Late in 2018 my online compadre, Steve Gale of North Downs... fame threw down a gauntlet to compare our patch year lists for 2019. With the first 4.5 weeks over how has it gone...
The month has been largely mild and dry with the last few days bucking the trend with temps down to -7 degrees. Dark mornings and evenings linked to a five day working week curtail the birding a bit ( a lot) but at the start of each year there is a lot to cram in so things turned out quite well. My personal patch highlights, of which every single grubbed out species is self found, as no other birder lifts a glass here are -
Gadwall 1 male, not annual here on our tiny pond.
Velvet Scoter, 1 female, these are annual but usualy in September - November .
Goosander 1redhead on the bog garden pond. Again not annual.
Red necked Grebe 1 a true patch mega with only one previous record in Aug 2010.
Ringed Plover 1 another scarce bird with only 4 other records, thanks to my 99% rocky shoreline.
Grey Plover 1 scarce but annual if I stick at it.
Purple Sandpiper 4 my commonest calidrid, just to rub it in.
Woodcock 1 in the village wood, annual but erratic.
Firecrest 1 male, only my second record here after 2 together in 2010. A real surprise. Bird of the year so far.
Raven 1 annual here but not at all easy on the Northumberland coast.
Tree Sparrow. A garden flock of 30+ daily.
Brambling. Only 1 flyover.
Crossbill 20+ a good number for January.
Biggest ommissions are Collared Dove,Meadow Pipit, Redwing, Fieldfare, Siskin and Redpoll. Things to find in February...
EDIT - I forgot to add my total! January ended on a respectable patch total of 89 species about 44% of my personal patch total of 201.
With the wind blowing from the far north this weekend, lets hope February can kick off with a Little Auk or White winged Gull maybe... ( more likely the Collared Dove...)