Monday, 11 September 2023

Galley's Marshy Bits

 Yes indeedy, it's been another red-hot early September period on Galley, with a fair bit of quality birding. Things began with the south-easterlies last week which brought in a few pied flycatchers, spotted flycatchers, whinchats  and best of all, a cracking wryneck, which was nice.

As the SE winds continued into the weekend new birds were pretty thin on the ground, but it always felt like there was something lingering somewhere. And sure enough, a last ditch wander down Dirk late on Saturday afternoon produced a belter in the form of a marsh warbler in the fuschia bank. I'd been watching the two large sycamores which were still in the sun, hoping for an icky or the like, when I heard something rustling about close by in the fuschia. A gentle pish and it dropped down to eye level - a gorgeous olivey-green acro with straw-coloured legs! Sadly, it didn't hang around in view long enough for a photo (might have been too close to focus anyway) but a cracker none the less. 19 years to the month since my last one on Galley, so worth a quick reminder of that bird....

A marsh warbler 19 years ago (photo: M O'Keefe)

As if that wasn't enough excitement, I was on my homeward stumble yesterday lunchtime when I came across a huge flock of starlings at Shite Lane. Imagine my surprise when one of them turned out to be a juvenile rosy starling! Managed to get scope views before we lost the bird and it hasn't been seen since. Great to finally get one ON patch, rather than having to count that dubious off-patch pinkish blob at red strand that could have been anything!

And then to top it all off, I scored 11 (count 'em) brent geese this very pm! All to play for!

Tuesday, 29 August 2023

Royzah's Return

 Finally, after much hounding, Royzah (for it is he) has calculated his 2023 patch percentage to date. Sadly its ahead of mine, so that plan backfired somewhat, but thats showbusiness! The dead tap-dancing maestro has been giving it 110% on patch of late, and has had some rewards, in the form of  spotted flycatcher, pied flycatcher, garden warbler, ruff, and golden plover, and to top the lot a fine barred warbler, which turned out to be his 80th one ever (but then again he is ancient).

A visiting poaching bam twitching his barred then slipped a wryneck past him, but that happens to the best of us, specifically me the other day when Old Spoons did exactly the same.

So all the scores in order then, and I think for once even Basil doesn't have any undeclared stuff hidden away.

All to play for as the autumn gets underway...

Tuesday, 22 August 2023

Wader bonanza on the Notsogreat Pool

It's been a while. As is usually the case June and July were quiet affairs with just the four patch ticks in June and two in July.  With returning waders: common sand, greenshank, dunlin and ringo making up the bulk of the total.

The Notsogreatpool is a large, shallow pool in the middle of an ungrazed field.  The water levels fluctuate and typically in July and August it is little more than a patch of dried mud.  Unfortunately, over the years, the pool has lived up to its name and is typically shite and under performs compared to other puddles.  However, with water levels looking perfect the pool is exceeding itself over the last couple of days, with nine species of wader on it including three full fat patch ticks: curlew sand, little stint and LRP.  "Almost Patch Gank" according to Seppy but a reflection on how poor the Notsogreat Pool usually is and how good it could be. 

In addition to these three gems, a couple of adult knot today were only the second record and my first ever autumnal wood sands made up for missing them in May (a definite bonus).

On top of that, a cracking 1st wr Red-backed shrike on Saturday has pushed my total along nicely and shuffles me up to the top of the leader board.

111 species - 92.27%

Happy days


Tuesday, 1 August 2023

Legless on patch...

Breaking news that some poaching b*****d had found a Lesser Yellowlegs down at Squince lagoon earlier in the week had me scrambling to the patch to verify said bird.

Alas, turns out there was nothing but redshank and greenshank in attendance. I checked again the following morning, with similarly unproductive results. 

As luck would have it I bumped into the finder -- who told me exactly where he'd seen the bird -- through "his old binoculars", mind you. Checking said location, there was indeed a lone wader foraging along the small patch of muddy shoreline exactly where he'd had his yellowlegs. Scope views confirmed it was a juv redshank, in spite of every effort to string it into the aforementioned 'legs. 

After yet another scan through the local redshanks I decided enough was enough (there's only so much shank action one can take of a morning, in all fairness) and assigned the yellowlegs to what Seppy likes to call the "One lucky observer" category of finds.

With no yellowlegs in attendance, here's a stock photo of a redshank off the internet for ya, as I couldn't really be arsed looking for one of my own.

Not wanting to leave the patch empty handed, I grudgingly embarked on a short seawatch -- my second in as many weeks, no less -- which yielded Great Shear to add to the Cory's, Storm Petrel and something else tickable I can't quite recall now from last week.

All of which compensatory tickage trundles the score along to a healthy 85.48%. Happy daze!

Cory's Bonanza

 Yes indeedy, the seawatching has been rather good so far this autumn, and I have caught up with veritable truckloads of cory's shearwaters past Galley, along with smaller number of great shearwaters, an epic wilson's petrel, just the one balearic shearwater, a couple of sabine's gulls, three arctic terns, two tysties (scream for me Stevie G) and a rather brief (for me) fea's-type petrel

All this puts me up to pole position too, until Basil remembers some gank that he hasn't year-ticked, or actually goes out and does a proper seawatch himself....

There's not a whole lot left to get on the year-listing front as far as seabirds are concerned, but that won't stop me having another crack if the wind goes south-west again over the next few weeks...

Tuesday, 18 July 2023

Patch Gold Once Again

After weeks of the summer doldrums, I finally thought that I should have a quick scope of the lake this pm, just in case. Imagine my surprise when I saw a tern with an all dark cap sitting on the "beach" with a couple of gulls...

A quick relocation, plus the addition of my glasses from the house and I was back trying to get more on the tern when a coot flew into view and started swimming about - top bobbins year tickage right there! OK they are pretty much annual these days but still.

Back to the tern, but wait, whats that wader approaching the tern? Why its a redshank, which is another year tick, but probably mostly because I'd omitted to tick it back in the winter.

Back to the tern - all dark bill with no yellow tip, no shaggy crest, longish looking dark legs - hmmm, I'm going to need a closer look at this...

Gull-billed Tern, Kilkeran Lake


Amayzing! Full fat patch tickage - just like that! Another large slice of luck cashed in! Coot and Redshank! Ooooooof!

Thursday, 15 June 2023

Bully's Special Prize

 Yes indeedy, it was as if Jim Bowen himself had knocked on the door to tell me a cracking male bullfinch was in the apple tree calling away! I could scarcely believe me ears, but luckily went to check what was calling like a bullfinch, only to see it mere metres away! Unbelievable! Certainly haven't had bullfinch in summer before - we got the odd autumnal one every few years so great to jam in on one today!