Saturday, 2 January 2016

Review of 2015

So 2015 ended for me with a species total of 135.  I failed to add anything new in December, but with only one visit over the Christmas period, my chances dwindled.  This total is remarkably consistent with my two previous years of 136, although the species list is more varied.  I am only aware of three missed species this year, so not a bad percentage (Cuckoo, Black Tern and Osprey).

I added six new species which takes my patch list up to 175: Great White Egret in March, Pied Flycatcher in April, Cetti's Warbler in August, Grasshopper Warbler in September and Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl in October.  However, on the downside, there were no singing Cuckoos on site this year, just a single silent female seen once in June.  This must have laid an egg, as a juvenile was seen being fed by Reed Warblers in the summer (whilst I was on holiday).  I failed to find Little Owl all year - a bird that had bred in previous years, though the nest tree blew over in storms in 2014.  Having claimed that 2014 was poor for waders, 2015 was even worse.  Ten species on my patch list did not appear, including Curlew and there were only single records of Ringed Plover and Whimbrel.  Tern passage was also down on previous years - just a single Black Tern in the autumn, which was amazingly the only county record this year.  Sandwich Tern failed to appear again and Arctic Tern passage was light.

So a mixed year, below are some highlights:

Another tristis type Chiffchaff was found in January, staying until April, during which time it was heard singing.

The first Caspian Gull of the year appeared in February:

The site's first Great White Egret was discovered in March - a colour ringed bird ringed in France,
Photo here

On the morning of April 26th, I found a Little Tern and a Kittiwake within a few minutes of each other and a Redstart soon afterwards:

Two days later, a female Pied Flycatcher landed just above my head - only the second for the site - no pictures unfortunately.

April also saw a light passage of Arctic Terns.

Some nice birds in May - the first Little Gull for a few years was a stonking adult; the second Kittiwake of the year (another adult in poor weather!); the only Whimbrel of the year and an unseasonal Caspian Gull:

 June 15th found a pair of Garganey and a flock of Black-tailed Godwits (going or coming back?)

 July brought a juvenile Med Gull - only my second of the year and to remain so by year end!

 July also saw the best wader of the year - a nice adult Turnstone.


After returning from a summer holiday in August, I found a Cetti's Warbler - a scarce bird here and the first for a few years.  It remained for a week or two before departing, though the photo records aren't worth posting.  The month also brought a flock of three Spoonbills - a welcome sight after missing a bird in May by twenty minutes.  They appeared to be an adult (colour ringed) and two immature birds - the adult remaining for three days.

 In September, I found a skulking warbler on the edge of a grassy field.  A bit of perseverance gave me a welcome patch tick Grasshopper Warbler - a very scarce bird in the area - apparently the first for some decades!

The fields around Emmett's farm were productive in October - firstly, a superb adult male Hen Harrier and then another migrant raptor in the form of a Short-eared Owl.

The first Pintail of the year also dropped in during October:

Another storm in November brought the third Kittiwake of the year - possibly moribund.

Other highlights were a 1st winter Caspian Gull and three Red-crested Pochards.

Finally December brought a nice male Pintail and two more Caspian Gulls - a 2nd winter early on and an unphotographed 1st winter in the new year's eve roost.

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