|One of the final highlights of 2010 was a party of three Bearded Tits,|
including two ringed individuals, on my patch at Rainham.
Had I been at Rainham yesterday, or better still alongside Kev Jarvis at Crayford Marshes on the opposite bank of the Thames, I might have added two final year-ticks to my London 2010 list. Kev had both Raven and Gannet on 30 December, rounding off a truly memorable year in which he firmly put underwatched Crayford on the birding map by topping the Patchlist table with 170 species at the site.
But I wasn't there, not being able make it to Rainham until today for a final push. For whatever reason, 31 December didn't live up to the previous day's white-knuckle ride, and despite a good day birding from dawn to dusk, much of it in the enjoyable company of Luke Tiller, there were no new year-ticks, either for my patch or London lists. We did, however, notch up a very respectable 70 species between us, including 10 Pintail, Water Rail, 15 Grey Plover, two Yellow-legged Gulls, three Rock Pipits, a Water Pipit, three Bearded Tits, a pair of Yellowhammers and a Corn Bunting; Luke also had Little Egret and Little Gull before I met up with him.
In the final analysis, I logged 213 species in London in 2010, the second highest total ever recorded in a year in the capital, and three short of equalling Steve Connor's record 216 species in 2003. My total includes Barnacle Goose, having found a wary bird which turned up at Rainham in a cold spell back in January (I saw several others too but their origin seems more doubtful); even without that individual, 212 species would still earn second place. Many thanks to all the birders out there who helped with news - too many to name here, but I intend to write up an account of the year in due course.
I must, however, make mention of Jono Lethbridge, my London year-list 'running mate' throughout 2010. Always good-humoured and selfless with 'gen' (even if guilty of posting actionable photos of me on his blog), we were neck-and-neck for much of the second half of the year, and his final total of 209 was the third-highest recorded in London. Despite me heading the Patchlist competition at various times with my Rainham total, Jono edged ahead in the final month for the site to claim a well-deserved second place with 164 species, three ahead of my 161 species in third place.
All that remains for me to do this year, as undertaken previously, is to calculate my carbon offset cost. At 50p per species in London in 2010, let's call it £110 - a donation for that amount has just been made to the World Land Trust, a worthwhile cause which I urge everyone to support. Happy New Year!