Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Another one...

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;

Iceland Gull
Glaucous Gull
Caspian Gull
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

Gannet
Manx Shearwater
Any Skua
Storm Petrel
Eider

And the following are certainly possible and/or have been recorded in the county in the past few years

Red-necked Grebe
Ferruginous Duck
Lesser Scaup
Honey Buzzard
Stone Curlew
Dotterel
Rough-legged Buzzard
Hen Harrier
Monty's Harrier
Cattle Egret
Great White Egret
Glossy Ibis
Water Pipit
White-winged Black Tern
Red-backed Shrike
Hooded Crow
Red-footed Falcon
Savis Warbler
Snow Bunting
Lapland Bunting
Wryneck

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
Dowitchers
Bluethroat
Small Gulls - Ross's, Bonapartes, Sabine etc
Two-Barred/ Parrot Crossbill - especially with the influx of rare crossbill this winter
Squacco Heron
White Stork
Purple Heron
Black Kite
Rosefinch

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!

5 comments:

  1. Out of interest, I had a look at my county list to see what I was on when I was your age, and it was 3 less than you're on now. And it took me nearly 3 years to get from 212 to 230. But as the availability of bird news is so much better now than it was then (no mobile phones or computers in 1992!), I'm sure you could get close to 230 in a lot less than that these days.

    I'd start by going to Albert Village Lake/Tip and having a look for the adult Glaucous Gull, which is probably still there, but doesn't always get seen or reported. Then get someone competent (Matthew, Steve Lister or John Wright for example) to show you a Caspian Gull at RW. Go and look for singing Corn Buntings around Orton on the Hill in the spring, and after that it's a matter of trying to see everything that turns up, and ideally finding yourself some county ticks rather than just twitching them all. Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. Cheers Mr llama for the good advice, actually going out and finding my own ticks will certainly be a good start. Although, be a good chap and find me a couple too ;)
      I think I may struggle with 18 ticks, 8 might be a bit more realistic but I like you say the art of list building is certainly easier with technology popping out of every orifice.

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  2. Hi Andy

    An interesting (if rare!) post from you!

    Best wishes for 2014 and that list target of yours!

    Sent you an e-mail about the GGS and LO

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