Mr Gale of Surrey threw down a gauntlet. He suggested a friendly competition between us doing a birding patch list for the year. To make it fair, we have each set a base line - Steve has 110 species while I have 146. A percentage will be taken of any species over this total to decide the winner.
Our two local patches could scarcely be more different, his being an inland site in the south east while I am on the north east coast over 300 miles away.
I have already thought of a basic strategy to follow. Dont say owt, but here goes. If this info fell into the wrong hands it could be curtains for me.
In the new year it is a birders instinct to get out there and hammer his patch mopping up as many species as possible. I've done this myself many times and can get over 90 in the first month of the year, but I am taking a 'tortoise and hare' approach this time. During each month I am going to actively seek out the scarcer targets in my area, and hopefully the common stuff will fall into place naturally.
My first quarter goals are mainly all at sea- white winged gulls, divers, grebes, Long tailed Duck and Little Auk with Grey Plover, a biggie, out on those rocks. This is a common coastal wader here, but not on my patch. 2 miles south and I can get a flock of 40 no bother, but our rocky coast seems to repel them...and there is a tree in our village still laden with apples in case a scandinavian fop drops by.
Remember keep schtum.