Ok now here's a thing that probably only birdwatchers do ... count the number of bird species in a give area on a given day and turn it into a competition! In the York recording area (appx 15 square miles around the city) its held on Jan 6th and called the Michale Clegg Memorial bird race - in memory of a notable York ornithologist.
More or less true to form I'd forgotten it was on but I was out and about and just tallied my list at 64, with no real surprises - Snipe, Whooper Swan, Siskin, Willow Tit and Pintail being the highlights. Next year maybe, if I'm around.
A team of local birders led by Tim Jones won this year's competition with a total of 98 species, breaking the record for the area by some margin - here's his brief report posted on the York Ornithological Forum
Well done lads!!
Full days birding today in the area amassing a grand total of 98, the route and highlights being;
- a Grey Wagtail at Ouse Bridge in town
- Buttercrambe with highlights being Green Woodpecker, Crossbill, Woodcock, Jay, Nuthatch
- Castle Howard saw Scaup, Shoveler and Goldeneye
- Strensall to get Stonechat with the big bonus of the day being an adult female Hen Harrier that hunted over the northern area of the common in the process flushing several Snipe
- Rufforth Airfield getting 1w and 2w Lesser black-backed Gulls
- Askham Bog getting Willow Tit
- Driving over the A64 managed to see c10 Goosander on Middlethorpe Ings
- Heslington East came up trumps again with a bonus Green Sandpiper, Kingfisher and Jack Snipe
- Tillmire Area with a single Mealy Redpoll in with a large flock of Lessers, Little Owl, Grey Partidge
- Thorganby got Shelduck, Whooper and a sad lack of the previously reported Waxwings
- North Duffield area got Corn Bunting (to equal previous record of 90) then Golden Plover (to beat the record!) also Peregrine but missed Pink foot and Brambling
- Awesome Aughton saw a Marsh Harrier put up a large mixed wader flock which contained Ruff, Dunlin and Redshank to put us on 96!
- Round the corner to Ellerton with a single Bewick's
- Quick race to Melbourne and managed our final species of the day, Little Grebe
A real top quality day showing that maybe it is indeed possible to get 100 in a day.
To put this in perspective other teams in Yorkshire managed;
Barnsley-86 (both of which beat us last year)
Just goes to show just how good the York Area is!