Thursday 31 March 2022

Lesser is more

 Checking the lake again yesterday:

Long staying Ring-necked Duck: Check

Long staying Goldeneye: Check

Long staying Whopper Schwan: Check

And a lovely female Scaup fresh in... or was it? As it approached the tufties, I could see it was small, and had a distinctly peaked hind crown. Could it be? Probably, maybe, possibly...?

Scaup wouldn't even be a year tick... but Lesser Scaup, now that would be a full fat patch tick.

The flock was a bit distant for shots, but I did my best and pedalled the ropey results around some of the well respected "proper birders" in the county. Consensus was that it looked good, but that it really needed a wing-flap or flight shot to clinch it.

So there I was, first thing this morning, back on patch freezing my 'nads off waiting for the irksome wee fucker to flap its wings. Which it refused to do.

Thankfully, just as I was about to give up and go home, a helpful buzzard flew over the lake flushing the entire flock.

Bingo! Bird clinched, new patch tick secured, and who knows, perhaps even a potential contender for Ol' Snowy down the track.

So along with the five (count 'em) Sand Martians over the lake when Seppy turned up to twitch my duck, and the oodles of Manxies (plus an untickable but still very cool Basking Shark) yesterday takes me to a healthy 72.95% for the year.

Almost as good as the Lesser Scaup was the Merlin that dived over the hedge and across the road in front of the car on the way home to The Mall this morning, bringing the tally there to 66.38% and, crucially, knocking Seppy back off the podium.


Tuesday 29 March 2022

Lets get this partay started

 Yes indeedy, its been pretty good at Galley of late, in an "its early but there still might be something around" kind of a way. A burst of south-easterlies 10 days ago brought a wave of 19 (count 'em) bramblings through - it was quite exciting bumping into birds after they'd just dropped in!

some bramblings, er, a week or so ago

Several black redstarts around too, and lots of chiffchaffs and then yesterday, the highlight of the spring so far in the form of a cracking male ring ouzel just outside the office - nice!

a black redstart, day before yesterday

But of course the major piece of skill was spotting that the Owenahincha cattle egrets which have been hanging around for a couple of months now had followed their cows into a field that was at last visible from the patch! I was able to clock them from the comfort of my trusy swaro scope last friday, at a range of approximately 4km off patch - a whole new low! Huzzah! Only my second ever record from the patch, with the first waaaay back in 2008!

4km, last friday

And finally, hot news of two (count 'em) gadwall on the lake this lunchtime - all to play for!

Friday 25 March 2022

Springing up the leader board

I've been surprising myself (and Seppy, I think) with an uncharacteristic burst of enthusiasm. Somehow I'm managing to drag my normally sedentary carcass all the way down to the coast on a reasonably regular basis to check the new patch. It's yielded many of the usual suspects, and a few pleasant surprises to boot.

Highlights include a rather fetching female Ring-necked duck that turned up in January, and is still on the lake hanging out with the tufty flock. She was joined in February by a female Goldeneye... also still there. 

Spring kicked off last week with at least 6 black-redstarts and a couple of fine-looking male Brambling on patch. No wheatears yet, but squillions of chiffchaffs have arrived. Nothing more tasty yet... but not a bad start.

All of which shennanigans takes me to 86, or 70.49% for the year.

Coastal commitments naturally mean I can't be arsed slogging around The Mall much these days. Even so, garden and car tickage is keeping things ticking over (see what I did there?). Best bird, and a full fat patch tick, was a fly-over Ringo a couple of nights ago.

So The Mall is on 51 species, or 65.11%.


Monday 7 March 2022

Just about to kick off (hopefully...)

 Yes indeedy, spring must surely be just about to happen, though its baltic out still, and any wheatear arriving here would quickly regret it I reckon! Anyway, had a quick poke about on Saturday am and managed a nice white wagtail as proof of the concept of spring migration. It was even singing a little bit too!

A white wagtail, yesterday

All to play for!

Tuesday 1 March 2022

Just the usual at Longhaven

 The usual quiet start of the year with few birds of note.  The best of the bunch being a Lap bunt (a 50/50 bird for the patch), which graced a stubble field for a few days in mid-February.  Other notable birds to liven up a typically dull couple of months included snow bunt, mistle thrush and collared dove.  All are annual but always nice to get.

Current total of 45 (37.50%) is slightly below par for the time of year but nothing to be concerned about as there’s loads of gank still to be enjoyed.

Here’s hoping for a bit more excitement in March.

Happy Days