Rock Pipit (Andy Cook)
Me and my fellow Scrubbers are desperately trying to reach the previously unreached target of 100 species for the year on The Scrubs. Regular followers of this blog will realise that the decision to go for a year list was only made last month when we suddenly noticed that we had clocked up 90 species.
The last few snowy days has seen a slowdown in the potential for a new bird for the year list. Prior to the snow there was a lot of movement that resulted in a couple additions to the list plus the welcome sight of a few species that had only been seen once during 2010. When the snows came the skies became quiet apart from a few unidentified finches, multitudes of gulls and a few winter thrushes. The breakthrough came today when we had a heavier than usual passage of gulls yielding a scarce Great Black-back. We had record numbers of Skylarks with over 140 seen including a group of 70 plus that dropped onto the snowy football pitches to feed. They adopted a curious cocked-tail posture, almost as though they didn't want to get their undersides wet. Our viewing pleasure was ruined after a few brief minutes by a Carrion Crow who seemed to take exception to their presence. He swooped in after flying the length of three pitches, putting the flock up who then all meandered south.
Species number 96 came in the shape of a Rock Pipit that was first detected when it called as it headed southwest over Chats Paddock. We need just two more species to equal our best ever total of 98 in 2008. A fingertip search for new year list birds will be conducted during the course of next week.