Last year I had great fun doing this and its a good way to work off the Christmas excess poundage. Rather than driving to a local 'patch' it gets you back to basics exploring the area within walking distance of where you live. With our local environment being a mix of suburban housing estates, improved pasture and arable fields along with a smattering of ponds and woods I recorded 60+ species last January and aim to beat that this year.
Saturday morning dawned clear and bright and as I peered out of the bedroom window I found three Blackcaps sitting in one of our birch trees. 2 males and a female were just sat enjoying the sunshine. We get wintering Blackcaps most years but these are earlier than usual.
Whilst carrying out the domestic chores I put a mist net up in the garden and was rewarded with this stunning male Sparrowhawk. Its bounced out of the net a couple of times over the last two years but this time I was on hand to secure it albeit at the expense of a few bits of flesh and some blood.
A real beauty. A good selection of birds were ringed including several Goldfinches. These can sometimes be quite tricky to age this time of year but I had this bird that showed a very clear distinction between its moulted adult type greater coverts and retained juvenile greater coverts making it a bird of the year Euring age 3.