For me November is the month typically of days that start dark get greyer and just descend into night. At the start of the month, the trees until the wind took the leaves finally, off the twigs, continued to look fabulous. Light winds didn’t help push migrants in but, the strong West winds mid-month may have slowed their advance. Thrushes and finches overhead most days early on, gave way to trying to track down Brambling in NZ26’s woods and Waxwing on berries.
A real surprise during the month was coming across a woodcock in the small clump of birch trees on the summit of White Hills, Windy Nook. At a 160 metres above sea level I predicted this as a good place for viz-migging. However, if I had to say where I would get my second NZ26 Woodcock it would not have been here. The November score looks like this: November Birdtrack Records -430. Total 6214. Passing 6000 submissions with a female House Sparrow in the garden felt like a landmark as it was more than my total submissions last year by some way. Number of Species in November 67 out of 122 total.
The predicted Goldeneye was a nice find when I went to add Pochard to the tetrad f list. This has been far and away the best tetrad from a number of species point of view reflecting the diversity of habitats and high coverage -87. Goldeneye was not just new for me in year but was also new for NZ26. The first bird I have added to the overall total since Spotted Flycatcher in July which seems a long time ago; others have been running with that baton. Brief calling Crossbill were also added to my total this month.
Then like buses more ticks come along. I was late getting to tetrad p but it came up with Whooper Swan x2 feeding in a field of rape with Greylags and Mute Swans and then at the pond a female Pintail was the only duck amongst the gulls.
This took the NZ26 list on by another one to 134.
Birds seen by others in NZ26.. Little Egret; Osprey x2; Marsh Harrier x2; Green Sandpiper; Wood Sandpiper Bar-tailed Godwit; Sandwich Tern x2; Long-eared Owl; Short-eared Owl; Barn Owl; Cuckoo; Yellow-browed Warbler; Brambling.
Total in NZ26 134
So with only one month left there are three species which were on my original guess list and are realistic possibilities for additions too: Green-winged Teal; Waxwing; Mealy Redpoll. No one has seen everything but I am behind @joe_dobinson (126) and @lophophanes (125).
However, I am running out of NZ26 birding days. 31 days and counting. So much so, that I am now quite conscious of the fact that these are my last visits of the year. And for some places it may well be my last ever visit. I’ll never go back; as I had never been there before 2015.
The next 12 blogs will be end of year reports for each tetrad.