I decided, at the precipice of the new year, that 2014 should be a year where I embark on a personal challenge. I have challenged myself to mind 100 species of birds within the boundaries of Hull in 2014. This could be foolish. I have previously only personally recorded 96 birds in my entire life in Hull.
As of today I have achieved 54% of my goal (that is 54 species). If I continue at this rate I should see 788.4 species of bird within Hull in 2014. I think that is more than all the species of bird recorded in the UK ever. So that will be impressive.
I’m still missing a few easy species. No Goldcrest yet, nor Song Thrush. In fact, I no longer know of a place where I can definitely see a Song Thrush. And I still haven’t visited the farmland between Willerby and Cottingham, which should yield several new birds (Yellowhammer, Partridges, Skylark). I have found a few trickier and unexpected species, the aforementioned Tree Sparrow was a highlight, and a Woodcock flushed along the river was a coup.
On hearing that a Firecrest had been reported at St. Andrews Quay I erupted into action, by which I mean I went 4 days later. I’ve never walked there from the city centre before but I was delighted by how enjoyable my meandering was, considering it basically is through an industrial estate. High tide meant there was little mud to scan across but several Turnstones (a new Hull bird for the year) and Redshank. Another new species was Linnet singing from some sort of tall metal structure.
On reaching the Quay a Kestrel flew over , causing a hidden Pheasant (new species for Hull) amongst the reeds to call out in fright, or maybe delight. I’m not sure what it’s agenda was. I bothered some bushes by the restaurant where the Firecrest was reported, but no luck. It always was a long shot but the Turnstones and Pheasant kept me in high spirits.
Something that sounded like a Water Rail made a sound, but I wasn’t sure. It could have a been a little pig, so I sought it along the reed. Upon reaching the north side of the disused dock I flushed a Snipe out. Flushed is a strong word. I walked 10 metres away from it and it panicked. If it had just kept schtump I would never had known it was there. Snipe is high point. Not a bird I had expected at all, with no where in the vicinity being typically ideal for them. On trying to relocate it, and maybe find a Jack Snipe, I noticed a man staring at me from the top of the abandoned building. He seemed… fucking dodgy so I decided to make my leave. I walked back to town, re-enjoying the Turnstone, finding a flock of 6 Stock Dove (another new Hull bird) and treated myself to a bag of yoghurt covered banana chips. I then plonked on a seat at home and saw a Blackcap in the garden (another new bird).
Hopefully my trip along the farmland areas will prove as fruitful.