Tuesday 31 December 2013
It started badly with one of my main birding footpaths being ploughed meant my regular patch walk with the dog was ruined and means the only way to get around the main patch sites is rather unsatisfactory by car. This dampened any enthusiasm for working the patch which following the spring petered out to a totally couldn't be arsed feeling. Not helped by the 'ol bill pulling in the goodies week in week out topped by the brown shrike which was a fantastic find.
So the end of a disappointing year I managed a meagre 145 species and 93.19%.
And a big Congratulation to Reg a superb year for him and a superb list of excellent finds.
Well done Reg….
Elsewhere, Royzah has declared on 96.5% - a reasonable effort considering he's dead.
Bushveld is threatening to update the blog but in case he doesn't, he's finished on 92.0% - disappointing after winning the snowy owl last year.
Reg is still winning. Both trophies. No-one has done that before. The Bollix.
Still a chance of a change on the 3rd podium position, with Kevin Costner done but as yet undeclared - we'll have to wait till after 5.30 pm apparently...
Meanwhile Derek Nimmo is out scouring Wanstead in the rain for a bullfinch, or a redpoll or an american robin. Or else he's gone to the pub. Sauce.
Tune in later to see how it all turned out!
The good news is that a similar total next year would give me 100.5%, having finally shaken off the burden of a high-scoring year just prior to joining this esteemed contest (the original and the best as a marketing person might say).
Monday 30 December 2013
Outstanding! That takes me to 106.67% for the year, leapfrogging me into third spot... and onto the podium. It all hangs on tomorrow!
Thursday 26 December 2013
Tuesday 24 December 2013
First up was a male stonechat -- my first on patch since the big freeze of winter 2009, then driving back after an emergency Christmas beer run to Skibbereen this evening a long eared owl flew across the road in front on the car.
Puts me on 105.45%, just shy of a podium place with a week to go. Game (still) on!
Sunday 8 December 2013
Monday 2 December 2013
Wednesday 20 November 2013
|Oooof! Boom! etc etc|
Monday 18 November 2013
Just realised, I still need Tree Sparrow for the year - myaybe its time to lurk around the village gardens.
Now on 125, equal to the 2012 final total.
Monday 4 November 2013
Only my second little egret on patch... they're tricky enough up here... to take me to 103.03%. So, still in 4th place, but achingly close to a podium place again.
All to play for!
Friday 1 November 2013
First up, a stonking med gull fly-over from the garden while letting out the girls' guinea pigs (originally purchased to bait in buzzard and white tailed eagle... but no luck so far). First ever on patch... so a great one to score.
Then a female yellowhammer down the lane and a common gull on the ludicrously unproductive lake... pushing my running total to a non-too-shabby 100.61%... so back up into fourth place with a podium finish still a distant possibility.
Unlikely, it's true... but hey, aim high they say.
Tuesday 29 October 2013
Tuesday 22 October 2013
"It's been a good year" he says....
Sunday 20 October 2013
My, what a big bulging crop you've got...
And then, bloody Michellin Man in a spacesuit and IRA-style balaclava at the north end.
Still, a few final certs and a bonus fly-over Yellow Wag (2nd for the patch) bring the total to an underwhelming 122 (=94.57%).
Wednesday 16 October 2013
I finally lugged the scope up there on a clear, cold morning last week.
After looking for a while to get my eye in I managed to bag gannet -- little (as in far away) white birds wheeling on mass, plunging towards the water and making a splash that caught the sunlight.
This shot was digiscoped on-patch with my mobile phone hand-held to the scope eyepiece (ahem!), honest guv'nor!
Important thing is gannet puts me at 96.97% -- still moving in the right direction, and falling behind more sedately than I'd expected, given the time of year. It's also such an epic tick for this little patch of mine that I've added it as an "honorouble mention" to the "best finds" list.
A quick stats update - ybw is 142 for the year, which is my 2nd highest total ever, after 149 in 2012 and 141 in 2010. 145 should be reasonably gettable I'd say with gank like pochard, scaup & goldeneye still to come, with any luck!
Tuesday 15 October 2013
Sunday 13 October 2013
A quick peruse of whats left available, and it is technically possible to hit a new record of 150 (9 species required, but need nowt rarer than yellow-browed warbler to do this) - however, even if such a mammoth achievement was er achieved, this would only leave me on 104.90%, so lookin unlikely to be able to claim the top spot this year, especially if Reg continues his meteoric form. Oh yes, Mr Nimmo, don't be restin up there thinkin you're home & hosed - Reg has a good few he ain't declared since el shrike browno I think so he's the one to beat!
Saturday 12 October 2013
Friday 11 October 2013
Sunday 6 October 2013
All good... but none of which helps my on-patch tally one iota.
As luck would have it though a fly by flock of a dozen or so knot this evening does. First time on patch... and the second patch-tick wader of the autumn.
Puts me on 95.76% -- and, crucially, still in touch with Seppy in the Irish patch race!
|A black tern yesterday [Copyright Old Spoons]|
|A marsh harrier yesterday [Copyright Old Spoons]|
Wednesday 2 October 2013
Which reminds me -- finally had wheatear on patch a couple of weeks ago. I'd practically given up on them when there it was... hopping around the edge of a freshly ploughed field with a mob of meadow pippits.
78 species... 94.55%... back up to fourth, and first of the Irish patches... at least until Seppy gets around to inputting his redstart.
Monday 30 September 2013
Saturday 28 September 2013
See http://colliestonbirding.blogspot.co.uk/ for a bit of an account of the fun.
The winds still in the SE as well, so could be more to come tomorrow.
Off to have a glass of wine and a bit of a rest.
Thursday 26 September 2013
PS Just realised I forgot to tick common tern from the other day - 4th place beckons!
Here's a few dodgy distant digi-scoped ducks and things from recent days:
Monday 16 September 2013
Undoubted highlight of the autumn so far was Greenish Warbler on 25 August. Admittedly a corpse could've found a Greenish in the region that weekend. Before finding this bird, I'd dipped Scholsey's first Greenish and Reg's Greenish and then connected with Bushveld's (off-patch) Greenish. Anyway the Blackdog bird cavorted in some willows on the rifle range and became the first Blackdog first of 2013.
A few other bits and pieces of non-annual - Black-wit, Rockit, Pied Fly and Brent come to mind.
Now on 111 species (=86.05%). A few bankers to come yet.
Wednesday 11 September 2013
Tuesday 10 September 2013
Nothing much to report either -- all very subdued on the patch front -- like the title says... patch birding of late has been akin to wading through treacle. Very little progress for the (admittedly lacklustre) effort invested.
Black-headed gull was about the best addition to the tally since the last post... until around 7:30 this morning that is, when I was utterly gobsmacked to clock a flock of eight (count 'em) small waders hurtling by the front garden. Luckily I'd had the good sense to grab a pair of bins before going out the front door. Dunlin -- who'd have thought!
That's a big fat patch tick right there... we simply don't get waders. Just goes to show -- anything can turn up anywhere and all that mallarky. Here's hoping for something a bit more exciting over the coming weeks.
Current tally -- 77 species, and more importantly 93.33% for the year. So, back up to third spot on the leaderboard, and surprisingly still first of the Irish ;-).
Oh well... onwards and... er... downwards, probably!
Saturday 7 September 2013
Wednesday 4 September 2013
Tuesday 3 September 2013
Monday 2 September 2013
Yesterday i spent ages watching some trees cos i thought I'd seen a spot fly at distance. It never reappeared. Immensely dull.
Then I got home and found this on the lake
|a yellow-legged gull yesterday (allegedly)|
Anyway, the upshot and tremendous climax to this long & harrowing tale of woe is that whilst I was dicking around trying to scope the gull, 2 stock doves flew thru the scope! Year tick! Whoop! No more looking at pigeons for the rest of the year! SCORE!!!!!
Saturday 24 August 2013
Wednesday 21 August 2013
Monday 19 August 2013
Tuesday 6 August 2013
Thursday 1 August 2013
And then a fea's-type petrel flew past, which was nice! and an hour later there was another one! And then 40 mins after that came number three! All slightly different on plumage - amayzing!
Finished up with about 250 cory's and 50-odd greats, plus the supporting cast included several more year ticks - 5 (count 'em) long-tailed skuas, 7 poms, 3 arctics, plus a jammy turnstone too! A few sooties and bonxies thrown in too. All good! Will have to keep seawatching though, cos I still need sab's and common tern!
Oh look - 4th place!
Wednesday 31 July 2013
Still and all, can't grumble, with ace views of a fantastic summer male Mongolian Sandplover on the weekend - have a pic!
|Lovely job, Ted!|
Monday 29 July 2013
Tuesday 16 July 2013
Thursday 11 July 2013
Wednesday 26 June 2013
You would have thought that with a name like Statto he would know a year only has 365 days in it. But apparently not and having claimed the prize back in 2011 he's decided it warrants a second year.
Anyway, I've been keeping busy and even built a whole new fireplace just hoping for the day that a snowy owl might stop by...
Thursday 13 June 2013
Breaking the 90% barrier with 90.91%... but frustratingly STILL in third spot.
Seppy keeps telling me I need to get out more... I'm beginning to think he may be right.
Wednesday 12 June 2013
Garden warbler brings the list to 69, or 93.24%. Top of the heap.
Oystercatcher chicks running around waiting to be predated by the local foxes
And best of all, yesterday evening, otter in the burn in the garden. Not a bird, but a cracking garden tick (although not as good as Bushy's recent run I grant you). perhaps it was after the goosander.
Craig and Charlie
Some other non-raptor species for the year include a fine adult pec sand and 'thunbergi' yellow wagtail both at Miekle Loch, a stonechat, hooded crow and a couple of canada geese! (They all count).
This little haul of patch ticks puts me on 81.62%; 127 for the year. That's a whole five species more than this time last year!
Tuesday 4 June 2013
First an overdue whitethroat which turned up yards from home after pounding the patch for hours (typical).
Then the next day I heard the swallows making a commotion, dived out the office door bins in hand to be greeted by a 2CY hobby coming straight at me, going hell for leather. It passed overhead -- only about 20 feet up -- and was gone. Great... if brief... views. Class bird!
Finally, one of my favourite spring migrants... probably because I can identify with its tendency to be late all the time... a spotted flycatcher turned up in next door's hedge.
Those three take me to 74 for the year -- or 89.70% -- STILL languishing in third place.....
Other news: I discovered that I can actually see a narrow sliver of sea from one elevated corner of the patch . It's a long way off, so not sure I'll be able to nail anything at that distance... even with the super duper Meopta S2 scope... but it does introduce some tantalising possibilities.
Monday 3 June 2013
Saturday 25 May 2013
So safely still ahead of old bushy!
Friday 24 May 2013
Better still though was the one that flew low over my head when I was out with the dog the other side of Cotehill Loch. This one drifted south across the reserve and across the loch towards the Ythan. A bitter sweet moment as it flew within a few metres of my garden when I wasn't there. So alas no garden tick for me. I'm now spending the rest of today looking out my front room pretending to do some work.
Other good birds included a fine summer plumage black guillemot. A very good bird for the patch plus a lot of extra seabirds that I hadn't seen this year and a migrating dunlin for good measure.
This mornings haul of year ticks puts me on 116 species and a better than average 74.55% . A head of Seppy for the first time ever me thinks.
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Not got the pace, not in the race
Some nice birds though...
A full fat patch tick in the form a bluethroat at the weekend was as far as I can remember, through my ever thickening fog of dementia, a first for me on the patch. Not that I found it. The bird found by a local birder on a fine sunny Sunday morning drew the biggest twitch of birders that I've seen on the patch (or in the region) for many years. I suspect more people went to see this bird than did the p-g tips last year! bizarre.
Other nice birds include a fine male red-backed shrike in the village (courtesy of Reg) and female marsh harrier which are both firsts for a few years. A few waders passing through include a wood and common sandpipers on Meikle Loch and ringed plover over the garden.
These and other bits and pieces put me on 106 for the year and 68.12%.
Monday 20 May 2013
Monday 13 May 2013
Sunday 12 May 2013
Pick of the breathing birds recently was Shelduck (two south) whilst Little Tern was useful and a few other migrants have duely arrived. Just four summer bakers remaining now I think; Manxie, Arctic Skua, Swift and Surfie. Oh, and I've also still yet to conciously notice a patch Dunnock this year.
91 species (=7-.54%).
Friday 10 May 2013
Tuesday 7 May 2013
The tysties were interesting because, while watching from the Muckle Shore in my patch, I saw the tell-tale signs that a bird was showing interest in a bit of coast slightly north of my patch, but out of sight. So I walked around the to a place where I could see a nice piece of cliff and bingo, there was a perfect tystie, sitting on a ledge, squeaking away. Although this is a perfectly suitable spot for them, I believe it is the first time they have been known to attempt to breed away from their regular spot 10 miles south. I shall keep a careful eye on them.
Friday 3 May 2013
Among scarcer but just about annual species, Whimbrel appeared and a pair of Tufties called by.
Now on 83 species (=64.34%).
The lone collared dove seems to have been joined by a partner, so with a bit of luck they'll become less of a struggle on patch in the future. A singing male blackcap yesterday was another patch year tick... keeping things ticking over nicely. Puts me on 70... or 84.85%... still in third... but crucially still in touch.
Thursday 2 May 2013
Monday 29 April 2013
A total of nine patch ticks for the year... awesome.
The best of the bunch being a record count of gadwall with three pairs on Meikle. Gadwall might be annual but usually just one or two each year. The best of the rests was a Manxie heading north during a sea watch. The rest being regular stuff but they all count.
Now with 95 species and 61.05%.
On the heals of Cap'n haddock
Patch gold on Sunday in the form of a cracking male whinchat. A full fat patch tick, and I don't get many of those. Loads of wheatear still on the patch, with birds in previously unoccupied areas of the hill, and on passage through the lowland fields. 3 red grouse territories. Oystercatcher on nest (until the local farmer harrows the field, at which point the eggs will become oystercatcher omelette, again)
And has Bushy been putting his dirty mits on my redpoll? One had a ring on it. The cheek.
Sunday 28 April 2013
Saturday 27 April 2013
Friday 26 April 2013
Wednesday: Sedge Warbler
Thursday: Lesser Whitethroat
Friday: Reed Warbler
= 96 or about 86%
I went out again and got a Garden Warbler and later on a Red Kite flew over my house = 98 or 88%
Although not a full fat patch tick it's certainly a good un.
Migrants have started to arrive but I'm missing more than seeing and my total so far of 86 is meagre 55.27%.
Must do better
Tuesday 23 April 2013
While there has not been Kumlin's gull in sight a fine vixen did pop through (although I need to change the date stamp).
Sunday 21 April 2013
The washing line is a great place for picking up impromptu year ticks. So much so that you'll even find me VOLUNTEERING to hang stuff out (and on any rarity scale me volunteering to do anything is going to be right up there).
This weeks washing line bounty was the first swallow back on patch... followed by a collared dove (a la the extremely dodgy digibinned-with-the-mobile and cropped half to death shot attached). Tricky enough bird on patch... so a bit of a coo to get it (sorry... couldn't resist)!
House martin turned up yesterday evening too taking me to 66 -- which in real money puts me on 80%
Saturday 20 April 2013
Wednesday 17 April 2013
Monday 15 April 2013
All the best
Sunday 14 April 2013
Saturday 13 April 2013
Friday 12 April 2013
A few other "spring" birds now filtering in with Reed Bunting, Linnet and Lesser Black-back helping the total on to an underwhelming 68 species (52.71%).
Wednesday 10 April 2013
Monday 8 April 2013
Friday 5 April 2013
The abysmal weather finally relented earlier this week. It's still cold, but the sun has been shining, the wind dropping and temperatures slowly rising. At times, dare I say it, it even started to feel like spring.
And so I ventured out for a stroll to the lake on Wednesday evening, and there they were... three sand martins wheeling around overhead. There were a couple of chiffchaffs and a willow warbler foraging in the willows along the lakeshore too, and a small raft of tufted duck out on the water.
That little lot takes me to 63 for the year, putting me on 76.36%, and temporarily floating me back to the top of the leaderboard.
Thursday 4 April 2013
63 species (=48.84%)
Monday 25 March 2013
Tuesday 19 March 2013
Other than that all the usual stuff and still plenty of usual stuff to be got.
I must get out more and would do if wasn't for the local farmer who has drained all the best pools, cut down a load of sycamores and bushes and ploughed up a footpath which is use to run across the middle of the patch and took me to the excellent bushes along the whinnyfold road. So i've been somewhat uninspired in getting out much.
Still the mistle thrush helps and so maybe I'll pick up the pace a bit.
(Almost) Happy days