I thought I'd start a new blog for 2010 about my birding at Brent, based loosly on my efforts in the Patchlist Competition. 2009 has been a great year for me - and Brent (more of that later). As there's only a few hours of daylight left it's fair to say I'm going to finish on 135 species which gives me the runner-up spot in the competition. As the fat yellow man says "Woo-hoo!"
That's not only my highest yearlist at Brent but also the all time highest list by any single observer, not bad considering the reservoir has been around over 170 years! In some ways it's been a strange achievement - great because I got to see all (well almost - I dipped two Whinchats!) the common and scarcer birds during the year but also failed to see a single rarity! In fact the rarest birds at Brent all year were a Montagu's Harrier (I missed that by a minute) and a Spoonbill (I missed that by a couple of hours).
I managed to find a few decent birds along the way, notably a Merlin (a fairly scarce bird at Brent and only my 2nd ever), a flyover Marsh Harrier, a Grasshopper Warbler and an Avocet but nothing to grab the headlines so that's my challenge for 2010! In fact my rarest find of the year wasn't even a bird - it was a Red-veined Darter, closely followed by Ringlet, both firsts for Brent, the latter actually being a new colony, proving that Brent has other interests besides the birds.
I mentioned it was a great year for Brent - we entered the site list competition this year and although we can't really compete with the likes of Rainham Marshes we still finished with 147 species. Annoyingly this was one species short of our all time record and you won't believe how hard we searched to find a bloody Treecreeper in December! But we couldn't find one, and we also missed Turtle Dove, Cuckoo, Short-eared Owl, Ring Ouzel and Pied Flycatcher amongst others. The first two listed there used to be annual but their huge declines in the UK mean that they're now very difficult migrants to come across in the course of a year. Missing Short-eared Owl was a bit of a blow as well as we usually get one and for the first time we had seen the other four common owls and wanted this for the set but it was not to be.
So, I'm looking forward to tomorrow and seeing how many species I can get on New Year's Day. And if I get a Treecreeper I'll be as a sick as a Parrot!