I’m not sure how the levels of commitment will fluctuate but I thought I’d have a go at the Local Big Year challenge. I’m not one for keeping lists of birds, I find that aspect a bit dull but it will encourage me to wander a little further to some local sites that I generally neglect in favour of Beachy Head. I’ve kept it simple and included the area that falls within a 10km radius of home. Admittedly 50% of which is open water but it does encompass some very good local sites like the Cuckmere Valley, Abbots Wood, West Rise Marsh and of course Beachy Head.
It’s started well with a handful of birds that are not guaranteed on Beachy Head or just simply scarce in general! The long staying Hooded Crow was an easy drive by at Polegate and the Sovereign Harbour Great northern Diver gives me a head start on a species not always easily seen at Beachy Head. However most enjoyable were the Hawfinch at Abbots Wood, always a pleasure to catch up with this large but unobtrusive woodland bird. Big units with the most innocuous of calls, there seems to have been something of an influx into the wood this winter and the birds have been making the most of the Hornbeam seed crop.