Red-throated diver – good winter numbers slowly build up from September onwards. Every time I seawatch, whether from the dunes or sofa, I try and keep a count already. Largest count to date is 175 in ½ hour one morning and on another day I had 89 pass in one minute so I think if I make a concentrated effort on these it should be quite interesting.
Common gull – my second one that will match Marks list. I get quite a few on patch and they linger over winter but I have never really counted them. Black-headed gull – My third and last one that matches Marks list. Like common gull I see them throughout the year but I never/or rarely count them. When entering my data for Birdtrack I normally just mark them as present but will have numbers for every other species during the seawatch. This will change that hopefully.
Gannet – Although I try and keep count on most seawatches I never keep track of ages, perhaps because I have to do that at work. I enjoy doing it work and shall endeavour to do it more on patch.
Cormorant – it may seem a strange selection but in my usual ½ hour seawatches before work lately I have been seeing staggering numbers, 722 the highest so far. My last day on patch this year also had a great spectacle of 500+ feeding along a tideline in one flock. Another reason is due to a local warden who told me he thought cormorant numbers were dwindling in the area. Crikey, I can’t imagine the amount I would have to count in the past!!
‘Comic’ terns – A bit of a cop out as they aren’t here for long but the main reason is due to an August afternoon this year. During a 2 hour sofa seawatch I counted over 1500 flying south!!! They were too distant to ID and I really should made more of an effort and went to the dunes to watch them. Next year!
Blackbird – I’m doing the BTO winter thrush survey so thought I should add a thrush to the list. Blackbird is the only thrush I see in any large number other than a brief period over autumn. There have been good numbers this autumn/winter so it will be interesting to see how many remain through breeding season and return next winter.
Linnet – Along the ‘valley’ in the dunes of my patch it has been pretty good for vis-migging, never really big numbers but a good range of species, especially finches. Bizarrely I would record numbers of everything except linnets. I’m not sure why but I shall rectify this in 2013 and with a flock of 100+ in an inland field it should provide some good records.
Yellow Wagtail – there were good numbers in the autumn, sometimes reaching double figures but I never made a concerted effort to record them all. It will be really interesting to see how many make onto the patch this spring.
Swallow – During autumn I had some good passages of swallows but again I never really kept an accurate count. Speaking with the Winterton Collective they have told me that you can get good numbers on passage some years and the odd red-rumped may be mixed, an added incentive.