Monday, 19 April 2021

Getting serious

What started as a New Year's Day 'green' bird race challenge - to see/hear as many avian species as possible travelling only on foot or by bike - has become something of a preoccupation as curiosity about just how many species I could chalk up in a year got the better of me. So much so that I though I should create some kind of record of the effort in this neglected corner of the internet. 

Scaup (female), Brands Bay, 17th January
Scaup (male), Brands Bay, 17th January

Clearly there is some catching up to do so, as my last post ended the first day of 2021 on 94 species, and bitter recriminations about how it could have been 100 but for mechanical hitches with the bike, let's start with a look back at the rest of January.

Firecrest at Arne, 3rd January
Crossbill, Morden Bog, 9th January

The weekend of 2nd-3rd January before the return to work saw me get to the 100 mark with the addition of Snipe, Marsh Harrier, Linnet, Spotted Redshank, Spoonbill and Firecrest - all species which should have been possible with a bit more time on 1st January - with visits to my local patch at Swineham, Arne and Middlebere. 

Grey Wagtail, Wareham, 10th January

Slavonian Grebe, Jerry's Point, 17th January

The following weekend I made my first visit of the year to Morden Bog, where Crossbill was easily added, and my second to Studland, failing for the second time in 2021 to locate the distant Long-tailed Ducks. It was a grim day with only Kestrel added to the year list, and a reminder after the tick-fest of New Year's Day that a year long effort would likely include some frustrations and fallow periods.

Black-necked Grebes, Studland, 23rd January

Sanderling, Studland, 23rd January

Still, I persevered, and a third long slog through Rempstone Forest to Studland on 23rd finally paid off, with views not only of the distant Long-tailed Ducks, but the addition of Greenshank, Sandwich Tern, Rock Pipit, Med Gull and Knot to the tally. The following day presented the first opportunity of the year for a bike-twitch of a minor rarity when Dave Foot discovered a couple of Ring-necked Ducks tucked away off the Puddletown Road, just 3 miles from home. I was there early on 24th to see them, adding Woodlark and Kingfisher to the list in the process. 

Ring-necked Duck, Binnegar, 24th January

Ring-necked Ducks, Binnegar, 24th January

The addition of a local Brambling with a finch flock at Holme Lane brought the list to 116 by the end of January. I wasn't expecting much in February, having done pretty well in January, and it being too early for migration - or so I thought. Stand by for details in the next post.

Cetti's Warbler on Wareham Common on the last day of the month

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