As we come to the end of the first week of Foot It, I have reached the not so dizzying heights of 40 species. I set a target of 67 species at the end of December and I have managed to record 38 of these and two which were not on the radar - LBB and GBB Gull, both of which I have seen on patch for the first time during Foot It. It just goes to show!
January 1 presented me with a day off during the week, something of a rarity itself these days. After the initial scan of the garden in the morning and the sky and trees visible with the scope from the house, I spent a couple of hours to the west of the patch taking in some arable and unimproved pasture, a sewage works and some of the A19 and its verges.
Before leaving the house I hit it lucky with 4 species of gull circling a freshly turned over field, the crow "commute" and a party of winter thrushes including Blackbird, Fieldfare and Redwing (scarce generally here) and a single Brambling in amongst them. There were some noteworthy finds in a sheep field with 7 Pied Wagtails and 12+ Yellowhammers enjoying the stubble and manure heap.
A few of the more common visitors to the feeders this winter have been Coal Tits (often up to 6 in the garden at once), Tree Sparrows (resident) and Greenfinches (back to normal it seems after trichomoniasis).
A patrolling Kestrel is likely to be one of a pair resident in a nearby stand of trees. A small flock of Lapwings was an uncommon sight too.
Mud was very much the theme of the day and a lot of disturbance due to shooting with gunfire seemingly coming from three directions.
Saturday allowed a stroll for a few hours taking in Thirkleby and Balk, adding Goldcrest at Thirkleby House and a Buzzard on the ground near Balk. A few flyover Canada Geese being welcome as there are no public sites I am aware of with geese in my nominal patch. Monk Park Farm (as seen on Blue Peter does have some Greylags from what I remember).
Sunday added a brief Dipper at Sowerby, just on the edge of the 3 mile radius, but the sewage works next to the tip yielded nil.
38/67 57% plus 2 not on list 40/69 58%
male Sparrowhawk and male Blackcap
5 hours ago