January review

Dunnock (Hedge accentor) feeding on scattered seed
Dunnock (Hedge accentor) feeding on scattered seed
So we have hit February already, time has flown by so far this year, and while January may have been the wettest on record for me and my patch it has been quite a nice month with plenty of birds and a few really good photos, granted I haven't been out quite as much as I would have liked towards the end of the month (I suffer from a really bad back which at times means lugging gear around sees me unable to stand at the end of the day) but what I have achieved and recorded has been good. It hasn't been plain sailing on a personal note and there are many more changes ahead but the future waits for us all.

The Birds 


The month saw me reach a total of sixt (60) species of birds recorded on my urban patch (remember my full patch list at the start of the year was only 78) and highlights have included two (2) new patch ticks for me in the form of a fly over (presumed female) Brambling (the first known siting on the patch) and a Male Gadwall (only the 2nd recorded) two cracking birds.

If they were not enough I also added hard species like Meadow pipit (usually only fly overs so you need to be at the right place), Common Snipe and Red Kite (although spreading out still not an easy one to see, you need to be in the right place at the right time), I even managed photos of the latter!!

Red Kite over Bradwell Abbey
Red Kite over Bradwell Abbey
The full list of species seen in January:

Great Crested grebe
Little Grebe
Grey Heron
Little Egret
Mute Swan
Canada Goose
Common Buzzard
Red Kite
Common Snipe
Water Rail
Black Headed Gull
Common Gull
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-Backed Gull
Greater Black-backed gull
Wood Pigeon
Collard Dove
Stock Dove
Feral Pigeon
Green Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Meadow Pipit
Pied Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
European Robin
Song Thrush
Field Fare
Mistle Thrush
Great Tit
Blue Tit
Coal Tit
Long-tailed tit
Eurasian Jay
Carrion Crow
House Sparrow
Reed Bunting



Photographically I achieved some of my best bird photos ever, I am really proud of some (see below) these are either images I actually planned out and worked to achieve or are those with excellent feather detail etc. (some of these will adorn the walls of our new house when we eventually find one). They have all appeared in other posts but are photos I like and would like to share with you again:

Eurasian Coot Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
Eurasian Coot Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes

detailed close up of Eurasian Coot Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
detailed close up of Eurasian Coot Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes

Eurasian Coot Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
Eurasian Coot Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes

Dancing Grebes Lodge lake, Milton Keynes
Dancing Grebes

Great Crested Grebe, Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes
Great Crested Grebe, Lodge Lake, Milton Keynes

Detailed Blue Tit Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes
Detailed Blue Tit Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes

Perched Kingfisher, Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes
Perched Kingfisher, Loughton Valley Park, Milton Keynes

February Targets


With January now a time of the past I am looking forward to February and what it might hold, firstly I turn 38 (6th Feb if you are wondering) and that has me filled with both dread and anticipation (I don't feel 38 in my head, although my body feels much older sometimes), I hope to find a house to buy with my beautiful fiance (Zoe), to be a home that we can share with my wonderful kids (Owen, Toby and Bo) and my old mum but more importantly to those reading this I have some goals in terms of birds and photos (and moth starting my recording again) that I would love to share.

Target Birds


There are a few birds that I am hoping will turn up in Feb, I could really do with seeing a Tufted Duck and/or Greylag Goose, and the colder weather that February often brings will hopefully help, it is usually a much crisper, month with many more blue sky days than Jan (well I think) and I'm hoping this will bring Redpolls, Siskins and Skylarks into my world again and again I am hoping the freezing weather will yield Jack Snipe on the flood plains. I must admit I am still hoping that I will get a repeat of last winters Waxwings or the Blackcaps from the end of last year.

Target Photos


I have a few ideas for photos that I would really like to achieve, these are ones I am half planning (or more than, I have the location etc ready just need the circumstances or weather for a couple of these):
  • I am hoping for the mist shrouded grebe image I spoke of in a previous post, 
  • I have an image in mind of three (or more) Goldfinches feeding on a set of thistles, I have the location and know they are used by the finches but I need a bright day and to take my bag hide with me so I can get this image I think.
  • I have an image in my head of two magpies in a single tree, with one diagonally above the other, but both quite clear and without too many branches in front, I have yet to see the image in the real world but it has been a photo I want to take for a long while (I may not be describing it well here).
Other than these targets I hope that I will be able to get my moth trap out (I'm not a fan of trapping in the rain, fed up of soggy egg boxes) and I'm hoping there will be insects starting to come out and explore the world again soon (I do miss spring and summer for the hover flies, butterflies and dragonflies).

Anyway, Hopefully my next update will be telling you all about the great new birds I have seen and photographed.

Please feel free to leave me a comment, I really appreciate the interaction and will reply as soon as I can.



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