Thursday, 31 December 2015
Sadly, all this action still wasn't enough to move up the leaderboard - all it did was make it harder for next year! Bollox!
Wednesday, 30 December 2015
Sunday, 20 December 2015
Saturday, 19 December 2015
Saturday, 5 December 2015
Which puts me on 102.35%... and still, astonishingly, in the lead... waiting for the end-of-year surge from the chasing pack to knock me off the podium.
Other news...? Well, got to hook up with the American Bittern before Seppy. It's always entertaining watching him squirm as he realises he may actually dip. Alas the bittern was still there the following day, giving itself up.
Oh well... you can't win 'em all ;-).
Anywho... cracking bird. Here's a little phone-scoped video... just in case you're not sick of looking at it :-).
Thursday, 26 November 2015
|And Ooooooof once more!|
Saturday, 21 November 2015
Friday, 20 November 2015
Tuesday, 10 November 2015
Wednesday, 4 November 2015
Tuesday, 3 November 2015
While it is undeniable that it's most remarkable feature is a lack of species diversity (mallard, teal, moorhen, grey heron, cormorant and a smattering of gulls are the only regulars), it has delivered a few stellar additions to this year's tally over the last month or so.
There were the gadwall and coot, of course... and then there was yesterday.
A quick spin to the lake on the bike looking for elusive mute swans resulted in a very distinct lack of swanage... but did throw up a rather splendid green sandpiper down on the lakeshore.
OUTSTANDING patch tickage... taking me to 101.18% for the year.
No pics, obvs... I was on the bike with no camera and my attempts through the bins with the phone turned out to be woeful. So here's one I purloined from Google that looks exactly like it.
Now... it's a toss up between green sandpiper and coot for my best patch find... decisions, decisions!
By Ron Knight from Seaford, East Sussex, United Kingdom (Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Monday, 2 November 2015
Saturday, 31 October 2015
Started off with a short-eared owl that was taking an interest in the snipe roost but managed to avoid the nets. Then followed a small flurry of year ticks including corn bunting, snow bunting, twite and brambling. Unfortunately by the time I'd finished with the snipe the weather had deteriorated somewhat and there was no time to check for migs. Still five year ticks within a couple of hours all from the same spot at this time of year is much appreciated.
101 for the year, still only 80.16%
Friday, 30 October 2015
If we are to believe this tissue of lies, Royzah claims that all this excitement moves him onto 98.05%, which is supposedly his best score since 2012!
Everyone better go have a lie-down now
Thursday, 29 October 2015
Monday, 26 October 2015
Friday, 23 October 2015
I was beginning to think that the year-ticks had dried up as the rest of the field came tearing up the leaderboard (or ambling, in Seppy's case, natch). And then the lake... which is always spectacularly underwhelming... at last started to drip feed a few scores!
It started with a duck! A gadwall, to be precise... which was a fine patch tick just sitting there on the lake, plain as day as I cruised up on the bike for a quick scan a week or so back. Then a few days ago (the morning after Seppy bagged his) a COOT turned up.
What are the chances? It's the first coot on patch for at least eight years... which makes it pretty special in my book. The gadwall was a first, but to be honest I'm much more excited about the coot. Not sure why. Could all of this mean the lake is about to deliver a fowl bonanza in the final quarter?
Probably not... but all this recent shenanigans puts me on an even 100% for the year, and takes me temporarily back to the top of the leaderboard, which is nice.
It also means that if anything else turns up it will make next year harder. Every silver lining has its cloud, I suppose.
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Verification of la coot below - still present today! Please park sensibly.
|110% Verified, natch|
Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Friday, 16 October 2015
A reasonable patch total possibly likely, though the score will be depressed by 2013 still.
Total is 159, giving score of 95.07, playing off average of 167.25
Recent additions include Barred Warbler on 7th October, and Coal Tit earlier this week.A Yellow-browed Warbler today was only the second I've had this autumn on the patch.Seem to be missing out from the good conditions further south...no wind at all and barely any rain.
Still, always hope for tomorrow....
Monday, 12 October 2015
in 1 - siskin
iiiiiiin 2 - lapland bunting
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiin 3 - 19 (count 'em) barnacle geese
and Bully's Special Prize - Bearded tit! Cowabunga man!
Flying up the leader board with his trumpet hangin oot!
Sunday, 11 October 2015
Tuesday, 15 September 2015
Or so it would seem. While the UK and Ireland is gearing up for a mig-fest, what has been going on in Singapore? No idea - I have been away for a month and will be away for another month before getting back mid-October.
Work has taken me from Iceland via Greenland to Canada and I am now back in the UK for a month. So highlights such as ivory gull, narwhal and polar bear don't count much in this bigger picture.
But before I left, a few species were added to the patch list. The best of these was probably the discovery of a second owl species at a roosting location. This time, Sunda scops owl. After the initial find, a further two were also found in the same area. And the two buffy fish owls were also present nearby. Which was nice.
Not as unusual, but still counting on the list was my first migrant of the 'autumn', a barn swallow. And then I departed just as migration was really starting. Getting back in mid-October the scene will have changed, and I may have some catching up to do...
Monday, 14 September 2015
Banged in siskin and pied fly too - all to play for!
Friday, 11 September 2015
A fumbled phone call to Old Spoons meant he was able to come and watch it flying around over his house while his dinner got cold - result! Back down to Shite Lane only to blunder into Mr Faulty's garden warbler from yesterday - only my 2nd ever here - for some reason I just never see 'em! Amayzing scenes ensued!
Finally broke the mythical 200 species barrier with the rosefinch! Marvellous!
Tuesday, 8 September 2015
The easterlies earlier were disappointing with a scattering of migrants the best of which being a reed warbler (no paddyfields, wrynecks, icky's, shrikes to be seen). But there's time and I'm off to the patch just now so hopeful for an update shortly.
Monday, 7 September 2015
Best fill ya in on what happened at Donmouth during the last spell of easterlies, before the next spell of easterlies kicks off!
Basically, the Boy Roy (for it was he) tap-danced his way throughout his sorry patch gleaning 2 (count 'em) wrynecks, 2 pied flys, 3 crossbills, redstart, garden warbler, and 12 (feck's sake, count 'em again!) whinchats! He then added some waders for good measure, notably ruff, gimpshank, and whimbrel.
He had a barred warbler too, but luckily that was miles off patch - just as well.
Tune in next
Saturday, 29 August 2015
Friday, 28 August 2015
Tuesday, 25 August 2015
Tuesday, 4 August 2015
Monday, 27 July 2015
Saturday, 4 July 2015
Cowabunga!, as basil faulty might say...
Sunday, 21 June 2015
not unsurprising really seeing how crap it's been. Spring passed by without a notable bird to be seen and now we're in the glorious days of mid summer and not expecting much now for another couple of months.
Best bird of the year is a crossbill, of the common variety.
Total 61 species
But expect a better second half performance, or else I'll start a new patch in Singapore…
Wednesday, 17 June 2015
Not that the patch has been without interest. The undoubted highlight has been the two buffy fish owls that seem to have taken up residence and are regular at a daytime roost. At 50 cm these are large owls, and a really nice addition to the patch at a time when things have been pretty quiet otherwise.
Meanwhile, Seppy offered me a fiver to not see so many birds. Happy to co-operate, I thought about adding ten to the target for the year, which would make the maths easier. But then I decided to take all the Category C junk off the list. Goodbye to seven species; Javan myna etc which actually feels like a good move.
In other news, a short cross border raid into southern Malaysia connected with rail-babbler among many other quality birds, and served to remind me of just how bird-poor the forests in Singapore are. But not entirely without interest, as I discovered when I was lucky enough to come across a Sunda pangolin (!) in the Central Catchment Reserve a short bus ride form home. That piece of excitement will keep me going for a while.
Friday, 12 June 2015
I demand a recount!
Tuesday, 2 June 2015
Thursday, 28 May 2015
So, I thought now that it's here it might be an idea to go about trying to keep it a little bit longer. A few useful year ticks gleaned over recent weeks are bound to help. Spotted flys are back -- not the ones in / around the garden but one on the far side of the lake does the job nicely. Also picked up a singing reed warbler, which is a handy bonus, as it's more luck than judgement (my main birding strategy, truth be told) getting them on patch.
Then, walking around the north-east perimeter one evening I happened upon the elevated spot where I can see the only sliver of sea from patch. Conditions were perfect -- I could read the writing on the side of a passing container ship clearly with my bins -- unheard of. Then I spotted the tell-tale white flashes as gannets wheeled and dived. Score!
Not sure if I'm forgetting anything -- but gannet pushes me on to 81 species, which in real money converts to 95.29%.
Not bad... but I'm running out of tickable options fast!
Saturday, 16 May 2015
Wednesday, 13 May 2015
And a good job too, because over near the north-west boundary of the patch was a field full of whimbrel. Fifteen of 'em to be exact (I know, coz I counted em). Bingo!
The last few weeks also saw buzzard make it onto a list that's seen painfully slow progress recently, and along with a fly-by cuckoo today puts me on 90.59% -- or, in other words, still trailing the tropics.
Sunday, 10 May 2015
Saturday, 9 May 2015
Thursday, 7 May 2015
Moves me on to 92.22%, which is nice.
In other news, an off patch wander to the former cemetery of Bidadari produced not one but two (count 'em) Jambu fruit doves. Lifer! A pair if you will. Or at least a male and a female sitting within ten feet of each other. Although I don't think the species has been recorded breeding in Singapore (yet). But f they want to, this pair had better get a move on as one of the best birding sites in Singapore is about to disappear under concrete. Progress...
The dove above is the male - a smart looking bird. And I know you have all been waiting to ask . Why Jambu? What on earth does that mean? Well, as far as I can tell it means 'fruit' in Malay (variations on guava). So this is the Fruit fruit dove. Makes perfect sense, no?
Friday, 1 May 2015
Monday, 27 April 2015
First, what did I miss? Malayan night heron on the patch was gripping and would have been a life bird but was not well twitched. Perhaps more gripping was a blue-winged pitta seen by my girlfriend and her family. And photographed. Poorly. But all the same.
But of the changes, blue-tailed bee eater has been replaced by blue-throated. Arctic warbler in song was a new one to learn. And a few other odds and sods moves the total onto 81...just reaching 90%. It is getting difficult to see where the next ten are going to come from, but that's half the fun.
Friday, 24 April 2015
Exotic surprises notwithstanding, the steady arrival of usual suspects like blackcap, sedge warbler, whitethroat and (finally) house martin, augmented by the occasional resident like a calling long-eared owl from the garden a few nights back (outdoor nocturnal teeth-brushing still paying dividends)... march me onwards to a respectable 87.06%.
No gropper yet though... which is a bit of a worry.
Monday, 20 April 2015
Friday, 17 April 2015
Saturday, 11 April 2015
Imagine my surprise when scanning the hill last weekend to see a male hen harrier dancing his merry sky dance. Later the same day I caught him at it again, this time with a female for company.
Saw him for five consecutive days during the week... so fingers crossed. A merlin was another useful year tick gleaned while scanning for harrier shenanigans. All good.
Migs continue to arrive on patch with a singing willow warbler down at the lake last Sunday, and a wheatear this evening. Only my third ever on patch... so a tricky one to get. No sign of any of the rake of hoopoes that have hit the West Cork Coast up here yet, but you never know.
For now that puts me on a healthy 78.82%. Roll on that hoopoe!
Saturday, 4 April 2015
Monday, 30 March 2015
No birds about -- although a lone singing chiff a couple of weeks back from a sparse little copse at the back end of the patch hinted at a smattering of movement... a suggestion perhaps, that other migrants might be on the way. Not long after that a flyover yellowhammer was a welcome boost after a relatively lengthy year-tick-free patch -- good bird here, only ever seen passing through.
Then on Saturday I spied my first swallow, swiftly followed by two (count 'em) sand martians! So it's officially -- spring has most certainly sprung!
More importantly it puts me back on top of the leaderboard on 74.12%. Which is nice....
Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Anyway, good to see a comeback, with this bird clearly seeking out its familiar natural habitat of fences and chicken wire.
Score update to follow soon....
Tuesday, 10 March 2015
For those on the watch for these things, I haven't counted last year's total either (I did keep a tally although it wasn't my worst year, and I did find a female surfie too, which is quite good for here given I only ever get fly-by scoters).
Nothing special here so far, although it's nice to see the seabirds returning and skylarks back on patch.
Monday, 9 March 2015
Thursday, 26 February 2015
And before flying out tonight, that left just enough time for a cheeky rummage through the patch that came up with not one, but two (count 'em) Siberian blue robins. A female, and an immature male, which is fortunate as an adult male would no doubt have led to instant disqualification. Here's the female...
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Waders are always welcome up here in "inland-ville" -- and despite the fact I've had goldies up here the last three years in a row they are by no means guaranteed.
What's better is the fact that they put me back in front... and with Singapore Sling off patch for a couple of months too -- so time to glean one or two more methinks.
Oh the joys!
Monday, 23 February 2015
The pitta is still on patch and now coming down to mealworms...otherwise the patch has been a little quiet with little egret and common sandpiper (first shorebird for me on the patch!) both counting the same as the pitta in the final calculation. Hmmm.
I have also been 'off patch' to successfully twitch blue-winged pitta and orange-headed thrush. Which was nice. But things will slow up from now for a couple of months as I have to go to work...
Friday, 20 February 2015
Friday, 13 February 2015
Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Whilst adding the collared dove to the
With the data analysis and number crunching done that puts me on a whopping 69.41% -- still a whisker behind the Singapore Sling.
Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Monday, 9 February 2015
Tuesday, 3 February 2015
Behold, i'm the new Nimmo!
[EDIT - here's an american robin from today]
Monday, 2 February 2015
Sunday, 1 February 2015
Added to a flurry of late January additions, including dabchick, chough, chiffchaff and stonking views (yes views) of a water-rail, that takes me to a grand total of 57 species... or 67.06% if you're counting.
Which I am... naturally.
Had what I'm sure was a distant hen harrier over the hill as I cycled home from checking the unproductive lake this afternoon. Couldn't get enough on it with bins to rule out other (much less likely) options like Monty, marsh or pallid. Booted home to scope the hillside from the garden, but alas the bird was gone.
It will be back though. Unless a farmer shoots it!
Roll on spring :-).
Friday, 30 January 2015
Oh and Shakey's been shaking his thang in the kingdom and is now claiming to be in 2nd place! A likely story...
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Inspired by early success, I then took some pictures of a family of white-breasted waterhens:
Saturday, 24 January 2015
er, I mean, Bushveld's cracking little bunting at his new Longhaven patch has won Old Snowy, as the best patch find for 2014. In a fairly quiet year across all patches, this was the stand out find, and one that I'd love to get at Galley (would be a feckin Irish tick for a start!)
Anyway, hopefully Reg will do the decent thing and drop Snowy round to Bushy's gaff soon, and maybe even pose for a photo!
can but hope...
Tuesday, 20 January 2015
And it it is perhaps fitting that I am an overseas entrant to the challenge. So while you are freezing your 'nads round Galley or the Don or wherever, mine be sweating around Singapore Botanic Gardens. A small patch of greenery in the urban jungle that is Singapore. It's hard too escape from traffic noise, and harder to escape from people, but even so a few hardy species persist and I'll be trying to find as many as I can.
The year is off to a good start,with about 40 species so far. This afternoon was one of those slightly weird birding moments while watching exotic species such as black-naped oriole, blue-tailed bee-eater, pink-necked green pigeon and a common kingfisher. But there's quality there, so it's all good. And a Phyllosc that I struggled with...and maybe will sort out tomorrow?
Monday, 19 January 2015
Sunday, 18 January 2015
62sp / 55.86%
Wednesday, 14 January 2015
Monday, 12 January 2015
On the basis of "attack is the best means of defence", been out and about on patch as much as possible since the turn of the year... and things have been ticking along nicely. Lake is still spectacularly under-delivering on the waterfowl front... but four (count 'em) tufties and a little grebe were good birds to get early on.
Been steadily ticking off the usual suspects, with some, like cormorant, still conspicuous by their absence.
Current state of play, nearly two weeks in, 53 species, or 62.35%. Can't see me maintaining this pace... but at least I won't be gone for four months this year, and I certainly won't be missing the Autumn :-).
Friday, 9 January 2015
Last year on Boghall was the poorest to date, following close on the heals of 2013 which was the best to date. this means I'm chasing a paltry 74.67 species for 2015. Things are going well so far though, and best has to be the cracking barn owl that was floating about in the half light of pre dawn this morning. A fine way to start the day. This is the third record for the patch, and the best view I've had of one yet. Bring it on.
And apparently this is post number 666 on this blog - cool!