Saturday 31 March 2012

More 'tails!

Collieston update:
Not much time in the field last week or so, but managed to squeeze in a female Black Redstart (no eastern genes unfortunately) last weekend. Still lots of geese in the area, most doing their best to denude the newly sown fields.Short-eared Owls popping up every so often. No extended chances to look at the sea, but will have a chance later today hopefully.
Best bird of the period, and a new patch bird for me was a reasonable looking pure-blood Hooded Crow flying over the back of Cotehill.
Total: 87, or 56.37% patch average
Well done to Ciaron on the Bluetail...what a cracking spring bird!

Thursday 29 March 2012

more movement through the crease

What with all the excitement of bluetails, I've clean forgot to declare all the other stuff I've been seeing! Best of the rest was male ring ouzel from the upstairs jax window as I went to pee! Then brambling (unseasonal and tricky - not annual), redpoll, shelduck and sand martin - its all go!

Wednesday 28 March 2012

No bluetails but migs

No bluetails at the white cliffs of dover but some migs all the same, inc. the first swallows, wheatears and sandwich terns. More useful in the long run though for the year was avocet. Patch gank too in canada goose. Should be properly getting going soon though.

Monday 26 March 2012

red-flanked bluetail on my patch!!!

Woohoo! All courtesy of "old spoons" cronin - he da man! I verified it tho, and it is one! Corking!

Monday 19 March 2012

A good brace

Two not exactly heart-stopping birds this week but useful to get under the belt (as both are not quite annual); a 1st-w Little Gull last Wednesday and a Bar-wit yesterday.

Fulmar and Lesser Black-back are signs of the times too.

Less good news is that it seems that I am about to loose a smallish patch of the patch with a super-big security fence going up around a part of Millden Links, at the northern end. I guess it's got something to do with the adjacent landfill site, or weapons testing, or just keeping birders out.

69 species (54.76%)

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Migs rather than megas

They're back! Two (count 'em) male wheatears this very am at Galley - the first in the next-door field to the usual wheatear field - maybe they don't like carrots? Anyway, they were cracking, despite the lack of hoopoes accompanying them! A chiff in the garden later was more evidence of miggery, but wasn't a year tick - had 1 back in Jan. Two common scoters from the patio yesterday courtesy of "Old Spoons" were most welcome too. Game on!

Monday 12 March 2012

Megas rather than migs

Short-toed Treecreeper and Kumlein's Gull since the last update which cannot be bad. A few Firecrests, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs around but some at least have over-wintered. Still awaiting a proper summer mig such as Sand Martin, Swallow or Wheatear but it can't be long now. The total chuggs on to 68.74% and STT was (not unsurprisingly) a full patch tick - number 213.

Still no migrants, but a patch tick

Been flogging the patch of late, up at 5.40am, gets earlier every day. Not a sniff of a migrant, however a patch tick in the form of a pair of Mandarins takes me closer to 75%. 27 species to go to 100%. You'll be the first to know.

Once Christmas is over, typically early March round these parts, just chuck the fucker in the local pond.

taking stock

Five hours in the field over the weekend produced no migs but a brace of stock doves instead - happy days! And the payback continues - just had a nice male merlin - all good!

Saturday 10 March 2012

First Puffins

The first few puffins have arrived in the area, also had a 1st Year Med Gull during the week on Meikle. The muck spreading in local fields is attracting a good gull roost. The odd Bean Goose still pops up in the local pinkies, had one today near Meikle as well.
Puts me at 85 for the year, and 55.08%
Pictures of Long-tailed Ducks from Cruden Bay today

Friday 9 March 2012

For Whitney

Been honest, I've not been near the patch until yesterday, we've been grieving, we lost one of our own. I haven't been able to bring myself to write about it and share the pain. I'm sure you've all lost family, someone close to you, snatched away in their prime, you understand how much it hurts. I've talked to Oprah and done a dozen other chat shows as my therapist recommended and I just hope that getting back in the birding saddle is going to help me come to terms with the huge loss of someone that played such a big part in my life. I'm dedicating the rest of this here patch competition, or at least my effort in it to the memory of Whitney - our goldfish.

I remember when we first saw Whitney, swimming happily with an Irish tinker named Gypsy Cissy May, she just stood out as so different, a shining beacon of light amongst the dirty squalor and blatant commercialism of the local fair. What's all this got to do with patch birding I here you ask? Well yesterday three weeks to the day we found her floating in the bowl I laid her to rest in a special place just beyond the sewage outfall. Afterwards I took a wander on the patch and I swear Whitney was saving all her love for me.

First up a Grey Wagtail, hopping around the rocks of the Church Pool and that there gay bobbing little bundle of colour just dried up all them tears, Praise the lord. I looked over the pool and it was like all of God's creations were right there in front of me, or at least a few ducks were, so Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Wigeon and best of all a couple a couple of genuine migratory Barnacle Geese!
After spending a little time searching through a big gull flock and a few dozen alba wagtails dancing like angels on the sods of earth I headed home but not before a couple of Mistle Thrushes flew across and stood like Bodyguards on a nearby tree. Sleep well Whitney.

Monday 5 March 2012

still nae migs

Nowt to report this weekend but did forget to declare a fine sparrowhawk from last thurs - just enough to retake 5th spot 0.01% ahead of bushy - happy days!


We decided to keep a low profile this weekend and avoid the authograph hunters, so we spent time on the patch. Like Statto our hearts were filled with the joys of spring, with the first lesser black backed and two pairs of oystercatchers back on the breeding territiries. We'll have chiffchaff within the week we reckon.


Sunday 4 March 2012

Let there be coockoos, a lark and a duck

...with apologies to Nat King Cole.

Okay too early for cuckoos but Statto's young heart was filled with spring joy at the Skylarks' song. And two good ducks provided even greater joy - a Shelduck and 2 Goosander, both almost but not quite annual. What with Gannet, Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer too, the year list marches on to 65 (=51.59%) and propels me three places up to 4th, at least until Bushveld, Seppy and Captain Haddock update their scores anyway.


Thursday 1 March 2012

Early Crossbill but no duck

A nice early Crossbill - fairly sure I've not had a February one before, but still awaiting the arrival of the fabulous golden mallard. Should have appeared by now one would have thought?

Collieston News

Thought it was time to update again. A good few weeks with Bean Goose being a completely new patch bird for me, and year additions that have included Short-eared Owl, Barn Owl,Glaucous Gull, Brent Goose(a flock of pale bellied birds at Cransdale), Barnacle Goose and Scaup. Eagerly awaiting the first Goldcrest of the spring!
During the Humpback excitement also saw Bonxie, Pom and Arctic skuas at different times, a first for this time of year for me.
Build up of Red-Throats on the sea, but still no Great Northern, which has eluded me for nearly 2 years now.
Continue to see the odd Iceland Gull round the patch, all 2W,...not certain how many different birds have been involved.
Total now at 83, which is an average of 53.78%
One of the number of Short-eared Owls in the area.