Carrick Mountain 2013 - a year of looking up!
Well that was a bit of fun eh! I ended the year on my Carrick Mountain patch on 64 /69 points and just over 125%. The rule change for 2014 that makes 2013 the baseline year in future reflects my own experiences pretty well. Spend a bit more effort on the patch, go to a couple of new corners and spend a lot of time looking skyward and the extra effort will be rewarded. I seriously doubt 2014 will see the same kind of comparative score.
Starting the year I thought I might make 60 species so 64 was a very good result and I now feel that 2014 could go a species or two better with a bit of luck.
I started 2013 with the usual run of common garden, woodland and farmland species with the highlights being a Great Spotted Woodpecker on 19th January (which eventually turned into a garden regular and is still visiting almost daily in 2014) and the first of many Red Kite sightings on the 3rd January. Some other nice species to “get out of the way” which can be a bit thin on the ground or unpredictable on the patch were Yellowhammer, Fieldfare and Feral Pigeon all of which amount to fewer than 3 sightings each for the year.
By the end of March the total had reached 46 species and included patch gold in the form of Jack Snipe flushed from a heathery depression near the highest point on the last day of March.
Summer migrants came in through April and May though it took until the end of May to get Swift and it was July before I got Spotted Flycatcher. I never did find a site for Sedge Warbler…maybe in 2014?
My bedroom window stayed wide open through the night-time heat in July and early August and paid off with migrant waders calling as they passed overhead, both Curlew and Oystercatcher fell to that and I hope in 2014 something better might be on the cards.
After July only 8 more species were added; , Linnet and Kestrel were late comers to the party, Crossbills in the forest had been absent but a party of 9 in October ended an unexpected drought for a normally more regular species on the patch. Fly-over Little Egret and Cormorant came in November with the former being seen on at least 3 mornings within a week commuting up the valley at the same time each day. The year ended with good numbers of gulls flying inland over the patch through December and among the hundreds of Common Gulls and Black-headed Gulls, a few GBB Gulls filled a gap in the list. The bonus came on the very last day of the year when an exceptional movement of Common Gulls at first light was accompanied by a gleaming single adult Mediterranean Gull – a great way to end the year!
Writing this on the 5th January, the list for 2014 stands at around 30 so far, the woodpecker is already on and I’m looking at fly over gulls daily! Gaps in 2013 which I’d hope to fill in 2014 include Peregrine, Sedge Warbler, Stonechat and Snipe and I’d like to add some more fly-overs!
Best of luck to all for 2014!