Monday, 18 October 2021

Autumn 2021- So far, so bad

Since mid- July I have done 34 birding sessions (according to Ebird which is most but not all), usually an average of 4 hours (including some all-dayers and some quickies). So that's approx. 136 hours in the field this autumn so far with concentrated effort in the last two weeks. So far I have found absolutely nothing in the way of description bird species. Got to be one of my worst autumns that I can recall. Seen a few good birds such as Purple Sandpiper, Purple Heron and an influx of Cattle Egret locally and also seen Long-toed Stint and White-tailed Lapwing and found a few little bits like Wood Sand, Great Egret and Whimbrel. What with screwing up my Corvo trip too (and missing Prothonotary and Cape May Warbler there More grippage here ), not being able to travel to Bulgaria and spending literally all day at Beddington yesterday to dip the Penduline Tit there (a first for the farm) , this has to be one of my worst autumns but not sure it tops the 2016 disaster ( HERE). Since I did this post HERE  the most recent autumns have also been pretty good , 2017 was really good for local finds, 2018 was absolutely epic on Corvo, 2019 was  mainly in Eastern Europe and 2020 was excellent British rarity hunting. Still got a few weeks left of the autumn so maybe still time to save the day but so far, so bad.

Luckily I do moths too, which I  started as a way of doubling the chances of finding rarities and also bad weather for birds is good for insects so increases field work efficiency (shift taxon focus depending on weather conditions) and if I add the mothing hours (and a bit of noc-mig) its got to be another 150 hours (2 hours more or less daily) so in total that's near 300 field work hours this autumn. It's been better on this front with a few county rarities and scarcities including Vagrant Piercers (mega for Oxon and less than 10 records for Bucks), a good run of Clifden Nonpariels, a few migrants such as Gem, Olive-tree Pearl and Dark Sword Grass (all good inlanders), jammed in on the UK's biggest night of Radford's Flame Shoulders at Portland (plus saw the other local specialities), a Dark Spruce Knot-horn , Flame Crest and Dotted Fan-foot (goodies for Bucks) and loads of moth lifers (cuz I'm such a moth dude still). 

It's not all sunshine and the inevitable bad autumns have to be endured but basically moths have saved the day.  Anyway its not over yet- still a few weeks to go and more determined than ever to make sure once these annoying covid restrictions are lifted, that lost time is made up for.     

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