The enthusiasm was contagious and I found myself asking what I could do with my 2014 dose of it. I don't have the time or chance to chase lifers at the drop of a hat, so setting that target is pointless. I needed something that is actually manageable and realistic so I decided to thouroughly record everything from my trips to my newly adopted patch - Staines Moor.
"CONGRATULATIONS! We've been doing that for years!" I hear you cry, but let me explain: I don't do that. I go out, enjoy watching birds, keep one list of lifetime birds and that's it. I know what I've seen but couldn't tell you at what time on what date and what colour socks I was wearing at the time.
I'm really keen to get a picture of what comes and goes throughout a year on the Moor, to see what times of the day produces more or what weather proves more productive. At times last year I would get so frustrated with 'the Moor' when I'd walk around for hours and see pretty much nothing but now, even those days are more enjoyable as I feel I'm working towards collecting a good heap of data at the end of the year.
It's never going to be a complete record, I can't move my family onto the Moor and give up work BUT I can give every spare birding minute to the place, which is what I've managed to do so far. I work shifts - 4days on, 4days off (not including overtime!) and have a family, so some months yield more spare time than others but as I'll not be back to the Moor again until February, I thought I'd share the first months worth of stats.
Hold onto your trousers, here it comes:
- I made (only) 4 visits
- totalling 8hrs 15mins
- saw 738 birds
- of 38 different species, those being:
It's certainly no Flamborough or Blakeney point, it never will be, but it has given me good reason to put more time into the patch, I feel like I'm doing good research as well as birding and getting to know the place a lot better. Here's to upcoming months and hopefully some interesting additions when Spring arrives!
Good 'ol Moor Kingfisher and one of my favourite British birds:
Fieldfares, had great numbers of these this winter:
Pair of Whinchat; I enjoyed watching these pop up all over the moor last year:
I do hope one of these turns up again this year, Grasshopper Warbler:
...and while we're on the wishlist - yes please to one of these!