Monday 30 April 2012

Breaking News - Golden Mallard turns up in Haddockland

It would seem that the Post Office, or perhaps the said recipient of the Golden Mallard Award was totally bamboozled by a package addressed to Shakin' Stevens at his home address, and returned to Cap'n Haddock marked 'Not known at this address or not collected', some two months after posting!

Should I try and send it again?


A barn owl on Saturday night was a full patch tick, and brings to patch list to a massive 89. I may break the ton someday next decade, but I'll just keep plodding away until then. Other stuff brings me to 84.00%. After the red kite just off the patch on saturday I had a wryneck just off the patch at Barns Ness on Sunday. Stuff does happen in Lothian, contrary to popular opinion. Procs with nocs

windy but

still very windy but a hatful of offerings to be gleaned for the persistant: sedgie, gropper, collared dove (yes boy!) and a cracking cuckoo - only me 5th ever! gettin up there!

Saturday 28 April 2012


Well after best part of two weeks away carrying out investigations into whether there is any truth in Captain Haddock's suggestion that Heerman;s Gulls are finer than Med Gulls, I returned today looking forward to a run of migrant additions. There was standard fayre in the form of Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler and Wheatear but far nicer were a couple of fine Rouzel-douzels on the Rifle Range:

And then - big bonus, when adding up my scores on the big spreadsheet of Satto's stats, I noticed no fewer than five more species that I had omitted to add in recent weeks. The joy was like finding a forgotten £20 note in a pair of jeans that have been in the wash pile for a few months.

Now 84 species (= 66.67%)


not quite

A red kite this afternoon from the car was just a couple of miles from the patch. I could have got it if I had been up the hill. Oh well, there is always tomorrow. Profs

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Swift skirmish

Quick trip to the post office during a break in the weather netted 15 House Martin, 5 Swallow, and best of all, 2 Swift. Some patch stattery for you, first Swifts in 2009 and 2010 were also on April 25th. To say it has been slow here is a massive understatement.


Friday 20 April 2012

bits 'n' bobs

A few bits to report but nothing startling - sarnie, willow warbler, blackcap, yellowhammer etc - keepin me afloat anyway

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Shear class

Well plenty migrants here, which is one of the advantages of dwelling in the south, but now what we wants is rares. I suppose one could argue that today's Manxies fall into that category (being my first for 4 years! - Galley Head this aint) but they don't quite cut it.

Recent additions include Arctic Skua, House Martin, Sand Martin, Hobby, Ring Ouzel, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler and Whimbrel. Enough to get me to the top of the chart for the first time this year.

Monday 16 April 2012

'ear 'ear

Big news from Boghall as I made it above the moorland wall for the first time in months - Two pairs of wheateras have taken up residence in the normal spot, and a pair of raven around too. No wonder this red grouse was in a hurry:

60 or 80%

Three ducks in a row

I have been enjoying a little run of valuable ducks on the patch for the last two weeks. A red-breasted merganser was very tasty, and a long-tailed duck expected but still quite handy. Then a mega (for me) on Sunday was a drake Tufty on the sea. Also had a Knot fly north as well.

Still no spring migrants for me - sounds like a familiar tale for those of us up north.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Snow on the Med

Dodging the snow showers this afternoon was a Med Gull - surely the finest of all gulls. The 5th for Blackdog and second April running.

Short-eared Owls much in evidence recently - one today but three on Wednesday evening. Still no proper migrants except Sandwich Tern.

74 species (=58.73%)


Wednesday 11 April 2012

spring is almost sprung

Well it is if you count chiffchaff as the first migrant of the year. But a little gull from the kitchen window and ring ouzel from the back door are two good birds and new for the house list.

As for that scaup, which was incidentally also in the kitchen, it managed to escape the cooking pot but I'm still hopeful for a long distance ringing recovery...

A few earlier species that I'd forgotten about including goldcrest and shoveler moves my nicely past the ol' bill onto 91 species and 58.96%

Happy days



3 Wheatear, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Swallow and 1 male Common Redstart in a whirlwind tour of the Flats this morning. There are few birds better than a male Common Redstart in Spring - which I think may have started.


Tuesday 10 April 2012


Just a quick one from me, been quite busy with my comedy career, as usual. The patch has been dead. D E A D. I've not seen a Sand Martin yet, nor a Swallow, and Willow Warbler remains the stuff of dreams. I fear my long ride at numero uno could be about to end, more's the pity. Unless I get some migrants soon, and lots of 'em, I'll have to find something else for the gap I had prepared above the fireplace. Ho hum. The standout piece of good news has been finding two Ring Ouzels on the patch, which frankly have flown (and they did!) in the face of an otherwise dire spring. Things, as they say, can only get better.


Bog trawl

It has been a while since I last wrote anything of note, and a quick check down the list of recent additions indicates that a fair bit has changed. In addition to a build up of stuff (tawny owl, greylags lost in fog, grey heron), the weekend proved fruitful after a couple of weeks in Kenya. Having seen scores just the week before in acacia trees, i notched up a sining willow warbler in a cold, bare ash tree. Given that we have just built a garden pond, i am looking forward to recording my first migrant hippo in it.
Otherwise, chiffchaffs and tree sparrows have also returned, with a tree sparrow prospecting in a tit nest box (despite our buying a dedicated tree sparrow des res for the ungrateful things). Nothing in the hand (or indeed pot), so perhaps i need to move to Cotehill.

All in all, 76%. I bet that will make Mr Stevens in Folkestone shake a bit.

Back end of winter

Not quite such good close-up views as Bushveld's pet duck (by the way, what did it taste like?) but as the final throw of the wintry dice of fate, 22 northbound Whoopers on Sunday were nonetheless appreciated. Whooper was new to the patch in 2010 but has now turned up three years running.

Collared Dove the previous weekend was good (can be tricky). Stock Dove and Sandwich Tern were bankers - no other proper migrants yet.

73 Species (=57.94%)


Saturday 7 April 2012

Its been a while...

Not had much to add over the last few weeks with no birds of any particular note. The first sand martins today and lesser black-backed gull during the week. A snipe flushed and a few other bits and pieces which I've long since forgotten about.

Best bird recently was this adult female scaup!


Happy Days