Sunday, 11 March 2012

This weekend

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker today
The reason I've hardly posted in the last fortnight is largely because there's been very little going on in my birding life lately. It's now been a little while since a tempting British tick has presented itself on the pager, which is a poor show following the high standards set by this spectacular winter for rarities.

I've been exclusively patching this weekend. Yesterday provided my first Mallard in the best part of a year there and they are bound to become daily soon (they can be seen reliably over the patch from mid March to early June but are otherwise nigh on impossible). There was a bit of a Meadow Pipit movement, too, with at least thirty present and showing well. Today was good with my highest day total of the year so far: 51 species. I think my highest is about 55 on an April day (but I don't often count it up)... I'd like to do 60 in a day this spring. I enjoyed seeing a/the male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker which was very considerate in creating both Canons Farm and Banstead Woods records for March by feeding on both sides of the fence. My first singing Chiffchaff of the year was great to hear, too, at Banstead Woods.

Every year is different at a local patch. Last winter, we were getting flocks of 30-40 Rooks and there was just one Great Black-backed Gull record. This winter, however, Rooks have barely been fortnightly and not reached five birds on a day while there have been, say, fifteen or so GBB Gull sightings. I three of the former today and one of the latter heading north east with Herring Gulls - quite a late record and notable especially as Beddington and Holmethorpe are now getting very, very few of these beasts.