Monday, 19 October 2020

Lets shrike this

 Lots of slog for not much reward this weekend - did bang in redwing & fieldfare on fri & sat and then yesterday grabbed a red-backed shrike out of the dying embers of the south-easterlies - my fourth one on Galley and my first since 2013.

Had brief views again of the shrike this am before it seemingly dizzolved in the rain, which was a bit irksome. A black redstart was a bonus for the year though, which was nice.

Still a bit too far off the podium for my liking - not sure I'm going to get much closer though!

A couple more...

 Squeezed in coal tit and fieldfare this last week.

trying to keep the pressure on the Procs but even if I get the few remaining regulars and jam a few bonus birds, it just isn't going to happen.... bugger.

Happy days


Thursday, 15 October 2020

Oh, Canada


Continuing to record at home, we were sat on a video call this morning looking out of the window, paying full attention when we noticed nine Canada geese flying over low. They must have come in on the easterlies along with all the redwings that have just arrived. This full fat gank patch tick was later blown out of the water by jack snipe, flushed from the side of a field. If flew off low, but just when I went for a second look, the local farmer resumed muck spreading - jack shit in that field now. 90 species (all time patch record for a year) = 114.9%

Wednesday, 7 October 2020


What with rare birds occurring on every blade of east coast grass over the last week, I've been spending a bit more time than usual stomping around the patch.  Thoughts of Ol' Snowy returning to it's favourite perch on top of my piano have, unfortunately, faded as there was absolutely nothing worthy of its return.  However, I did squeeze in a few patch birds for the year with a total of TEN year ticks:

Ring Ouzel
Mistle Thrush
Lesser whitethroat
Wood warbler

Quality birds all of them.  Although wood warbler was a FFP tick and it was only my second ever crossbill.

Still no rares though and I'd rather have been with Roy Castle clearing up Shetland...who wouldn't?

The good news is that, for now, there is hope that the Mallard could remain where it has been for the last couple of years.  

119 species

Happy days

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Wandering tits

 Its that time of year on Galley when you can bump into a load of tits of all shapes and sizes pretty much anywhere. And so it was this morning, as I wandered down into Dirk hoping for a yank. A distant possible long-tailed tit call gradually came closer and turned into nine (count 'em) of the wee blighters frolicking in the sycamores. 

I gleaned another two kwality year ticks on Sunday, in the form of my first stock dove since 2013 down Marsh Lane followed by two (count 'em) or a brace if you'd prefer, wigeon on the lake. 

Exhibit A - A stock dove

I would still rather be on Shetland though.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

The prodigal son returns

Well I'm back. I noticed mutterings that I needed to post, partly due to totally erroneous claims that I was threatening the top of the  leaderboard. Clearly I've not been anywhere other than in my (non-Covid) fevered mind and clearly it's not been the incredible patch birding that has kept me away from here. 

Following the pleasing return of green woodpeckers in April, the spring progressed with typical migrants appearing including wheatear (which according to my very poor records may have been a patch tick), and residents such as hard to find grey partridge and barn owl, which were both squeezed out of the woodwork in April and May. June and July were tedious tick free months before August appeared and delivered the goods with a tree pipit, a patch tick but probably only through  previous piss poor ornithological skills and oversight. 

Slithering into September teal reappeared on my beloved newly flooded field before a very welcome pair of golden plover briefly paused on the barren, lifeless wastes of the arable field next to the house. 

The list now stands at 101.19% so in no way threatening The Proclaimers, or anyone else for that matter, except possibly through actual numbers of species, but then we'd both be miles behind any of the coastal ponces, struggling as we do on our birdless agricultural wastelands. 

That do you? Really wasn't worth waiting for was it?

Monday, 28 September 2020

Weekend Roundup

 Yes indeedy, folks have been banging in the year ticks all over the gaff over the last few days, none more so than Big Royzah who after nailing a brent goose and a great northern diver, even turned his hand to a spot of seawatching, scoring his first sooty shearwaters in 13 years! Oooooof!

I was out both days of the weekend, and although it was generally pretty quiet, I did manage a fine coal tit at the Lashers and another, more showy garden warbler on saturday, and then on sunday I bumped into my first yellow-browed warbler of the autumn, as well as a pied flycatcher and the garden warbler again.

A coal tit, yesterday

Getting there slowly....