Tuesday 26 April 2016

Amigeon That!

Warning! Serious Post Alert

Patch birding is amazing. For the last couple of years I have spent days and money gallivanting around the country twitching Irish ticks. Or, bashing the ditches and gardens of Mizen Head trying to route out Northern Parula Warblers and Semi-Collared Flycatchers. But those days are gone my friends.

Ive been introduced to patch birding. Not only does it save money and time and heartache but it also turns up the odd goodie, like this male American Wigeon last Wednesday. 

And while it wasn’t a life tick or even a county tick it was a patch tick and a finds tick. I must atomic finding this lovely duck on the patch along with finding the Great White Egret the week before gave even me more pleasure than twitching that stunning Dark-eyed junco on Dursey last June. It just goes to show what can happen a patch is checked for an hour at least every other day. This is a lot of fun.

I will continue to pishhh myself into a splitting headache on Mizen and yes I will twitch the next juicy yank that ends up in Scott's Garden, Patch birding however has been a revelation. I genuinely cant wait to see what turns up next. And more than anything else I look forward to those jealous texts messages full of unrepeatable obscenities from Seppy when I find the next rarity on my Clonakilty/Inchydoney patch.

Thursday 21 April 2016

settling back in

It has been good to be back on the patch. The non-breeding 'winter' visitors have still be around and have helped to boost the yearlist to a healthy 74. Which makes for a nice and easy 74% since I set a target of 100 for the year just to make the maths easy.

After last year, when everything was new and unexpected, this year has shown that much of what was 'wow' last year is at least annual. Not to say that pittas are not still 'wow', and on one memorable day both hooded and blue-winged were within 100 metres of each other. But I won't be posting pictures and risking an early disqualification. Instead, here is a picture of a lupsup  (local term meaning trash bird) Asian brown flycatcher instead. Memorise and try to find one on a patch near you where it will be anything but lupsup.

In other news; the owls are still present and correct, Oriental pied hornbills are breeding and red-legged crakes are being elusive as usual (but are on the list). And a black spitting cobra added a little frisson to one day, although it was more interested in a swallowing a frog than in me.     

Friday 15 April 2016

Best Patch Find Wrapped Up in April!

As predicted by this blogger last month it is now almost certain that "old snowy" will spend next year in Clonakilty.

My sister Monica and her hubby Chandler live very near my patch at Clogheen. Last Wednesday en route to their house for dinner I landed myself a patch mega! Great White Egret baby!!

I knew the magnitude of my find by the astonishing reaction of one of my fellow bloggers who on hearing the news, bundled his poor kids and dog into the back of his car to twitch this majestic beauty in record quick time.

Barring Basil Faulty's green sand making a return to his patch this year I think it's safe to say that this competition is over!

Ross Gellar

Spring into spring... er... springness

Not a whole heap of surprises in the weeks since my last update. The usual spring suspects have trickled in... chiffchaffs in March, swallows, sand martins, willow warblers and house martins into April, and a smattering of other things... best of which was two (count em) mute swans on the lake.

Not one of the recent patch swans... one from the archives, because well, you've got to have pretty pictures on these things to keep 'em interesting!

A dearth of swannage can be a real problem on patch. Dipped mute swan last year, which may well have cost me the title (can't remember exactly but think there was only one species in it).

Anyway... the springflux of migrants (see what I did there... #skillz) puts me on 83.07% and, more importantly, back on top of the leaderboard. Nothing unexpected yet though... which  doesn't bode well for the end-of-year tally.

Still... onwards and upwards... allegedly.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

spring bonanza

Its been all go on the last few patch excursions - stuff like buzzard, wheatear, yellowhammer, sand martin, swallow and "best" of all three (count 'em) shelduck flying over! Only vaguely managed to year-tick the latter last year, courtesy of Mr Faulty calling up a distant, disappearing white blob as one during a aimless meander about Galley last spring. So that could have been anything, in fairness, but I year-ticked it as shelduck. This year I can be squeaky clean though, as all three were meticulously verified by yours truly.


Sunday 3 April 2016

Over half way there

Due to various work related deadlines I've not managed to get to the patch over the last few weeks.  But then it was March and nothing much happens in March, so I presumed I didn't miss much.  But now it's April and spring is here, so yesterday I ventured forth onto the Patch….

xuck me!!! TWO full fat patch ticks!!!

Ok, so the patch is only in it's third year so may be not so surprising but good all the same.  A pair of fine pintail joined a nice selection of wildfowl and amongst the gulls was a 3rd calendar year Iceland gull.  My first white-winged gull for the patch and so far bird of the year.

A load of other stuff, including the first wheatear brings the total to 60 species (52.17%).

Happy days