Another cracking patch tick weekend thanks to Paul and Chris doing some proper birding on the Ythan. A text just before 9 on Saturday morning that they had a Pallid Harrier circling over Inch Geck sent me racing out of the flat. However, once I had cleared Aberdeen's traffic, a call to Chris put me in a dilemma of which way to go. The bird had drifted off, maybe going south east (towards the coast) or maybe it had gone back onto the extensive area of harrier habitat on Forvie Moor. Not much of a dilemma though so, with the patch list firmly in mind, I pulled up at Blackdog a couple of minutes later, left the car and scanned north. Within a minute there it was, coming over the rifle range straight towards me and continuing on away to the south. The camera was on crap settings and I didn't have the composure to adjust it in time but, with a bit of imagination, these point and shoot efforts at least show its wopping great collar.
Five folk just off Shetland (including a BBRC member who shares his name with a European country) were scoter scanning from the dunes and also clocked the bird as it went through.
A few other additions - a lone Barnacle Goose south with Pinks on a morning viz miggin session last week and a northbound lone Golden Plover Saturday morning too (both virtually but not quite annual). Redwing on Saturday was a banker whilst today (Sunday) saw the first Short-eared Owl in three years. The Black Scoter remains but I must have been the only birder out today who failed to find a Yellow-browed Warbler.
With four patch ticks this year, the patch list moves on to 187. How long now to the big 200? Year list is 121 which equals 97.84%.