What having a year list does do is give the patch birder some motivation to get our onto the patch in those dark January days. It gives a bit of focus to patch-birding, something to aim for when you know you that you are likely to see one or two new species in a year - if you are lucky!
My 2017 year list got off to a slow start. A trip to Islay for Hogmanay meant it was Saturday 7th before I hit the patch. Islay was great trip, it is a great place with lots of interest for the visiting birder and of course it is famous for its whisky...
So Saturday morning it was and I didn't have much time so I concentrated on the bushes, pools and up onto the haul road - I usually like a walk to out the farm in early January but there wasn't time.
In the plantation I was surprised to see a small flock of goldcrests - I am seeing them more in the winter now, once-upon-a-time they were strictly an autumn species at Druridge. There were also blackbirds, song thrush and mistle thrush in the plantation.
|Plenty of wigeon on the Budge fields|
A siskin was with goldfinches on the path to the Oddie hide and then,ahead of me on the path, I could hardly believe my eyes, three bullfinches! This species is now a patch mega, these were the first partch bullies I Have seen since November 2014.
|Goldfinches bathing in the puddles|
|One of the chaffinches|
Offshore, the sea was flat calm. There were a couple of shag, ten red-breasted mergansers, a few common scoters and red-throated divers and most excitingly a slavonian grebe - a good January species.
My 2017 year-list now stands at 60 species - not a bad start. Exactly half of the winning tally in the county winter birdrace.
I am doing the Patchwork Challenge again this year and will update my totals as and when.