Now that the second year of PWC is up and running I thought I would have the first look into 2013 vs 2014 at Hemsby. Three weekends into 2014 and in my mind this year has been pretty dire on patch; the mild and wet weather has left the patch a bit stagnant, no finch or thrush flocks moving through, wildfowl numbers out at sea very low etc.
Looking at the raw numbers though suggests that 2014 has not been that bad, 60 species up to the 19th compared with 62 in 2013 and the point’s totals look even better with 76 in 2014 vs 70 in 2013. So, 2014 isn’t doing too badly despite my misgivings but why do I feel that I have struggled this month. Delving beyond the raw numbers and you get a far more accurate picture. Despite there only being 2 species between the years I have missed a massive 18 species that I saw in 2013 by the 19th January! I’m missing some ‘easy’ birds but a cold snap should hopefully see me pick up Siskin, Bullfinch, Goldcrest, Redpoll, Fieldfare and Redwing along the lanes and wildfowl and waders should start moving giving me a chance of catching up with Oystercatcher, Mallard, Curlew, Lapwing etc.
This may also be a reason for my higher points total, I’ve missed a lot of 1 pointers and in their place I’ve picked up a couple patch ticks in the shape of Black-throated Diver and Red-necked Grebe as well as Great Skua, Great Northern Diver, Little Gull (257 in one afternoon), Puffin and Med Gull (all 2 pointers) all of which I didn’t see until later in the year in 2013. So walking around the patch has been difficult and slow compared with 2013 but (sofa) seawatching has been the saviour.
So far then, quality over quantity, let’s hope that continues......