Sunday 20 May 2018

Ol' Snowy returns ... or does he?

When the parcel arrived yesterday morning it was with great anticipation and just a little excitement that I began opening it.

Ol' Snowy returns back to his natural homeland.

I knew it had to be Ol' Snowy, returning back to his natural homeland of NE Scotland.  As I carefully peeled back the layers of parcel I pondered briefly on how he'd faired down in Kent, so far south and such a long way for this ageing owl to migrate.  I began to feel sorry for it.  The last time I'd seen the poor creature it's wing was badly broken and knowing that, over a year ago, it had made the  movement south on the basis of a claim of a feral great bustard must have made the journey all the more painful.

But now, back safely, and very neatly parcelled was Ol' snowy...

Ol' Snowy neatly parcelled in a new box..

Puzzled by the neatness of the packaging and the newness of the box (Usually it is bunged in a bit of  bubble wrap and a reused envelope), it was with increasing trepidation that I opened the box.


A fine piece of porcelain, but not Ol' Snowy!  

Check out the suspended moult in the outer two greater coverts...

Full Frontal

This isn't Ol Snowy, it's an imposter... surely some mistake.  Maybe that cretin from Kent has kept the original and tried to pass off this poor imitation...

 or maybe Ol' Snowy just couldn't face the long journey back home.  He's now passing his remaining days in the warmer climes to be found in 'Garden of England'...and who could blame him.  He's done sterling work since he arrived on the scene, having graced many a mantlepiece up and down the patch list land.  His presence providing a warm reminder to those who have bagged the patch list find, the Megas (or not so Mega in some years) that have graced our patches.  And for those who take on the challenge it is a prize, beyond all others, to win this much coveted trophy.

So, there we have it, a brand new Snowy, which will, no doubt, become as widely travelled across the patches in the years to come.  

New Snowy appreciating a quality patch find.

(That's enough of this drivel)

Happy Days


Monday 14 May 2018

Stop yer 'grine-ing

Inspired by the presence of the Golden Mallard, we've been out at it again. The last couple of weeks have produced a haul of Sylvias (well, garden warbler and whitethroat) along with a great fly by peregrine.  This 'should be annual' species is by no means guaranteed on Boghall. Also of note, but not a patch year tick, was first May record of jay. All this brings us to 69, or 90.39%. It'll be a long slog from here on in though.

Wednesday 9 May 2018

May the migrants arrive

Having been the very temporary custodian of the much coveted golden mallard during it's long and sometimes dangerous migration to lowlands of Scotland, I'm now even more focussed on winning what must be the most prestigious award in the UK's ornithological community.  Better still my loving and most considerate spouse upon setting eyes on the fine piece of porcelain commented by saying... "you're not trying to win that piece of shite are you?..."  All the more reason to try and win it I do believe.

So on that note I've been bashing the patch.

No real quality birds so far, but five species of warbler to date and a few mildly bonus birds including stock dove (the first one since 2015), barnacle geese (yes three of them on the 8 May, first since 6 October 2016) and a few black-tailed godwits (last seen on 6 May 2016).

A good indicator species for how well the patch is doing was the first blue tit of the year on the 6 May (the day after my first whitethroat of the year), that's a whole 135 days earlier than in 2017.  evidence, if needed, of how this year's going pan out.

So for the totals.  81 species - 77.88%

Happy days


Thursday 3 May 2018

Trophy handover part II

Craig (or is it Charlie) of The Proclaimers was pleased to receive The Golden Mallard from Prof. Jeremy Wilson, Vice President of The Scottish Ornithologists' Club, earlier today.

Trophy handover

As part of the long migration south, I managed to arrange the logistics so that Bushveld could collect the Golden Mallard from Royzah, in order that we could make the presentation to the Proclaimers in person today.

Here is Bushveld (left) doing his best to wrestle the Mallard from Royzah's pudgy gin-soaked fists.

Royzah puts up a fight for the Mallard

As luck would have it, despite pinpoint logistical perserverance, both the proccies had buggered off for lunch so we had to just leave the trophy on their studio sound desk. They probly just didn't want any publicity. They sent a subsequent photo of it settling in.

Worth 50 Quid on Ebay
Not since Nimmo's victory have I seen such terrible disrespect for this much-coveted trophy

They won't have it long anyway...