The Scrubs in the rainThis is the sight that met me at 7am this morning at The Scrubs. Driving rain. Ordinarily, I would have turned around and gone back home to bed but with the weather we have had nationally and the birds that it has produced it prompted me to brave the elements. Besides, we have three species to get to reach our never before reached target of 100.
Last time we this close was in 2010 when we ended the year on 98 species having started December on 93. We had a lot of birders on the ground then however, we now have fewer regulars - although, we have picked up Birdguides' very own Stephen Rutt who lives next to The Scrubs. This year we are not going to fall into the trap of previous years where we took our foot of the gas and had to sweat profusely during December to add to our list. Hence my visit in the pouring rain.
Walking through the grassland areas in the half light I initially flushed a Skylark that flew almost at ground level towards the prison. Next up were a few Meadow Pipits, each proclaiming their existence with their trisyllabic squeaky call and bouncy flight. Sometimes they don't call but the flight is usually the thing that clinches it for me. Then I flushed a pipit from the ground which immediately got my radar twitching. It called four times as it flew off each a single 'peep' call - Tree Pipit. I flushed it a further three times just to make sure as it was raining and I hadn't heard a Tree Pipit call since last year.
We're on 98. Two more to go.