Friday, 25 November 2022

Great White at Galley

 Yes indeedy - blundering around the gaff late morning and noticed some white things in the reeds by the newly flooded fields around the lake - "best check them for whooper swans" I thought - well, one did have yellow on the bill....

A Great White and some smaller sharks this morning

Imagine my surprise! I have been hoping for one for a while, and this is probably the one thats been hanging around at Clogheen Marsh near Clonakilty for about a week, but great to finally get one on patch. Needless to say, I didn't try to get too close to the feeding frenzy, just in case. 

So that shurely sees off any last gasp challenge from Bushveld and co? I certainly hope so anyway!

Sunday, 20 November 2022

Record Breaking Bumper Bonus Bonanza

 The end of October ended with a full fat patch tick in the form of a fine fly by Goosander.  Since then November has produced two seconds and third with red-breasted merganser, turnstone and Iceland gull all this weekend. I wasn't expecting those.  

The turnstone today puts me on 126 for the year, a new patch total record and needless to say makes it temptingly close to the run away leader, Seppy.

126 spp.


Happy Day


Monday, 14 November 2022

Nearly Done

 Yes indeedy, there can't be much to add to the Galley year list total, but the last few weeks have demonstrated that you never know what might be out there!

To recap:

Having missed Old Spoon's dick's pipit by having my phone on silent, I was out early doors the next day, before it had even stopped raining! Consequently I was back in the car soaked, about 10 minutes after I'd started. Once the rain really had finally cleared, I was out again. No luck with the pipit, but I did bump into this instead...

a little bunting erm, 10 days ago...(calvin's pic)

Quite an unexpected bonus - it showed well and called a lot, and even hung around long enough for Basil to tear over to get an irish tick - all good!

And that really should have been it for the year. Away the next weekend, and so consequently I wasn't surprised to hear that I'd missed long-tailed tits and a globby at Red Strand, viewable from the patch. Bum. Ah well. Unphased, I had a wee jaunt down the beach last Wednesday am, and banged in a fine brent goose instead - another good one for round here.

So thats 143 for the year, and rather satisfyingly, it works out at precisely 110.28%. I reckon I could still get another two species maybe, which would be 145, my second highest patch score but still 4 below my highest ever. Incidentally, I think if I'd been around a bit more in Sept & Oct this year I'd definately have smashed the mythical 150 barrier, but hey ho, something to aim at another time.

Monday, 24 October 2022

still grafting

 Yes indeedy, the autumn continues....

snow bunting dug out by Old Spoons early last week was invaluable for the year. A brief mid-week mini-break resulted in me missing both jack snipe and marsh harrier, however, this year missing the odd thing doesnt seem to make much difference. Out early the next morning netted me a redwing (at last) and also a much scarcer woodcock - think only my fourth time seeing one on patch. Things continued to pick up the following day when a red-breasted flycatcher was found at Shite Lane - as with the last one there, this bird was tricky to see well, and was almost always on the move, but over time it was possible to see the key features and thus rule out lightening having struck twice!

Beginning to think I might be far enough ahead of the rest of the pack now....

In other news, royzah claimed his first slavonian grebe on patch in over 10 years last week....

Thursday, 13 October 2022

Migrants in autumn -- how novel!

Admitting Seppy is right, about anything, is always galling. However, when it comes to the merit of adopting a coastal patch, I have to grudgingly acknowledge he had a point.

Up at The Mall, nothing changed in Autumn. You just bumped into the same old residents, with perhaps an outside chance of stumbling across an errant raptor passing through, or picking up the occasional non-standard duck on the lake. You'd always be up around the same total come year-end, simply because the same birds turned up, year in, year out.

It was all getting a tad dull.

Squince is different. It pulled in a smattering of migrants in spring, and while things had been slow through most of the summer, the onset of autumn had me hoping for new arrivals. 

Just one of the 4 Yellow-browed Warblers giving themselves up around Squince this morning

A fall of early migs on the West Cork coast in September saw Seppy fill his proverbial boots at Galley, while I was away on holiday. Cavorting around Yell helping him find his Sibe Thrush kept me off patch for another week after I got back. But despite the absences, and a slow start last week, Squince is finally coming up with the goods.

First a fine Lesser Whitethroat kicked off my autumn tally, followed by four (count 'em) Yellow-Browed Warblers, a very welcome Spotted Flycatcher (which I thought I'd missed for the year) and, lo and behold, a treecreeper.

Spot-fly for the year... get in!

Add to that a "seemingly good movement" of Skylark over the patch and a small flock of Redpoll, and that's five year ticks over the last couple of days (or full-fat patch ticks, this being my first autumn on the new patch).

A fall of firecrests in West Cork during the week had me scouring goldcrests to no avail -- christ that's tedious. I'm sure there must be one on patch somewhere.

All of which brings the tally to a more respectable 97.54%. Still in fourth -- but not a million miles off the pace now, so all to play for.

Monday, 10 October 2022

Branta Bonanza

 Yes indeedy - el Royzah has once again been bangin' them in on Donside. He even managed photographery too although it is likely to have originated on the internet. Thusly

Barnies on the Don t'other day

More of it, ted

In addition, he's also claiming a fly-by puffin on a seawatch, which all seems a bit unlikely. Still its enuff to push up to third spot, just behind Bushveld.

All this catch-up action has me a bit worried. So much so that I've had to cash in redpoll and a fine lesser whitethroat in an attempt to stay out in front. I need some south-easterlies, pronto!

LATE EDIT: Just remembered someone claimed 3 whopper schwans over Galley earlier today - a quick check of the lake from the majik patio (tm) and boom - two whopper schwanns right there! Fantastic!

11/10 EDIT - just added yellow-browed warbler this afternoon - score!

Friday, 7 October 2022


 Barnacle Goose + Long-tailed tit = 120 species = 100%

Long-tailed tit is patch gold with only one previous record exactly four years ago to the day.

Happy days