Monday, 27 January 2014

Patch. Birds. Stats. End of.

As the clock ticked steadily into 2014, Twitter was alive with new years resolutions, year and patch lists being reset to zero, new goals being set and a fresh enthusiasm to get outdoors and start looking (and/or listing) again.
 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:

In January;
- I made (only) 4 visits
- totalling 8hrs 15mins
- saw 738 birds
- of 38 different species, those being:

Black-headed Gull
Blue Tit
Carrion Crow
Common Buzzard
Common Snipe
Great Tit
Green Woodpecker
Grey Heron
Grey Wagtail
Little Egret
Little Grebe
Meadow Pipit
Mistle Thrush
Mute Swan
Pied Wagtail
Ring-necked Parakeet
Song Thrush
Water Pipit
Wood Pigeon

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!
(I photographed this individual at Cranford Park CP last year, not a million miles from the Moor. Anything's possible!)