Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The power of prophecy.

So Corey has a post up over at the newly supersized 10,000 Birds on the topic and its something I've tried before (with limited accuracy - did not see that emu coming! (no I didn't tick it!)) and I thought I'd try again. I'm talking about the skill of list growth prediction or as I like to think of it, birding soothsaying, the dark art of tick prophecy if you will. Simply put; what do I think will be the next ten ticks on my island list? Well a highly skilled birder who knows the area well could probably pick up a big chunk of what follows easily but I'm still getting used to what to look for where here; we have limited habitat as its a small island so birds are concentrated. Its also worth noting that some more common birds (passerines mainly) not on the list below don't feature as its unlikely I'll be in a position to pick them out before I find the below as a result of my lack of warbler skills and the time of year we're in.
  1. Pintail - I should probably already have one of these on the list, there is at least one kicking around on the island right now and I've already had crippling views of a pintail x mallard hybrid so I reckon I'll pick up one of these sooner rather than later.
  2. Hen Harrier - this is an eye to the skies job. Whilst not common it's a big conspicuous bird which travels through the island from time to time. I reckon I may see one at some point this year randomly overhead or hear about a twitchable one.
  3. Short Eared Owl - we're rich in habitat for these and again, it's a big, recognisable bird on the wing so I should be in with a shout....
  4. Goldcrest - a garden breeder up at my parents' and we have loads of these here too but skulking in deep cover. I must surely nail one down this winter having failed all last year.
  5. Firecrest - as for goldcrest (but without the bit about my folks' house).
  6. Brambling - Loads of chaffinch and greenfinch flocks around that I think I need to pay more attention too until I pick out a Brambling (or something else).
  7. Mediterranean Gull - there are a few of these around amongst the black-headed gull flocks I occasionally check (thus far unsuccessfully) [similarly possible alternative tick: Yellow Legged Gull].
  8. Woodcock - Woodcock are apparently rather common over winter. Again I think I just need to be in the right place at the right time.
  9. Knot - (K)not sure how I haven't seen one of these already!
  10. Great Crested Grebe - We have only one substantial body of freshwater here so my hope is to pick up a wintering bird on the sea. Nearly time to get the scope out on the coast [Similarly possible alternative tick: Slavonian Grebe].
and the outside long shot? Vagrant Lesser Yellowlegs - A regular vagrant to Britain that I can easily identify!


corey said...

Wish I could make some predictions that make sense but I have no idea what you would expect. Though the fact that you are on an island and only have one tern seems, well, a few terns light. Though maybe they are not likely this time of year?

tai haku said...

Corey - I'm missing a couple of terns for sure but as for when they're likely to rock up, that I'm not so sure of. They're in the category of birds I just expect to see at some point.