Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Astounding happenings at Philpstoun*

Since my last post things have hotted up on the patch. On the day of my last post extolling the lack of its virtues the patch produced an avalanche of black-tailed godwits. 42 turned on on my normally quiet flooded field. This peak was never reached again but the blackwits have continued to visit along with an influx of snipe which now seem to be regulars. Since then a number of good birds have turned up: a flyby peregrine and kingfisher and dabchick on the canal for the first time in a few years. To cap this glorious renaissance of the patch today I finally found a nuthatch, a long awaited coloniser taking the patch list to 94 and 85 for the year. Clearly this purple patch will merely mean future dreariness but at least I can momentarily ride on an ornithological high.

*Astounding is relative obviously.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Last ditch autumnal efforts

Last day of Oct - last day of SE winds for the foreseeable and I was reduced to floundering in Old Spoons's wake as he turned up both Lesser Whitethroat & Firecrest in Dirk. Sadly his Bramble finch had left by the time I got there but I managed to turn the tide with a fine Shoveler on the lake afterwards - a three year tick day rounding off a fairly dismal October on patch!

Sunday, 13 October 2019

twitching the nighthawk

Me & Ross Geller took a punt that the Common Nighthawk up in Antrim would remain for another day on Friday - it certainly did!

A common nighthawk yesterday
The fly-bys along the river at dusk were incredible, but sadly my recording technology was not up to the task of capturing any footage - brilliant bird!

Did manage a flyover lapland bunting on patch early doors on Friday, plus merlin today moves me over the near-mythical 80% barrier.....

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Autumn Fillers

Looks like Ol' Snowy will be staying at Galley for another year, well done to Seppy for a cracking find.

As for Longhaven, there have been no major (or any) surprises so far this autumn, with just the usual autumn fillers pushing up the yearly total.

Recent birds are as expected YBW, Brambling, Jack Snipe, SEO, Whinchat, Redwing and Siskin.  I should really do some seawatching, which could easily get me another 5 species or so.  But until then my total is on 116 species (my highest ever) and a ridiculous 109.43%

Happy days


Saturday, 5 October 2019

REV in Dirk

Been easing back into Galley, adjusting to the severe changes in vegetation levels after Shetland. After a rainy morning, a pre-school pick-up wander down Dirk last monday was proving very fruitless, when all of a sudden, as if by magic, a red-eyed vireo appeared in the tree that I was scanning. Almost as quickly, it vanished again, and I was left wondering if I'd imagined the whole thing.

Luckily, after a few heart-stopping minutes, I managed to relocate it in the adjacent tree, and it did the decent thing, and performed in full view for a few seconds, before heading off again, towards the big clump of sycamores at the bottom of Dirk. I had to go and collect the wean from school, but on returning to the scene of the crime, complete with camera, I drew a total blank. It was like it had never happened - Dirk was back to normal again! After an hour, I could take no more, and headed home to celebrate!

So I never did get a photo, but here's a blurred and on the huh shot that Ross Geller took of the Mizen bird the previous day instead...

A red-eyed vireo yesterday by Ross Geller
As for Dirk, well, who knows what could be in there - if only there was a bit more cover to actually hold stuff!

Dirk Bay, yesterday

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Still here

After a  long absence from the blog I am back. Unsurprisingly for the avian paradise that is Philpstoun there are no exciting (or even half exciting) birds to report. A meadow pipit this morning was the first year tick since July and as about as mega as it gets. This takes the year tally to 80, one off last year and 88.89% of the all time figure (don't have three years to compare against here yet). I'm sure you'll all be rushing here to partake in the ornithological delights but if you do please let me know so I can put the kettle on.