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Thursday 22 March 2018

Happy Valley

As spring migrant time is more or less upon us the competition and the competitive streaks amongst the 6 of us has turned all of us into Valley bashers.

In my case and probably a few of the others, gone are the regular visits to Rainham and such like, the Valley is being thoroughly flogged and has  produced the best starts for all of us regulars.

As it stands this is the table to date –

Shaun – 91

Paul – 91

Me – 86

Dave Mc – 82

Lee – 81

Mart – 76

Good totals considering no spring migrants in yet and the goodies yet to come, for all of us, notwithstanding the 2 newbie’s Mart and Paul, 2018 has produced the goods in terms of scarce birds and annual starts.

The best year I have ever had was 122 species, this was many years ago when I had more stamina and energy, younger and longer legs and would cover the whole Valley thoroughly in a morning. The way we are going it is likely that this total will be surpassed, with more coverage it is on the cards.

I can remember in the past seeing good birds like Marsh Warbler, Honey Buzzard and Black Necked Grebe, with more of us now and better coverage there is no reason why scarce birds can’t be picked up again.

This year to date we have had Bewick’s Swan, Goldeneye, Dunlin, Hawfinch, Firecrest, Jack Snipe,Red Kite and Grey Partridge, all are hard birds to get in the Valley, the Bewick’s Swans and the Hawfinch are mega’s. To put it into context, the only Bewick’s Swan record for the site is December 3rd 2010 seen by Les and the Hawfinch again is a single record seen by Shaun and Mart on November 27th 2005.

I suspect that some of these birds are indeed annual; there’s just never been the coverage or the enthusiasm until this year to find them.

For my part I am still missing Kingfisher, Golden Plover and Siskin, the Bittern seen last year by Les has not materialised, neither have the Bearded Tits.

By my own admission I am relatively competitive, so are the others although some don’t like to admit it, it’s a light hearted competition (like hell) but were all having a bit of fun doing it.

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