Thursday 30 June 2011

At last - a decent bird

Didn't realise it had been so long since I had posted anything, 2nd of May apparently. So here's the update starting with me star bird ................little egret up by the bridge yesterday morning. Seppy will be suppressing a yawn at this point as they're ten a penny in his neck of the woods. However, for me it's a full fat patch tick and it's been a long time coming. Other bits I've gleaned since the last update are great northern diver,arctic skua, garden warbler, puffin, dunlin, whitethroat, sedge warbler and surf scoter. I have been searching for the Blackdog biggies in the hope that they might drift into the patch eventually.

Anyway, all of this puts me on 82.08%.


Tuesday 28 June 2011

Please can I have a bigger patch?

Dear Mr. Blatter,

As one who is known for his sense of fair play and ability to compromise, please can I formally request of you that my patch be extended under rule 3.2, subsection 46? Specifically I would like to include an extension southwards of just a measly few hundred metres and it need only be as wide as the footpath along the top of the dunes, thus still keeping me within the 2 square km limit agreed previously in the all party discussions.

If you feel able to acquiesce to my request, can it be backdated to 8pm last night? The reason for this request is simply that it forms a more natural unit to cover and has nothing to do with this:

I would, of course, honour your approval by naming the extension as the Sepp Blatter Annex as well as asking the kind people at the Murcar Golf Course to grant you life membership.

Yours in anticipation,


Friday 24 June 2011

Patch listing

I visited 6 of the patches involved in this challenge yesterday - is this a record for the year, and do I win a prize?
In the process I scored the duck which I must admit was uninspiring. I was rather glad of the rather fuzzy images available on the web as I may have overlooked it otherwise. I also failed to avoid a couple of the drake surfies, and then went on the year tick Elvis III. After all that excitement I came back and had a quick squizz at my patch, but did not see any ducks at all.

Monday 20 June 2011

Off the patch :-))

The White-winged Scoter is now officially OFF THE PATCH. It started out visible from the southern annex of the Blackdog patch but has now moved down the coast a few hundred metres and, if it continues at this rate, will be on the cards for T2006 and Roy Castle. As most folks now park at the golf course, maybe peace will once again descend on my birdless little corner of Scotland.

However I did trudge down to pay my respects again at the weekend. A fly-by white-winged gull was called by some as Iceland. I barely got on to it before it disappeared around the bend. Later I re-found it well and truly on the patch and this was it:

However, after remarkably eluding me (or me being blind) up to now, Common Tern landed on the year list, bringing up the ton, at 80.86%. Not many out and out bankers left - the only ones that come to mind are Bonxie, Grey Wag and Redwing.

Oh and the first for Britain did show rather better off the patch (did I mention it is not at Blackdog any longer? - nothing to see here, please move along!) on Sunday evening than during preceding days apparently.


Saturday 18 June 2011

The curse of an on-site mega

Nice as it is to have a first for Britain loitering on the patch, it has the real drawback of revealing what the lazy patchworker has been failing to find. Up to three potential patch ticks were reported this week as well as at least one other patch year tick (Osprey). Actually I am choosing to only believe one of the potential patch-ticks; a Quail flished from the edge of the golf course. One of the others, Black Scoter, was reported as a possible (and whilst it is odds on to occur at some time there are some really rather yellow-billed Commons out there). The third species, Black-throated Diver, is a mythical creature in this area and chooses only to reveal itself to those with sufficiently open minds and well-developed imaginations.

Swift last Monday moved the year list to 99 species (80.05%) but I have once again neglected Blackdog since by doing a few days in Sutherland and enjoying a pine marten fest in the process (thee sightings - two singles and two together). Back now and really should get out there in the rain and continue the flogging.


Monday 13 June 2011

a duck

Well it is not every day that a potential first for Britain appears on one's patch. Better still, it is, of course, a patch tick. And even better - a patch year list challenge year tick. As with Seppy's Turtle Dove, this one took some proper birders to find (Chris, Hywel and Paul) and, given that next to nothing is published on identifying 1st-summer male White-winged Scoters, it was a helluva find indeed. Here are some impressionist interpretations of what it looks like:

Such is the degree to which my neglect of Blackdog has been over recent weeks that Surf Scoter was new for the year too. However, it was not all birds found by others. On Saturday 2 Collared Doves on the edge of the village was a 100% self-found building block patch year tick - no-one can take that find away from me! Manxie on a brief visit a few days ago and the year list is now on 79.25% (98 species).


Friday 10 June 2011

Banking on it

Sand martin on Tuesday evening was an astonishing patch tick. Astonishing because it could be considered overdue, but then again there is no suitable breeding areas on the patch, and they don't stray for from nests to forage.

I'd rather have been in Hartlepool though. Who went from Aberdeen?

Monday 6 June 2011

Slowly, slowly

Finally saw a kestrel in the village on Friday evening, and a bonxie on a seawatch on Sunday, so things moving along very slowly.

I'm gonna be doing stuff on my boat (yeah, the one with a hole in the side, no engine and no trailer to launch it with. Thinks my patch list isn't going to progress much over the next couple of months.

Sunday 5 June 2011

puffin at last

A very quiet spell with no patch ticks for a couple of weeks forced me to do a bit of sea-watching. Usually a complete and utter waste of time but a trio of patch birds in the form Arctic skua, Manxie and at long last ... puffin. A little tern would be nice so I'll keep going.

Good news is that the my tally now moves up to a whopping 65.61%. Ahead of Reg...

Happy days


Quaility, mate!

Not the quality of red rumper, but a good record for the balladeers of Boghall: quail calling and seen yesterday. A first for Boghll, and a possible entry for best find. I'll pop out leter today to see if I can make it two in a row.

Nothing else around beyond puffins and manxies at aberlady.

Thursday 2 June 2011

St Kilda exile

Heinous crimes against humanity saw the T-2006 exiled to St Kilda for a week.

Kilda itself had been carpet bombed with rares in recent weeks, 2 Purple Herons, a Night Heron (on one of Boreray's stacks), 3 American Wigeons and a Yellow Wag, none of which hung around for the man-machines visit.

However, you can't keep an unfeeling lump of metal down. So it was with something akin to what you humans call 'glee' that the T-2006 turned up a female Surf Scoter (3rd Kilda record) and a female Common Rosefinch (less than 5? records although some are multiple sightings). The latter was initially spotted from the Puff Inn whilst topping up the fuel cells. Unfortunately, the T-2006 also found the scoter dead on the rocks the next day and so it now resides in the NTS freezer awaiting the day when human technology can reanimate her.

Disappointingly, the Snowy Owl had not been seen for a month.

Ah well, back to the patch now. Brain the size of a planet etc. ....


Damn rabbits

Garden tick eh! Vermin do not count though (no matter how cute a picture you post) and you can have our bloody rabbits any day, Seppy. They have gnawed through the netting over our strawberries and are happily eating the fruit. They have also done for some sunflowers.

I only post this as I have not added anything new to the patch list since the June doldrums began in mid May. I did manage to score a fine hobby from a window at the HQ of a large bird conservation NGO yesterday though. Just a shame it does not count for the patch list, but a good year tick.

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Long live El Presidente!

Great news that I've been kept on as unopposed president of FIFA yet again! Needless to say, the cheque's in the post, boys! Rest assured my dedication to the Patch Challenge will not be affected by me footballing duties.

This appeared in the garden this lunchtime - garden tick no less. Presume its ok to count it?