June 21st, taking me up to (hopefully) the easing of all Covid restrictions and allow those late overshoots to bump up my score. There is method in this madness, as on June 1st 2020, at Howell Hill, I had a Bee-eater sail over my head calling...