Thursday, 7 January 2021

And the anser is

 white fronted geese - two of them on our patch this lunchtime with a flock of 19 greylags. Boom - first full fat patch tick of the year, and not a bad record for Lothian either. No photos unfortunately as we didn't have scope or camera with us, and they were flushed by the time we'd nipped back to the recording studio for them. That and brambling and tawny owl takes up to 48 species, which is 59.5%

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

And the winner is...

The votes are in, counted, re counted and checked again because you just can't be too safe, and we have a winner. Bonaparte's gull has taken Ol' Snowy for Seppy at Galley. This also means that Ol' Snowy remains at Galley for the third year (FFS), saving anyone a trip to the post office. Bonaparte's gull is no stranger to winning either, having previously won on Blackdog in the days before Statto was driven south. 

Some votes yesterday

Thanks to everyone who voted, although some of you do need to get out more (would rather find a quail over a Baird's sandpiper or a Blyth's reed warbler?) We specially thank those who voted two or even three times - you know who you are, and we've a fair idea too...  #StopTheCount

Friday, 1 January 2021

Sunshine near Leith

 2020 has been a weird old year, with nothing weirder than the Proclaimers emerging as top of the heap and winning the Golden Mallard hands down! Here's the final 2020 scoreboard for yer scrutiny...

A scoreboard yesterday....

The Shakey King of Kent managed to keep himself in 2nd place in the last month of the challenge, while Bushveld, winner from the last two years had to content himself with 3rd place on the podium. His combined three year target for this year must be about 360 species so shurely he'll be found languishing in last place this time next year! he said sportingly....

Anyway - all to play for once again....

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Breaking records but no prizes

 It's been a while since I last posted anything and Seppy has been on my back asking for demanding an update.  The problem being is that there's not been much to say.

November brought in another four patch ticks for the year, the best of the bunch being a long-eared owl caught and ringed.  Since then I've managed another two long-ears, two short-ears and a few barn owls.  

My few attempts at sea watching have proven fruitless aside from eider, which are usually got in January.  A snow bunting on the 1st November is less than annual on the patch, so a bit of a bonus bird and great spotted woodpecker is also less than annual and a species during late summer and early autumn, so I thought I'd missed it for the year.  

The woodpecker was my 125th species of the year, my highest ever total.

Since the end of November a dawning realisation has crept over me and acceptance that the mallard would be off to pastures new (or a recording studio) and the six species I still need to get in order to avoid the inevitable just ain't going to happen.

I've been stuck on 125 for over a month now and 111.01%

Happy days


Thursday, 3 December 2020

Golden days

As with Derek, Tintin and many others, restrictions means we have spent much more time on patch this year. We are at it pretty much every day, and as a pished man once opined, "don't look, don't find". And so it was we found ourselves at the furthest reaches of our patch late on Sunday afternoon as a GOLDEN PLOVER flew over. Full fat patch tick, even if not as impressive as WFG or crag martin (hats off, chaps). I've had big flocks just off patch before when I've been off patch too, but this is the first on patch. This effort brings us to an all time record 91 species in one year, which is 116.17% of previous three years. 28 days to get nine species to break to 100 might be a bit of an ask though, but happy to break 90.

The scene of the find on Sunday just after golden plover flew over. Photo: photographer's own

Monday, 30 November 2020

Dedication's what you need

I'm a record breaker! Late morning I took a break from session comedy and wandered down to the local lake to find a White-fronted Goose. There have been stragglers all over the south-east so I felt quietly confident. Needless to say I returned empty-handed. As soon as I got back from the most distant pond on the patch I was sent a message to say that there was a White-fronted Goose there. Gah!! Shurely shome mishtake? With time even more severely against me that my prior visit I resorted to my bicycle and raced back. And sure enough, galling though it was, there was WFG floating around on the pond. Don't ask me as I just don't know. I would like to think that if I was specifically looking for a WFG that I wouldn't look straight through a WFG, but stranger things have happened....

Photo by J Heal, my recording engineer

But why am I a record-breaker? Well, this little Russian goose is species 119 for the patch this year, eclipsing by one my previous record set way back in 2013. Unbelievably this is only just good enough for a podium place in 2020, bloody Crag Martins, and I remain quite worried that Seppy is going to spend December bribing local birders to release yet more rare wildfowl on the lake behind his gaff....


Saturday, 28 November 2020


 Might be my last year tick of 2020 but if so a fine one to sign off on and bring up my highest total since 2012 of 109.37%. A county first but more importantly a full fat patch tick...