My recent post about cutting car miles prompted me to look at my own record for birding on Shanks’ pony. I wondered if I had ever hit a year list of 100 on my local patch. For instance, this year in Walkwood I’ve notched 60, which is pretty fair for a small coppice bordered by housing estates one side and fields the other.
My all-time high, predictably, comes from the last few months of 1997 when I lived a lark’s vomit away from Upton Warren. 88, followed by 85 the succeeding year, represent my top scores. Then Los Altos Hills, on the edge of Silicon Valley, weighs in with 77 during 2000.
That’s good for a similarly landlocked site although I had the benefit of sneaking into Foothills Park, which is technically in Palo Alto. Hence the sneaking: only kosher residents could use the park but I lived across the road and… Unfortunately, I never did carry on down to Arastradero, which would have pushed the footbound tally up near a hundred. I always drove – so California of me!
So, could Portishead next year break my record? It has all the attributes: an estuary big enough to hold pelagic species; mudflats; saltmarsh; still some scrub around the old power station; a marina; boating lake; golf course; and even a decent patch of woodland. The towny bits should provide a baseline of feral pigeon and house sparrow. One hundred species? Why not.
What do you reckon you could make locally? (Residents of Cley need not apply!)