Monday 20 January 2020

Take that Tintin

With reed bunting, tawny owl (oh yes, take that Seppy) and a nuthatch (last weekend while repairing a fence), together with padders, we are now back in third place. Who will win in this battle of the Lothian patches?

Friday 10 January 2020

Roaring into third place

A typically undramatic start to 2020 has pushed Philpstoun up to third in the table (albeit several players yet to post scores). With 50% of last two years total (getting more legitimate!) seen already in 10 days this means that the excitement of adding ticks is already on the wane. Only 355 more days to see another 42 species and I'll be on 100%.  To add to future tedium I've already had two of the best birds I ever see here, waxwing and nuthatch.

Thursday 9 January 2020

New is the new old!

Happy New Year... same old humdrum.

After a dismal finish at the arse end of the leaderboard in 2019, a flurry of usual suspects in the first week of 2020 (including Jay, which is nice) sees The Mall roaring back to an inevitably temporary sojourn at the top of the table.

The second week is turning out to be predictably shit, on patch at least. Finished 2019 on a paltry 78 species, or just 89.31% -- ooooooof! On the plus side that means I'm chasing a target of 84 species this year, and picking up c.1.2% per species in real money.

Off patch, twitching a Brown Shrike in North Cork with Seppy on two successive days this week (dipped on the first attempt -- NAILED it on the second) was a welcome little January boost. Of course that's a huge chunk of 2020 birding brownie-point credits cashed in early -- but who gives a f**k... it was a Brown Shrike!

Monday 6 January 2020

New Year, new reality

The stark reality of 2020 is we are chasing 78 species from a small patch of farmland and moorland in Midlothian. Its going to be a tough task, but the last year in which the monster year of 2017 will haunt us. Woodcock in the dying days of 2019 brought our total to 76 species, or 97.85%.  Woodcock has fallen already in 2020, thanks to a nighttime wander a few days ago. Snow Bunting on 2nd January was a good bird for our patch, and perhaps the only bird that will be of interest to other birders this year. All this with other stuff brings us to 34 species, or 43.59%.
It'll be a long year.

Thursday 2 January 2020

Ol' Snowy

Rather than subject you all to a vote I suggest we follow the example of recent years and just award the best find to the bird that is the obvious best find - red eyed vireo Galley. Savi's is a notable second, but I think we would all rather find a REV than a Savi's. If no one disagrees, then for the first time ever there will be no movement in either the Golden Mallard or Ol' Snowy.

There goes 2019...

Well, there goes 2019 and what a cracking year it was on the Patch.

Although I visited the patch infrequently during the end of the year I did manage to scrape a few more species, with a Snow Bunting at the end of October and both a Barn Owl and Woodcock on the 21/12.  This meant that I eventually finished the year with a ridiculous patch total of 124 species and a whopping 116.98%...

Best bird of the year was undoubtedly the Savi's on 23 April and again two weeks later; this being only the third record for mainland Scotland.  Highlights during the spring included a stunning summer plum white-billed diver, a drake garganey and a couple of red-backed shrikes and bluethroats.   The 'not so great pool' actually produced decent variety of waders including knot, green sand and a couple of Temminck's stints, all first's for the patch.

Over the course of the year there were 11 full fat patch ticks including, after six years of searching, Canada goose.

There were plenty of birds 'missed' that could and should have been got if only I could be bothered spending anytime looking at the sea, which, if I had, I reckon would have produced at least half a dozen additional species, with the likes of red-throated diver, common scoter, long-tailed duck, red-breasted merganser and Arctic skua all absent in the 2019 total.  Birds like Fieldfare, garden warbler and pied fly would also have boosted the yearly total. Luckily though all this means is that I've a chance to do better in 2020, which of course I won't but with my target based on the last three years now standing at  112.6 species, I still reckon there's a chance of retaining the trophy for a further year.

Happy New Year to you all and Happy days


2019 all wrapped up

Well, Bushveld has done it again. With an absolutely mahoosive total too. Thats back to back consecutive wins achieved for the first time for the Golden Mallard. If he manages three in a row though, I'm calling an enquiry!

In their first year in the competition, Tintin & Snowy managed a fine second place - just as well it wasn't top spot, or we'd be embroiled in yet another steward's enquiry.

The Proclaimers fought their way to third place on the podium, but finished a good bit off the pace of the two front runners, not even reaching the majik 100% barrier. Keep trying, boys....

Mid-table mediocrity for Royzah and Shakey, while the much-hyped return of the T2006 failed to live up to the er, hype.

Here, for posterity, are the 2019 final scores:

Some scores, yesterday
So there you have it. Basil Faulty is in last place, for the first time ever. This means he now gets 1.2% for every species in 2020, which is, quite frankly, outrageous! 2019 was my worst year ever on patch, however, I still only get 0.79% per species. Arse.