Well that was a month to forget! There were some high points but generally I felt ill and like sh*t for the whole of January, 4 weeks of colds culminating in an outbreak of flu (that's Lizzie and Toby and me just to make it worse).
But feeling ill aside, I did make my best efforts in this years footit competition, which was thoroughly enjoyable, despite it raining every weekend!! I did a 1 mile radius from my house, a quarter of that circle was on the other side of the river so I had a relatively small area to play with. However the Brundall area is pretty rural and varied so there were quite a few habitats to choose from- Fen, overgrown fen/carr, arable, small woodland, river, grassland, reedbed and open water to name some.
I set myself the high target of 80 species, which at the time I thought was way above what I would achieve but would give me something to aim at...I was pretty chuffed when I realised that the target was achievable and even more so when I met my target! My last outing (full of flu, but dragging myself around Brundall) saw me (ab)use my wardening position to flush out a Jack Snipe from Bradeston Marsh for 79 and then I headed to Braydeston Hills stopped at a field I had looked in so many times and thought there must be a green woodpecker somewhere here... and then one flew past- magic!
Biggest misses were- Skylark (tried hard for this!!) Bearded tit, Bittern, coot, linnet, little egret and woodcock, all of which I have seen within the 1 mile limit before (85 next year??).
My Patchwork challenge list feels like it has got off to a very slow start, I have not really been properly birding on the patch (apart from footit lackford run area). I had to do a count at Buckenham and Cantley and have done a couple of surveys at Strumpshaw. Through this workbirding I have managed to come up with 93 species so far, with the undoubted highlight being the female Smew from reception on Thursday afternoon. My first proper Strumpshaw Smew on the deck so pretty pleased, although I did not find it unfortunately.
Finally can anyone help me out with this bug? It looks to me like it should be a leafhopper from the subfamily Idiocerinae, possibly even Idiocerus herrichi, but the scutellum markings dont quite fit. Any help here would be much appreciated, especially considering it was on my conservatory window in mid January!
So I'm pretty sure that will go down as one of the worst January's for me, but at least I'm beginning to get back to normal and footit certainly gave me a bit moreof a reason to get out and see what was on my doorstep, will certainly be taking part again next year!
..bring on February!