Although Sutton Bingham Reservoir is my local patch, in 2016 I started keeping a Sherborne patch list as well, something to get me out of the office over my lunch breaks more than anything else and an excuse to do a little more birding, appreciating the commoner species that are often overlooked or dismissed with barely a second glance. Covering around one square mile it's a pretty small area, but you'd be amazed at what can turn up.
The pick of the early winter birds was a Firecrest at the Sherborne Sewage Treatment Works in February, though it was originally found in January. This little gem was joined by at least one other bird and delighted throughout the month. A Siberian Chiffchaff was a good find in early March, though presumably had been present throughout the winter. A couple of fly-over Little Egrets were unexpected. A Merlin was seen whizzing over the arable land in April and a very obliging Garden Warbler was added to the list. Things pretty much tailed off for the remainder of the year, though a Hobby was added in the summer. 2016 ended with a Black Redstart and just before the end of the year a Kingfisher brought the total for the patch to 69 species.
2017 Highlights - so far!
OK, we're only a couple of months in, but it's been a good start to 2017 around the Sherborne patch. A very vocal Siberian Chiffchaff was around the Sewage Works again this winter, as was a Firecrest with both found in January. However, more excitement was generated by three Grey Partridge that I stumbled across one lunchtime. More cracking birds with a first-winter Iceland Gull on the playing field at work in late February followed by a Dipper at the end of March which was totally unexpected.
Hopefully there will be a lot more to come this year!