Friday 30 January 2015

keep on keepin on

Been plugging away at Galley (i.e. havin a quick look at Shite Lane on the way back from dropping the kids at school most days, unless its freezing) and got a couple of rewards this morning - 2 (count 'em) chiffchaffs - both calling and looking like regular chiffs - 1st migs of the year! And then, even better, a distant group of 10 or so fieldfares in a far away tree from the patch - one I missed last year so was keen to nail 'em this winter.

Happy days!

Oh and Shakey's been shaking his thang in the kingdom and is now claiming to be in 2nd place! A likely story...

Tuesday 27 January 2015


To date things have been going way better than I had hoped, with good progress towards my goal of 90 for the year. This afternoon I headed out with the year list total on 49, hoping to break the big 50 but without high hopes. I was well rewarded with another 6 for the year. And not just your usual dross, there was some quality there as well.

Perhaps the best was a great look at a red-legged crake family, feeding quite unconcerned out in the open by a heavily used path. I even got my 'phone out for some snaps of that.


Inspired by early success, I then took some pictures of a family of white-breasted waterhens:

And then fortune really shifted into high gear when I met a local 'birder' who showed me the daytime roost of a large-tailed nightjar. Which was nice.

The day ended with a year list of 55. Don't get too excited, it's the tropics and spring is not on the way. Things will slow down sometime soon. And I know Rool 5...

Saturday 24 January 2015

Best Patch Find 2014

Well, despite some inevitable vote-rigging, none of it by me I might add, it would appear that my cracking pintail at Galley has indeed won Old Snowy, with a whopping 60% of the votes too....

er, I mean, Bushveld's cracking little bunting at his new Longhaven patch has won Old Snowy, as the best patch find for 2014. In a fairly quiet year across all patches, this was the stand out find, and one that I'd love to get at Galley (would be a feckin Irish tick for a start!)

Anyway, hopefully Reg will do the decent thing and drop Snowy round to Bushy's gaff soon, and maybe even pose for a photo!

can but hope...


Went back to try to relocate the warbler but it had moved on. All available evidence points at Sakhalin leaf warbler, which is nice. A few more to add to the year list while there, mainly by keeping eyes to the skies for flyovers which produced grey-rumped treeswift, Brahminy kite and red-rumped swallow. Meanwhile, colour was provided by a pair of collared kingfishers busy setting up a nest and a special offer of two for the price of one on dollarbirds. Why are they called dollarbirds? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Tuesday 20 January 2015

New kid on the block

Well, it had to happen. After years of being a nomad without a local patch, following the Golden Mallard Challenge and just wishing I had the chance to compete for such a fine piece of tat, I now have a set of keys for an apartment and a local patch just down the road. Now I can join in the fun.

And it it is perhaps fitting that I am an overseas entrant to the challenge. So while you are freezing your 'nads round Galley or the Don or wherever, mine be sweating around Singapore Botanic Gardens. A small patch of greenery in the urban jungle that is Singapore. It's hard too escape from traffic noise, and harder to escape from people, but even so a few hardy species persist and I'll be trying to find as many as I can.

The year is off to a good start,with about 40 species so far. This afternoon was one of those slightly weird birding moments while watching exotic species such as black-naped oriole, blue-tailed bee-eater, pink-necked green pigeon and a common kingfisher. But there's quality there, so it's all good. And a Phyllosc that I struggled with...and maybe will sort out tomorrow? 

Monday 19 January 2015

What is the point of Gadwall?

Normally not much, but as the only "useful" bird so far on the Blackdog year list, I'm not gonna diss them.
Otherwise, this first posting of the year launches me straight into last place of declared sites with 43 species (=34.49%). The good news is that the new lower target figure for the year (124.67 species) is lower than three of the past four year lists.


Sunday 18 January 2015


Had to attend a recording session in Dubai, goodness me it has changed since I was last there in 1962. The recording went well, but I wish I'd taken the elevator. Back on the beloved patch I've had a couple of fruitful sessions, including catching up with the Horned Grebe that was found while I was away. Other highlights include a Wigeon, and so continues the usual process of traipsing round the place looking for boring birds that I will not bother looking for again for another 11 months. Just Water Rail and Fieldfare to go now, after which I can resume the never-ending tour until about mid March when it gets interesting again.

62sp / 55.86%

Wednesday 14 January 2015


Hey - how come my pintail at Galley suddenly has 17 votes? Don't tell me the voting has been rigged again? FFS!

Monday 12 January 2015

Good start... or false start... only time will tell

Happy new year! Isn't it great when all the gank starts to count again.

On the basis of "attack is the best means of defence", been out and about on patch as much as possible since the turn of the year... and things have been ticking along nicely. Lake is still spectacularly under-delivering on the waterfowl front... but four (count 'em) tufties and a little grebe were good birds to get early on.

Been steadily ticking off the usual suspects, with some, like cormorant, still conspicuous by their absence.

Current state of play, nearly two weeks in, 53 species, or 62.35%. Can't see me maintaining this pace... but at least I won't be gone for four months this year, and I certainly won't be missing the Autumn :-).

Game on!

Friday 9 January 2015

And we're off

Congratulations to Kenny for his blazing score from 2014.

Last year on Boghall was the poorest to date, following close on the heals of 2013 which was the best to date. this means I'm chasing a paltry 74.67 species for 2015. Things are going well so far though, and best has to be the cracking barn owl that was floating about in the half light of pre dawn this morning. A fine way to start the day. This is the third record for the patch, and the best view I've had of one yet. Bring it on.
And apparently this is post number 666 on this blog - cool!