Monday 29 April 2013

A whole 2 hours

I spent a whole two hours birding on the patch this weekend.  yep, whole two hours....that's the most I've done this year and unsurprisingly, I even managed to see a few birds.

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

Happy days


I want to sax you up

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

What a lark!

Skylark from the washing line (year tick hot spot) and newly arrived sedge warblers push me up to 82.42%... But looking like my flirtation with the top of the leaderboard is coming to an end. Ho hum!

Saturday 27 April 2013

Some helpful additions

After the excitement of last weekend bagging bananabills (see I thought it was about time I saw what was going on closer to home. I saw a useful pair of goosander heading north offshore and another absentee from last, in fact two years, grey wagtail supported by Old Porty's first willow warbler of the year. On the down side, it looks as if my pair of moorhen appear to have gone awol.

Friday 26 April 2013

Banging them in

It's that time of year. From nowhere in mid April to one a day since, so steaming up the table. This week:

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%

First Patch Rare of 2013

Not that I can claim any credit for the find, as Reg of the ol' bill called to say he had a rather nice male ring-necked duck on Meikle.  And sure enough he did.

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

Happy days


Tuesday 23 April 2013

Boghall strikes back

Spring arrived on Friday in Boghall. The 30 siskins that have been around for the past few weeks cranked up the volume, but two chiffchaff fought back and turned it up to 11 to break through the din.But it did not end there. 36 wheatear on the patch on Sunday, with 32 of them migrants in the lowland fields and only 4 males holding territory on the hills. Add to this willow warbler and blackcap (2 drakes and a duck) on the bird feeder, and it was shaping up well. A cracking cock brambling in full sum plum was joined by two hens at the feeder and to top it all, a couple of lesser redpolls dropped by for supper. Super. All this, together with the tawny owl I had during the week brings Boghall to 85.13%. And I still need house sparrow.
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

Washing line strikes again!

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


Well, a little anyway. 5 overdue year ticks today - Arctic Skua, Whimbrel, Buzzard, House Martin and Coal Tit (not the normal habitat for them as you can see...)

Wednesday 17 April 2013

All go round here

Too windy for anything but a seawatch on de weekend, which got me manxie, bonxie, tammie norrie and scooty doo for the year. A fair few mealies moulieing too. And then today its windy again, so checked de lake and there's a 1st w kumliens loafing around - saw what was shurely the same bird coast past de house 2 days ago but didn't get a great look at it. 2 house martins were new today plus I also had a shag on the lake, which was nice!

Monday 15 April 2013

Migs Galore

Today on Patch we had 27 Wheatear, 5 Common Redstart, 1 Whinchat, 1 Ring Ouzel, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Swallow, 1 Sand Martin and about a trillion Chiffs. I saw at least one of each of them, which frankly catapults me away from the competition and through the 80% barrier, with nine new year-ticks in the last three days, during which I birded the patch for approximately four hours. A tick about once every half hour in other words.

All the best

Sunday 14 April 2013

Red Hot

Wanstead on fire! Two (count 'em!) full-fat patch ticks on Saturday, plus my first Blackcap and Willow Warbler of the year takes me to 86, or 77.25%. First up a blinding adult Kittiwake, a great London bird and good enough to fly directly over my head shaking its little black feet at me. Nearly fainted. And then when the Black Redstart was refound, well good gracious me, I may have actually passed out with delirium. Straight to the top of the leader board. It won't last, but good to let those normally at the top that I'm not out for the count just yet. Can full-fat patch ticks be beaten?! NO!



Rather less frequent than King Eider but, by fine timing, just two days short of two years since the last record.

No hirundines, warblers, wheatears, etc. yet......

69 species (=53.49%)

Saturday 13 April 2013


How long has it been since I last posted? Must have been a while. Think it was pre-Bluethroat (on patch) and was certainly before I saw Red-throated Pipit and White-throated Robin (off patch sadly, out of the UK even - others of note in a recent UAE trip included Rufous Bush Robin, Turkestan Shrike, Isabelline and Pied Wheatears, Indian Pond Heron, 2 species of Roller, 2 species of Bee-eater, you get the idea). Back on patch finally added Swallow, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Yellow Wagtail but very very slow and still no Whitethroat

Friday 12 April 2013

Long Live the King

Blackdog's mention in the 2013 BBRC report is secured early this year, the Ythan clearly not being to Elvis's liking.

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


Finally glimpsed the velvet scoter from de patch this am, which was a full fat patch tick (up to 194 now!), plus got iceland gull from de hoose this eve - 2 year tick day - gotta love it!

Monday 8 April 2013


oops! haven't divulged me scores for ages! Oh well - although the spring has hardly arrived yet, I did manage wheatear, chiff, willow, blackcap and swallow before the end of March, and have added sarnie and purp sand in the last couple of days! Just need the easterly wind to drop a bit and there'll be all sorts to find! Old spoons found a velvet scoter just off patch a few days ago too and its still here - just need a calm day to nail it - patch gold!

Friday 5 April 2013

Sandies' return

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


Classy Goose doule-whammy last Saturday; first a Greylag flew over the rifle range and ditched down in a field where close inspection revealed 600 Pinkies also. Then, always a patch highlight, eight Canada Geese - sat on the sea for a couple of hours at least. Both less than annual species.

63 species (=48.84%)