Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Branching out

It's fair to say I've hammered Pulborough Brooks this year, and am now comfortably past my target of 150 species for the year - with Barnacle Goose at the weekend becoming number 153, with still two and a half months to go.

Mind you, reaching this often aimed-for target has taken the pressure off somewhat, and I must say I'm finding myself enjoying my birding more as a result. Indeed, I'm already beginning to plan ahead to next year, when I'm going to be looking to expand my local birding horizons somewhat, partly due to Pulborough overload this year, but also due to the inevitable limitations that will come with bringing up a baby!

I've already started scouting out some other interesting local sights, including some possible skywatch/vismig spots; something I've been keen to do more of locally since moving down here in 2017.

I'm also very excited to say I'll be starting to lead safaris at Knepp from next spring, so I'll obviously be spending a fair amount of time there too. Speaking of which, my Knepp list got a pretty amazing and highly unexpected addition on the 10th of this month when two juvenile Gannets cruised low over our heads in the Southern Block.

Gannets over Knepp (honest!)

Perhaps because I've been feeling more positive about my birding in general just lately, I've actually been lucky to have a few good flyover bits recently too, with my work in Clandon producing first a Hen Harrier heading northwest on the 7th, followed by a Glossy Ibis flying east/northeast on the 11th; the latter a Surrey tick for me and only the 8th record for the County! I'm not much of a county lister really, but I made this my 201st bird in Surrey so, yesterday evening, just for a change, I decided to swing past Reigate on my way home from work to catch up with 202; the returning female Ring-necked Duck on Priory Pond.  

Ring-necked Duck in Reigate

I'll always be a local patcher at heart and certainly don't plan to abandon Pulborough Brooks altogether, but if the past couple of weeks are anything to go by it shows it's good to mix things up now and then. Here's to new adventures in 2022!

A proper record shot! Glossy Ibis over Clandon, 11th October; 8th record for Surrey