Tuesday 22 November 2016

And a couple more

Scored a rather nice merlin (only my second patch record) this weekend and common scoter previous weekend.

Puts me on 105 for the year, which is two more than last years pitiful total.

Still only on 91.30%

Happy days


Monday 21 November 2016

Scaup ya bas!

Woohoo! Just scoped a scaup! over the ton at last! Shots not taken due to fear of recriminations and stitch-ups regarding aythya hybridisation. First scaup on de patch in years! Happy days!

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Wanderly wigeon

I was just pontificating with Seppy the other day about how an errant duck was perhaps my best chance of adding to the patch tally for the year when BOOM! A stray wigeon on the arse end of the lake this morning pushes me to a respectable 102.69%, and gives me the tiniest bit of breathing space.

Getting a wee bit tight on the podium as we head into the closing stages, and history shows that we're bound to see a spate of stored-up-claims from the rest of the field (who couldn't be arsed updating the blog all year) as we head into December. It's wide open!

Saturday 12 November 2016

Another weekend of marginal gains

The lake produced the goods again today. Although the much questioned long-tailed duck appeared to have done a bunk, there were near-krazy scenes on the patio early pm when news broke of a "pintail on patch".

Despite nearly losing it over the piss-poor lack of directions, I was still calm enough to figure out the observer probably wasn't scanning a distant pool near red strand from a random field on patch, as has happened previously, and that the bird was most likely on the lake, and therefore visible from the magic patio. Which it was.

Not an arctic skua

Exhibit A. Only my 3rd sighting on/from patch ever! And photographed expertly too, despite the lack of fone digiscoping equipage. Only one more species needed to break the 100% barrier...

In other news, Boy Royzah scored big today in the form of a lesser whitethroat on his patch, which moves him to within one species of the outright lead.

With Basil Faulty on the ropes and reduced to digging up drainpipes to try & create some better wader habitat, Royzah just needs to string a starling into either a waxwing or a little auk (or ideally both) to make a stout claim on the golden mallard. Of course he may need to get the bus to Wanstead & wrestle it out of Derek's pudgy mitts first...

Basil's new wader scrape

Friday 11 November 2016

Inching closer

A fine long-tailed duck was vigorously diving over the far side of the lake this very am. Indeed, if it wasn't for my thoroughness, I'd have overlooked it! Luckily I didn't. A quick perusal of the rather mediocre records database appears to indicate that this is only my second record on the patch, with the first being in 2013 - see here for more.

Sadly Mr Faulty has not yet furnished me with a fonescope adaptor meaning that there are no record shots to support the record. You'll just have to trust me innit!

Monday 7 November 2016

Whoop, whoop... shovel it!

A week off patch in County Clare at this stage in proceedings is perhaps not the best of plans.

I didn't book it, of course, but in the interest of familial harmony I had to be there. So, with Seppy and Royzah creeping disturbingly into contention, off patch for a week I went.

Scenic shenanigans at the Cliffs of Moher

It was a pleasant enough break. Clare is pretty scenic, all things considered. Dipping a tawny pipit on Loop Head, watching a frantic merlin terrorising red admiral butterflies, and seeing a group of five whooper swans whopper schwans (Seppy enforced "correction) fly over the holiday gaff were probably the highlights. Oh, and squillions of redwings.

When the swans flew over I remember thinking "shame they never fly over my patch".

So imagine my surprise back home yesterday morning when, on my way to the car to buy firelighters (it's that time of year again), I heard a trumpety honking overhead, and looked up to see another five (count 'em) whoppers flying over my garden. What are the chances?

Photo swiped from d'interwebs natch; I tend not to take the camera out to buy firelighters

Add them to the female shoveler that was dicking around with a posse of mallard on the lake the day before yesterday and you have two full-fat patch ticks in as many days... and more importantly a bumped up total of 101.53%.

Which is just as well given how close things are getting at the top...

...and breathe!

Nip & tuck

Chakademus and pliers. Chips and cheese. Add whatever other pairing you like. Royzah & Shakes (there's another one) have been banging them in again. Yes indeedy, Royzah gleaned woodcock & GND to become the second competitor to hurdle the 100% barrier. Shakey strung a Whopper swan. Its all go for the podium!

Tuesday 1 November 2016


Yes indeedy - as I headed from the house to the office mid-morning I glanced at the lake and spotted a schwan. Better check it I thought, though its bound to be another mute. And sure enuff it was....

A whopper schwan on the lake
Woohoo! Cue Krazy scenes, jubilation, air punches etc etc. After snapping a few pics for verification purposes, the obliging creature whooped a couple of times before taking to the air, circling round and heading southwards towards Old Spoons gaff - a quick phone call to alert him and bingo - the brent goose debt was paid off!

Still owe him for that bluetail though...

One step nearer the mallard...