First the bare statistics :
Total Species = 149
Total Points = 189
Species Self-found = 143
All the above are personal records and right from the start of January it was clear that entering the Patchwork Challenge was going to provide that extra bit of motivation to get out on the patch more often, for longer, and look harder. I was going to add up the amount of visits and hours spent on-patch for the year but realised that ...A: Thats a bit sad....and B: it was far to many and the missus might see this!
So heres a quick review of the year from me and the mighty PUGNEYS!!
The leftovers from 2012 provided a great start to the year with Long-tailed Duck, Scaup, Smew and 'Mealy' Redpoll all available on the 1st. A Glaucous Gull on the 2nd was a much sort after patch-tick and Caspian and Y L Gulls were easily seen in the gull roost. Regulars such as Bittern, Jack Snipe and Whooper Swan made it a month to remember.
A quieter month but I managed to dig out several tricky patch birds with Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker and Brambling being the highlights along with another record of Glaucous Gull and the first tentative hint of spring in the shape of Ringed Plover, Curlew and Oystercatcher.
The month was slow to get going but a Stonechat on the 17th was the 1st rec for 2 years. The 18th was a classic inland E'ly and 'clag' day, so typically I was at work!. I did manage a late visit and scored with Kittiwake and Black-tailed Godwit but I had already missed 2 Avocet (patch-tick) and 24 C Scoter! Waxwing was added and the 1st Chiffchaff later in the month rounded things off.
A week on Islay at the start of the month meant I was away for the 1st patch record of Common Crane – a bitter pill indeed! The 11th finally saw Sand Martin arrive – incredibly 5 weeks later than last year although a Grey Plover was welcome. The next 2 weeks saw migrants arriving in force and goodies included Black-necked Grebe, Greenshank, Whinchat and Grasshopper Warbler (a glaring omission in 2012!). Classic conditions on 25th saw me ditching work and patch ticking Little Tern, a great sight over the main lake along with Black and Arctic Tern, 2 Kittiwakes and hundreds of Hirundines! It was tricky having to leave and twitch the Spurn Rock Thrush....Next day saw Whimbrel and the 27th had a site record count of c50 Black-tailed Godwits heading NW.
Perhaps the highlight of my patch year occurred on the 30th when I found a drake LESSER SCAUP in the evening - 1st site record and 1st BB rarity for a few years.
Main highlight was another patch tick in the form of a stunning 'ringtail' Hen Harrier that drifted SE on the 8th. A rather quiet month otherwise with the only other notable (sadly...) addition being Cuckoo.
The month started well with a Spotted Fly on the 1st, 4 Little Gulls on the 8th and Common Scoter on the 9th. Other additions included Hobby and Crossbill but a thrown away distant Goshawk on the 30th saw the month out in a bad mood!
As usual a generally quiet month with a Little Egret the only new bird for the year. A Bittern was unusual and the normal dearth of passage waders continued whilst other local sites heaved with scarce mud-lovers.....
A Barn Owl early in the month was an overdue addition but the bird of the month was a confiding Purple Sandpiper on the wetlands on the 25th, only the 2nd patch record and the last was in 1980! The same day also produced Tree Pipit and Greenshank, a real red letter day!!
Always a potentially good month this year was no disappointment. Marsh Harrier, Med Gull, Pintail, Red-crested Pochard and Ruddy Duck were all added during the month and there were good days of viz-migging and movements of Pink-footed Geese.
A Rock Pipit on the 4th was the highlight for me as I spent most of the month on a rather poor trip to the Scilly Isles. To compound the gloom I missed a massive local movement of Gannets with birds recorded everywhere including Pugneys!!
9 Crossbill on the 2nd was a record count but the undoubted highlight was a Siberian Chiffchaff first seen on the 11th and intermittently until the 24th at least – another 1st for the site. Mandarin finally made the year list and was joined by Ring-necked Parakeet.
A poor month weather-wise and birding was limited in the short days leading to christmas. Duck numbers were modest and the only excitement was a Red-breasted Merganser on Boxing day and the returning Smew making sporadic appearances.
So there we go! A great year I think any inland patcher will agree..?.....and yet.....
without sounding greedy I missed Green Sand, Red Kite, Turnstone, Sanderling and Ruff – all species I would expect to see. So 150 is on and I will be trying again this year!