The Players

Cap'n Haddock

"Gazumping carbunkles, thar she blows, it's a humpback!!"

Captain Archibald Haddock only docked his boat in Old Portlethen at the end of 2008, so hasn't accumulated a huge patch list yet. HeI likes nothing better than a yomp around his favourite bits of the coastline, or peering down his spyglass to the sea through his porthole. As he gets to know his patch better, he appeciates more about which bits are likely to attract birds under different conditions.

Total patch list:        145

Best patch year list: 133 in  2010

Best patch find:        if it wasn't a fish, Humpback Whale, otherwise a fly-by White-billed Diver

Alter-ego:                Andy Webb

 Roy Castle

Dedication's what you need if you want to be a patchlister

The only thing better than blowing yer own trumpet or a quick spot of tap dancing is the thrill of a thrash down the Don. It's been a ten year non stop adrenaline rush at the hottest spot on the coast between Blackdog and Girdleness.

Total patch list - 210

Best patch year -150 in 2000

Best find on the patch - I'd go for Montagu's Harrier

 Sepp Blatter

Seppy recounts how he found that Black-headed Bunting back in 2009

Known for his adherance to rules and regulations, plus his sense of fair play, Sepp Blatter has been living the dream at Galley Head since 2004.  He just can't get enough of it! Whether its turning up classy patch birds such as Gadwall, or stumbling blindly across pucka rarities like Black-headed Bunting and Marsh Warbler, Seppy is always happiest when he's in amongst it on Galley.

Total patch list - 200 - latest: Rosefinch September 2015

Best patch year - 2012 - 149

Best finds on patch - Marsh Warbler in September 2004 - 3rd Irish, (but a long time ago now)...Black-headed Bunting in September 2009 - 11th Irish I think, and Western Bonelli's Warbler in September 2014 - 14th Irish.


An avid fan of patch facts, Statto spends his days trudging forlornly around a section of coast named after Churchill's moods looking out for such prizes as Blackdog's highest September Meadow Pipit count. After flirting with the site in 2002 and 2003, Statto officially adopted the patch in 2004 and greets any other birders there with a barrage of patch-listing trivia in an attempt to bore them back to the Ythan. New to the patch list challenge in 2011, Statto told a undercover reporter posing as Carol Vorderman "It's really kind of the other boys and girls to let me join in their little game. I hope they stay this kind when I blow their sorry little excuses for patch year lists into oblivion."

Total patch list - 190

Best patch year list - 2010 - 135

Best find on patch - Black Scoter (twice).


The T-2006 silently contimplates killing all humans

Don't let the apparent lack of wheels fool you! The T-2006 is infact a highly sophisticated piece of tech capable of covering vast swathes of patch during a single recording unit and, when it can't be arsed, deploys nanobots or the drone El Castillo to find the rares for it. Re-booted in 2005 with all the latest pattern recognition and id software it is now 6 years that it has been trundling around North Don. Unfortunately, later upgrades infected it with the "Not My Bag" virus resulting in one sub-routine forever stuck on Gulls v1.0. When off patch the T-2006 spends downtime in its secret bunker, wearing a wizards cape and listening to prog records.

Total patch list - 176

Best patch year - 136 in 2009 and 2010

Best find on patch - 2008s highs of desert wheatear, stone curlew and snow goose

 The Proclaimers

When not penning hit records (admit it, it has been a while), we can be found wandering about a patch of Lothian pointlessly. It may not be as good as past patches that we have covered (Donmouth, Don, Girdle, tropical islands and Polish marshes), but it is better than most places in Lothian.

Total patch list - 85

Best patch year -78 in 2009

Best find on the patch – that would have to be snow bunting.

Fat Paul Scholes

Scholesy indicates the number of decent birds he'll see this year...

There's nothing Fat Paul Scholes enjoys more than birding his local patch, Girdle ness. Apart from cake. And pies. And having a nice, long sit down. Scholesy has been birding the ness for a good few years now and has found more porn there than rarities.

Total patch list - 181

Best patch year - 2010 - 136

Best find on patch - White-billed diver probably, but there have been others I've enjoyed more.

Shakin' Stevens

Shakin’ Steven’s acquired this moniker due to a passing resemblance to the faded and fatted 1980s pop icon long before he developed the DTs, which might have otherwise have earned him the ‘Shaky’ tag. He’s been birding The Cliffs (see The Patches) since 1991 although spent much of 1992-96 in Aberdeen where he fell in with the dubious crowd that share this blog. Powered by fried egg rolls and single malt, Shaky is regularly found strutting his 80’s retro-style stuff on the high chalk.

THAT field? In THESE shoes? I think not! – Shaky reveals the real reason he’s not bagged Lap Bunt this year

Total patch list – 211

Best patch year – 157 in 2006

Best find on patch – Kent’s first and Britain’s tenth Isabelline Wheatear in 1996

Derek Nimmo

Going birding Nimmo-stylee - monocle by Swarowski, natch

Derek Nimmo has been birding the incomparable Wanstead Flats since 2005. He loves it, but is hardly ever there as he in fact just birds abroad instead whilst still proclaiming he is in fact a noble patch-worker. However, when not recording Just A Minute or being in a different country he sometimes finds the time to go over there and give it a good thrashing. His overall patch list is bordering on decent after over a decade, but is still risible compared to the coastal hotspots of the other players. That's the price you pay for birding an inland urban patch, but on the plus side it means that even shite birds become exciting again. All waders are classed as Mega.

Total patch list - 162

Best patch year - 2021 - 131

Best find on patch - Wryneck, Crane, YBW, Stone-Curlew, Wood Sand, Blackwit, Osprey and other dross. This is London zone 3, we don't get Snowy Owls here, not even porcelain ones.

Kevin Costner

After the failure of my big pelagic-based movie Waterworld, I took refuge in a post-apocalyptic village in the far north. Still retaining the rugged good looks that once melted the likes of Whitney Houston, don't believe me you should see how often the local mares chase me! Occasionally still wear the green tights for a cold seawatch session.

Total Patch List 195

Best Patch Year 144 (2002 & 2011)

Best Find - My Little Bunting (downgrade it all you like you bastards but you'll never take it from me, never.....oh sorry!)

Reg Hollis

"You're nicked, Sunshine!" Reg gets that Lancey bang to rights


Bushveld contemplates some more poaching on Reg's patch

Basil Faulty (no, that's not a misspelling)

Basil checks Birdline one more time to make sure those directions were correct

When the tourism trade in Torquay went south in 2003 there really was only one thing for it. So we sent  Manuel and Polly off to the Job Centre, pitched The Major off his bar stool, and sold up. Where did we end up? West Cork, Ireland, of course. It's paradise... just like Cornwall, but with more choughs and marginally less English people.

My approach to birding is similar to my approach to running hotels... and tends to be equally successful... hence the following low-listing stats:

The Mall (2013-2021 RETIRED)

Total Patch List: 104
Best Patch Year: 88 (2013)
Best Patch Finds: Mealy Redpoll (2011), Black Redstart (2011) and Pied Flycatcher (2012) and a couple of flyover hobbies (hey... it's an inland patch, so sue me).

Delighted to be joining the Patch Challenge in 2013 and adding a second Irish patch to the mix. Wouldn't do to let the UK crowd have things all their own way.

Squince (2022-Present)
Total Patch List: 127
Best Patch Year: 127 (2023)
Best Patch Finds: Lesser Scaup (2022), Black-winged Stilt (2023), Cliff Swallow (2023)

Keith Firestarter

"Are you looking at my bird?"

After leaving Aberdeen in 1998 and wandering the world pursuing so called work counting and watching birds, Keith now has a base in Singapore between work trips. 

He has emperor penguin on his year list, but not house sparrow. Nice. 

Patch list: 40 plus and counting...

Best find: yet to happen