Yes, another year has passed; now is the time for reflection of past deeds and for the planning of new ones! First and foremost of my new deeds for this year is to try and post more on here, I can explain away large chunks of my blogging absence by the fact I was living in a caravan at Rutland Water for a few months but more recently Ive upgraded to a wee cottage and equipped it with some internet so no more excuses!
My main aim for 2014 will be my county list. I've always only really cared about county birds and eagled-eyed visitors to the LROS website will notice a new addition to the county listing page - me! I'd never even bothered compiling a county list before - I knew what I had and hadn't seen but had never been bothered enough to put an exact number on it. Now I have and that number is 212 which puts me at the giddy heights of 41st place in the table. I must admit I expected it to be higher - a few months ago I leafed through my Collins doing a quick rough list and ended up at around 230 species, god knows what I'd been smoking that day as the actual number was much lower.
The downside of compiling my list has unfortunately made me want more! I can't help but cast admiring glances up to Mackay, Berriman, Lister & co. all happily sat at around the 270-mark and as a result my main aim for this year is to increase my county list as much as possible.
So I'll set myself a challenge. This time next year I'd like to be on 230 species. That makes 18 county ticks required this year, quite a big ask!
The task is made slightly easier as there are several relatively easy-to-see species that I should be able to add without too much bother although this will unfortunately find me moving into the dark (or should it be dirty grey?) world of gulling.
The following species should be relatively easy;
Wood Warbler - will probably require a twitch but the species is still annual in Leics & Rutland
Corn Bunting - a few small colonies remain in the outskirts of the county
My list has a big, fat void around the area of seabirds and with some favourable weather and a little luck I could possibly add any of the following
And the following are certainly possible and/or have been recorded in the county in the past few years
Great White Egret
White-winged Black Tern
If I get all of the above I shall have achieved my goal but lets face it, I certainly won't!
That leaves stuff of a rarer calibre that might just turn up;
Broad-billed, Baird's, Terek, Marsh, Stilt Sandpipers
Small Gulls - Ross's, Bonapartes, Sabine etc
Two-Barred/ Parrot Crossbill - especially with the influx of rare crossbill this winter
so...plenty to be getting on with. Although even by some miracle I did manage to see all of the above birds, I'd still be around 10 short of the Leicestershire big-listers. No fair!
After all that waffling have a rubbish photo of a Brambling I took near Barnsdale yesterday
And a less rubbish photo of a Little Owl taken whilst not seeing a Great Grey Shrike near Hungarton the other week
In recent weeks/months I've also seen the Great Grey Shrike that Paul Riddle found at Harrington (thanks Paul!), the Black-throated and Great Northern Divers at Swithland and Rutland respectively and had a trip to Norfolk where a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen whilst inspecting storm damage at Brancaster. Update done!