13 September 2009

"10-Mile" update...

Six weeks ago I was on a birding high after adding Bittern to my “10-Mile List” at Willington, I was also a little unsure as to whether or not I could reach last years total of 136 species within my recording zone. Well, all that is history. My total species count now stands at 137!

The five new species are...

Osprey. Whilst on a cycle ride on August 23 I was lucky enough to have an Osprey fly slowly over me as I headed into Mickleover. I managed to get very good views of the bird as it passed overhead and it was the highlight of a great, 52-mile, ride. I think I deserved that one, even if only for being crazy enough to be out riding for 52 miles on a Sunday morning!

Dunlin. I had to double-check all my records for the year before I added this one to the list - I couldn’t believe it had taken me until August 30 to see a Dunlin locally! Three Dunlin were seen at Willington Gravel Pits on a rather quiet Sunday morning when the only other notable sightings were of a single Hobby, 2 Green Sandpiper, and a Kingfisher. Things were so quiet that I even resorted to counting the Canada Geese! I recorded a total of 492, slightly less than the 500 Black-headed Gull. Well, I did say it was a quiet morning!

Shag. I had planned on a bike ride on the evening of September 6 but a quick check of the sightings on Birdguides had me heading off to Willington instead - a juvenile Shag had been located. Not only was this a new species for the “10-Mile List” it was also the first I’d ever seen inland. Other than the Shag it was yet another very quiet visit. A Buzzard showed well at the rear of Gull Pit and 23 Snipe were seen in flight. Summer lingered on in the form of Common Tern, Swallow, House Martin, Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler.

Greenshank. A very brief visit to Aston-on-Trent Gravel Pits this morning resulted in species number 136 for the year. I had hoped for something a little bit special to match last year’s total, but I’ll take the Greenshank all the same! To be fair, it was a rather smart looking Greenshank and it did show very well - but it was still a Greenshank. Green Sandpiper, Dunlin and Chiffchaff were the other notable sightings.

Little Egret. This has always been a bit of a bogey bird for me in Derbyshire; I only saw my first in the county last summer. Today, at Barrow-on-Trent, I found 5 of the things and, in the process, moved my “10-Mile List” on to 137 species for the year. I’ve been trying to locate one of these little white herons all summer without any success so I was rather pleased that Little Egret was the species to take my total ahead of last year’s. Also at Barrow were 105 Cormorant, 17 Grey Heron, 100 Tufted Duck, 7 Buzzard, 2 Chiffchaff and 2 Jay.

Two very poor photos of a Little Egret. These were taken with my mobile phone through my ‘scope - the reason why will become clear in my next blog post!

With just over 3 months still left of 2009, can I move the list on to 140 species? I really haven’t a clue!

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