Thursday 31 May 2012

Collieston Springtime score

Finally got round to adding up...added Bushvelds Cuckoo...nice one, and finally got the Garganey on patch. Also caught up with a lively Collared Dove.

Worth noting the continued local Little Gull "influx" with a count of 9 1st years in front of the Waulkmill hide and 2 on Meikle at the weekend. Some late evenings at Meikle there has been the spectacular sight of up to 8 Little Gulls mixed in with many BH Gulls hawking over the loch.

Total 122, or 77.05%


Wednesday 30 May 2012

Ton up in Wanstead

Although the patch has been largely torpid, a few of final 'expecteds' have made themselves known - a Common Sandpiper, almost mega again. We should have had a few in the spring, but this is the first. Then a returning Reed Warbler, they bred in the same spot last year, but are extremely late back, and then this morning two Common Terns fishing in the Park. I'm no mathmo, but that takes me to 100, and I believe just scrapes me into pole position.

Have been getting ominous sounding tweets from Seppy though, giving it large. Given some of the outrageous recent interpretation of getting birds on the patch list at vast range, surely it's time for some patch-line technology? I can see Seppy being more than willing....

onwards and upwards...slowly

A few more fine species since my last posting, with a fine long-eared owl perched at a base of a pine, a drake garganey from the house and a couple of sightings of a cuckoo.  Although long-eared owls and garganey are more-or-less predictable, cuckoos are a lot more tricky so a fine one for the year.

With the weather still looking good for a while longer yet and still a good number of regulars to be found, hopefully there'll be a late spring surge to carry us over 'til the autumn.



Happy days

no sign of the usual May slump

Still bangin them in here regular as clockwork! Over de weekend I managed a heard-only off-patch water rail i.e. i heard it from me patch plus some shenanagins with scoping (very) distant doves netted me a fine brace of turtles, while just yesterday mistle thrush did the decent thing and gave itself up without a struggle. Never been this high before so early in da year - approx 2 months ahead of where I should be! Golden Mallard you'll be heading home I'd say!

Thursday 24 May 2012

Springtime in Collieston

Great run of Easterlies last few days brings more hope for the weekend. A few migs in so far, best of it being a female Red-Breasted Flycatcher in the roadside willows. My first Spring record of this in NES. Picked up from my front garden whilst eating dinner, which is always a great way to bird. Got some  shots of it at 5.30 the next morning, but it was surprisingly elusive. Also gave me a shock when it emerged first thing from a presumed bathe in the stream (or prehaps just a damp hedge) looking grey and cold in plumage tones... still shows pale lower mandible and dark brownish upper tail coverts however. Can always hope I suppose.
House Martin at Cransdale last weekend picking up mud, and the Pied Wagtail at Slains pools.
Drake Garganey at Slains as well today, just off patch limits.
Still to get the patch total sorted for the last few weeks, should be alright I think.

Saturday 19 May 2012

ton up

with a long overdue patch tick, a flyover osprey.

puts me on 77.82%

Tuesday 15 May 2012

mid-table mediocrity

More Norwich City than Man City the season plods on.

Its been a while since my last post as there's been little of interest in the patch.  Mostly the usual summer migrants but still plenty of gap fillers to be had.

Highlights over the last month have been the two cranes which, according to Google Earth were about 2 km away when viewed from safely within the patch (A full fat patch tick).  Other notables include a fine collared dove in the garden (A full fat garden tick) and also a bean goose seen safely from the kitchen window and yet another fine garden tick.

The seawatching has been neglected over the last month, which is never a sensible thing to do as its always a good way to get the odd bonus bird or two.  This morning it was a great northern diver flying south and a pair of velvet scoter.  The velvet scoter are annual and easy enough but great northern diver is one of those species tagged with the "it should be annual' badge but often are not.

There's been a bit of wader passage with a few dunlin (a species I missed last year) and an early green sand,  occasional whimbrel flying over and a few golden plover dropping in.

All fine birds up 'til now, but as for this weekend.

Could be make or break time for the season as the winds drift east south east on Friday there's going to be some more birds to be had.

Total for the year stands at 111!


Happy days



An insect bonanza yesterday evening resulted in a stack of swift, house martin and a sand martin. No red rumpers though. Not as good as what Reg has managed recently, but they bring me to 93.33% (70)

Saturday 12 May 2012

It's no Atlas Fly...

Enough happening still round the patch in the last week or so.A new patch bird being 2 Cranes today was the greatest excitement. Plenty of Wheatears to look through, with a good variety of other commoner migs: Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler. Swifts arrived late at Meikle, with the first I saw being the beginning of this week. In the past I have had them the 1st or 2nd May. Best other mig is a male Pied Fly(or is it??), found on Wednesday, it is still present. This is actually a bit of a spring rarity in last few years in Collieston so made sure I got some photos. Happy to say I can rule out Atlas Flycatcher without the help of DNA!...maybe

Wednesday 9 May 2012

ooo waders

Galley is pretty crap for waders. This is mainly cos it isn't an estuary, its a headland. So a flock of 16 bar-tailed godwits high-tailing it south over the house this eve was pretty good. Well worth getting wet socks for, certainly. Though why they were going south is anyone's guess - probly to do with large circles or something - or is that only off Flamborough?

Tuesday 8 May 2012

reeling them in....


A second hand gropper at the battery this morning, along with a first hand whinchat, and good numbers of common migs all over the place. It feels like spring at last.

Monday 7 May 2012

Swanning about

The non-stop patch-birding rollercoaster is gathering speed. The weekend brought bankers in the form of Arctic and Common Tern and Sedge Warbler and also three useful, not quite annual, building blocks. Moorhen has bred on ponds within the hallowed ground at least twice but is sporadic in appearance and was missed entirely last year so one on the pools at the extreme north of the patch (potentially suitable breeding habitat) was welcome indeed. Ten southbound Little Terns might have been a patch record flock but with so many patch stats to remember, I'm just not sure. Most bizarre of all was an immature Mute Swan floating very distantly northwards out to sea among the shipping lanes.

These six additions move the total to 90 species (=71.43%). Three species behind same time last year.


Just thought i'd pop in...

...and say hello.

Formalities first, I'm on 93 species/72.32%.

It's been a strange but ultimately rewarding spring so far. Strange in that until very recently, lots of things that are usually common have been in pretty short supply. Phylloscs are down by about a half, sand martins have been none existent until this weekend, and until the Nor'westerners started moving through, wheatears were thin on the ground too.

That hasn't stopped the more interesting stuff though, with a couple of rouzels, common and black redstart, and wryneck being good spring birds. Lots of airgrab enducing patch ubergank as well, like collared dove, rook, shelduck etc...

One thing I wasnt expecting was a swan goose/greylag hybrid on a seawatch. Surely counts as two species. I think the circumstances are excellent for the swan goose bit to be wild too.

I hope to be round more often, especially as as of next week I will start working on patch. No stopping me now, and all that jazz.


Sunday 6 May 2012

ducking responsibilities

Last week was all about the spring migs. Even up till Fri pm when I snuck out for a quick look at shite and scored spot fly, plus jammed sanderling on de way home. This weekend has all been about ducks on the lake! 4 tufties there yesterday was bettered by 5 tufties & 2 pochard today, only to be superceded by 4 tufties, 2 pochard and 1 scaup once i'd worked out what i should be stringing! Missed spot fly, scaup & pochard last year so thats a triple whammy breakback! Also just realised that I omitted pheasant up till now - score! All of which means that 109 (on which I am now on) is my highest ever total by this date, beating my record breaking 2010 score by 2 species & 3 days!! Impressed? I was!

Thats Entertainment!

Entertaining times about the Collieston and Ythan area. Still to see the 3 Glossy Ibis, but caught up with the Greater Yellowlegs as it relocated.
Patchwise there has been reasonable movement through though common migs only recorded. Spotted Fly was quite early for the patch a few days ago, plenty of Chiff-Chaffs and Willow Warblers to look through.
A handful of Ring Ouzel have also been highlights.

The Cranes were just off patch, a week ago, and with Great Grey Shrike near Don Mouth recently there has been plenty to keep me looking.

Thursday 3 May 2012

Busy few days

Finally got Sand Martin a few days ago, roughly four weeks later than usual. Had hoped to crack into 90% and retain the lead but a shocker from Kent means I bump back to second spot. Yellow Wag this morning, again much later than I would have hoped, but it's now into the difficult period where most of the regulars are safely utb, and I'm not quite sure where the next tick will come from. Garden Warbler and Common Tern probably the next up, after that who can say?


Migs at last

At last some decent mig action here too - Wood Warbler, Redstart, Spot Fly, Common Sand, Yellow Wagtail, Cuckoo, Tree Pipit and Garden Warbler have all fallen in the last few days - just 1 behind the same time last year now

Tuesday 1 May 2012

3.5 hours of mental mig fun at Galley

Wow! Never seen Galley so hooching with migrants! They were everywhere! willow warbler dripping off every hedge! amayzing! 8 species of warbler! 8 year ticks! One full fat patch tick - GARDEN WARBLER!! At feckin last! Nailed reed warbler, redstart, whinchat, lesser whitey - all of which are tricky and missable, plus whitethroat, swift and manxie - woohoo!

Update - forgot to include ringo so thats 100 for the year! Game on!