Monday 24 February 2014

nuffin but a puffin

A quick skove around de patch yesterday pm produced a singleton puffin belting wesht past the Galley. Onward and upward!

Thursday 20 February 2014

Out for a duck

It's been miserable on patch for what seems an eternity -- storms, rain, wind, more rain, storms, floods, more rain, sleet, hail, wind, storms, more rain, mud, fallen trees, wind, more rain... you get the picture.

The countryside around about is a mess -- trees flattened, hedgerows blown assunder. It's carnage out there, and birds, along with sensible birders, have been taking cover and staying out of sight. So it's been a tad quiet, and I haven't been out around patch half as often as I would like.

Some tufted ducks -- two drakes and a duck in fact -- visiting the lake for a couple of days was a useful year tick (less than annual on patch), and a great black backed gull, also visiting the lake, keeps me ticking over on 69.96%.

All my ducks in a row -- record shot of the tufties at high ISO in very low light = ropey as

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Monday 17 February 2014


I've seen some stuff too.

But not very interesting stuff.

But stuff nonetheless.

I've heard some stuff too.

tawny owls everywhere and had four lads called Les R Reg Poll on the bird feeders.

Col Lard Dove called in, but best of all the oystercatchers are back. A sure sign of spring.

I'll update my score when I can find my score sheet. But I'm quids in.


Sunday 16 February 2014

Cotehill update

63 species


sparrowhawk today

and that's about it.

Happy Days


Sunday 9 February 2014

Purple patch

Woohoo! Scored a fine brace of purple sandpipers today on de patch, although only one features in the following snap


Just happened to be in the Ballycotton area this pm for this fella too!


My Patch is Shrinking least the part above high water is. This old WWII ringing hut was hidden under the dunes until a couple of weeks ago and now stands well out onto wave-washed sand.

A few bits and bobs in last couple of weeks including some useful almost-but-not-quite-annuals; Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare (missed last year!), Water Rail and, today, a Med Gull. Last weekend brought at least 4 Little Gulls dancing in the surf.

And a patch first - a new species of wader offshore:

Now on 54 species (=42.74%). Several easy-peasy ones left before spring kicks off.


Longhaven update

So, that's a whole week with the new patch and two visits, both of which were in gale forces winds so far from ideal .  But, then a new patch does increase one's enthusiasm and it's given me a chance to look for all those small pockets of rarity habitats that will need to be checked in a few months time.

But for now the list stands on a whopping 27 species.

Best of the bunch are Jack Snipe and Woodcock.

20.77%   A steady start.

Happy Days


Friday 7 February 2014

kumliens on da patch

Ok so in this competition you don't get any bonus points for finding fancy-dan races or subspecies or the like but here's a coupla snaps of a 1st winter kumlien's gull at Galley this very am

Look at the primaries on that!

Wednesday 5 February 2014

New Patch on the Block… LONGHAVEN

New Patch on the Block… LONGHAVEN

Tired of the same ol’ same old…
Tired of sloppy seconds after Reg…
Tired of bumping into other birders on the Patch?

Time for a new start!

Welcome to the Longhaven Patch

Longhaven Patch…'ere be rares!
 Situated on the coast between Peterhead and Cruden Bay, Longhaven is one of those quick stop off points where North-east birders looking for migrants dip into as they trawl up and down the coast during autumnal easterlies.  It’s an easy quick win site with two small sycamores, a few wind blown stunted willows and some rosebay all within 30 seconds of getting out of the car.

It hasn’t got a great track record but then is it properly worked?  

Longhaven and Norway
Total area 1.40km2

278 miles from Norway

The coast is high exposed cliffs with loads of Geos for rares to tuck themselves into and there’s large areas of damp, rough sheep grazed fields for rares to hide in.  There’s a large disused quarry providing shelter for more rares in the sheltered weedy vegetation and scattered patches of gorse which are invariably useless for rares and a pain to work.

Although there’s been no major rarities there (that I’m aware of), it does get migrants with a greenish, firecrest and yellow-browed all in the only two sycamores last September.  So the site has potential.

To the south of Longhaven and the southern end of the patch lies Bullers of Buchan.  A small village that again can hold a migrant or two.  It once had the region’s first Hume’s yellow-browed but nothing much before or since.  But it’s not checked much and I’m sure will hold the occasional bird. 

The patch stretches only a small way inland to capture one of the few areas of trees along this stretch of coast.  I don’t think anybody has ever looked at them so I thought I’d squeeze them into the patch… you never know.

Is this a good patch?

I’m not sure, but it’s new and quite exciting in an area that I’ve only occasionally been to, so worth a year or two of patch listing.

I’ve no idea what the annual tally will be but I guess will be lower than Cotehill, probably around the 120 -125 mark.  But as all new patches invariably underestimate the total in the first year, I’ve set a target of 130 and will see how I get on. 

I’m still keeping Cotehill Patch going as that’s where I live and it does always hold a strong potential for the Best Find even if I will never be able to keep up with Robo Cops (aka Reg) birding intensity.

Happy Days



3 flyover black-tailed godwits were swiftly dispatched to the year list over breakfast - skills!