Friday, 28 December 2012

A Bird's Eye Review of 2012

Ok, so there are still 3 days of the year left, but it would take an amazing sighting or magical moment to reach the top bird list of 2012. Despite not getting out as much as I would like our hobby lets us enjoy every moment no matter where we are.

Western Palearctic - Top 5 birds of 2012
1. Green Beeater (Dubai)
2. White Collared Kingfisher (Dubai)
3. Black-headed Bunting (Greece)
4. Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (Dubai)
5. Masked Shrike (Greece)

UK - Top Birds of 2012
1. Long-billed Dowitcher (RSPB Saltholme)
2. Bittern (WWT London Wetlands Centre) - not a new bird, but it was good to add this bird to my London list.

Best Birding Moments of 2012
1. Sitting in a car watching a pair of Green Beeater visiting a nest site in the most unlikely place.

2. Whilst hanging up the Christmas lights in our Rowan Tree a small flock of Long-tailed Tits arrived to watch. Standing on top of the ladders with my head in the canopy 12 inches away from a beautiful Long-tailed Tit making eye contact. Suddenly the world stopped and the day wasn't quite as cold as it was when we started.

Best Non-bird Sightings
1. Dingy Skipper (Bishop Middleham)
2. Scare Swallowtail (Greece)
3. Eastern Festoon (Greece)
4. 'Blonde' Wood Mouse (Stockton-on-Tees)

Garden Birdwatch 2012

As part of the BTO Garden Birdwatch we record the birds using our garden and off course the feeders. As 2012 comes to an end I always try to review our contribution to the local bird population.

House Sparrow has started to return in higher (albeit still small) numbers with a yearly peak of 12 and a reasonably regular 6 individuals staying as a group using the garden.

Goldfinch continues to visit the garden in good numbers and is surprisingly in 2nd place as regular visitor. Peak count was 21 and this species must have bred locally as birds we seen during the summer. Five years ago, Goldfinch was not a visitor to the garden.

Jackdaw numbers around the housing estate seem to be increasing rapidly. I was surprised a few years ago when doing the BTO Winter & Summer Atlases just how many there were. Despite being a medium size bird they regularly use our peanut and seed feeders.

Collared Dove is another bird which seems to be doing well. Peak count is 7, but we have been close to increasing this to 8.

Feral Pigeon is another bird which is starting to visit the garden and it perhaps not such as welcomed visitor. More birds are seen sitting on roof tops now, so are they getting chased from the town centres or has their been an increase in people keeping birds in garden lofts?

Blue Tit is an 1st place as a regular visitor to our garden. Typically a pair of Blue Tits are recorded every week and on occasion young fledged birds visit late summer. It was noticeable that no fledging Blue Tits were seen this year and they started to build a nest in our box, but moved on after a short time. Maybe next year!

Redwing was a new record for the year with 3 birds sitting on our tree for a few minutes this week.

Moth Records 2012

Today was the day for sitting down and compiling all my non-bird records for 2012. First to be completed and sent to the county recorder was the moths. I was disappointed with 2011 and despite the wet weather I always thought I that in 2012 we would see an improvement. There were a few nights with no moths trapped, but you get some of these every year at the start and end of the season. As the weeks progressed the numbers were steady but not amazing. Sadly there was only one night where over one hundred individuals were trapped and that was the 18th August well over the midway point in the season.

Well I have just reviewed the totals from 2010 to 2012 and it is worrying.

2010 = 2244 individuals recorded.
2011 = 877 individuals recorded.
2012 = 639 individuals recorded.

Hopefully, in 2013 we will see a halt to the decline