This is not an Austrailian innings total from the recent Ashes series, no it is the total number of species that appear on my patch yearlist to date.
I am quite happy with this as I've not been out as much as I would have liked over the past few days. The list includes a couple of birds I was aiming to get early and have (Red-throated Diver and Purple Sandpiper) but, as any keen lister will have experienced, I have missed a couple of crackers.
A couple of Shorelarks were seen at first light yesterday but I was on a train at the time. They were close to the place an Avocet turned up, but by the time I had the opportunity to go and look for it a couple of Carrion Crows had killed it. I didn't fell too sorry for myself though, the Avocet had clearly had a worse day than me.
I like the first few weeks of the new year because birds taken for granted the rest of the year take on renewed significance. I'm yet to see a Jackdaw in 2011 so I'll be well chuffed when I connect with one. I always try to keep this attitude throughout the year, remembering to appreciate the common stuff on the patch. After all some of our regulars are quite beautifully marked if you take the time to study them.
A fave of mine is the Goldfinch.
Also there is the prospect of a few surprises. 2010 threw up Red Kite, Waxwing and Lapland Bunting and I wonder what will turn up over the next 12 months.
Looking over the list there is a glaring gap that needs to be filled. Owls. Not had a sniff of the regular Little Owl on the First Field, Short-eared Owls are scarce on the marshes this winter, nor have I caught up with the Barn Owls that breed within yards of my office at work. I feel an Owl-ing trip coming up in the next few days! I have managed to see 4 species in an afternoon on the patch!
I also need to get to the south end of the patch too. I've only been as far as Parkgate. Neston and Burton have been neglected. I'm off tomorrow, I'll have to get out there, 77 aint enough for me!