Saturday, 27 December 2014

2014 patch list, limping until the end...

One last visit to the patch this year resulted in adding a much overdue Common Buzzard to the beleaguered list, with Wigeon also recently added this helped to bring my 2014 total up to its usual mediocre number which happens to be 94 this year.

In a year when free time became even more of a premium I added just three patch ticks in the form of Coal Tit, Lapland Bunting and Jack Snipe - It was somewhat disappointing not to personally add anything of new or of note to the general Wanstead totals but I shouldn't grumble as I just haven't had the time to give the patch my full attention. The undoubted highlight of the year though had to be the Spring Blyth's Reed Warbler singing in the brooms, this was a much overdue BB rarity for Wanstead and a great find for the ever present and persistent Mr Croft - I was frustratingly away at the time holidaying on the Isle of Skye with the family when I learnt of its appearance and had to live through the experience in a series of excited text messages, which only to added to my personal disappointment and agony!

Other minor personal highlights were seeing my first Spring migrants on the 15th March as a pair of Sand Martins flew over Alexandra Lake, and witnessing a good 'fall' of autumn migrants on the 31st August which included several Spotted Flycatchers, Northern Wheatears, Whinchats and Common Redstarts. The Lapland Bunting on the 16th October was a true gem, a quality patch tick made even better by the sight of three blokes (Jono, Dan & myself) dressed in smart work attire trampling through long grass in flat, polished shoes searching for it. Thankfully once found the bird was more than obliging and was seen down to just a few metres at times, which was a bonus as I had arrived straight from work without any optics.

Isle of Scillies, Penninis Head
A confiding Lapland Bunting on St Marys, Scillies - September 2013
This is what the Wanstead bird would have looked like if I had turned up with my camera.
What will 2015 bring? Most likely more grippage by my fellow patch workers but I'm used to that so nothing new there then. A Short-eared Owl or a Woodcock would be nice as both are overdue patch ticks, a large wader wouldn't go a miss either - Godwit, Whimbrel or Curlew - I'm not fussy anyone of those three I'd be happy with, and after a year off the return of an autumn Wryneck would be most welcome again, so would the return of a Lesser spotted Woodpecker although I fear these are fast becoming even more rarer than Wrynecks!

Whatever 2015 brings if i'm out there amongst it, then I'll be mostly happy...

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