Tuesday, 28 December 2010

2011 Patches

2011 Local patches
Ely Local patch
Corton/Hopton Local patch (bottom three marked squares)
Aberlady Local patch
My work Local patch

Admitting defeat!!

December has been pointless as I have spent most of the month in Cornwall or Aberdeenshire so have added no new birds to the patch list leaving the way for Johnboy to thump me by almost 20 species, 157-138, I think. Its Johns first ever victory in any bird list type challenge and has left me thinking up as many excuses as possible (offshore too much, in a birdless area of the UK etc etc) but none have been believed!

So, I will congratulate John on his victory (and try and avoid paying for the prize) and look to 2011. How can I beat someone who lives and works on his patch? First, invite more people (less chance of coming last at least), so welcome Stu (Ely patch) and Dave (Yellowcraig patch). Secondly, reduce the size of the patch (3km squares) and thirdly a points system so that you get rewarded for finding good birds and penalised for twitching.

The points system is based on the status of the bird on birdguides website:

Status Points
Common =1
Local =2
Scarce =3
Rare =4
Mega =5

Double points for all scarce birds found and triple points for all rare and mega birds found. Minus the equivalent points for any birds twitched.

Finally, too stop the inland birder from moaning seabirds will get double points if seen in an inland site (Ely!).

Hopefully all these pointless new rules will stop Aberlady running away with it this time!!!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Office birding again (and Cornwall)

Its been a while since I last posted, mainly due to two reasons, I have seen no new birds on the patch and........I've been to lazy to keep up to date! All my local patch birding has again been done down at the beach near work but it has sadly been lacking in quality. The 15th had the unusal sight of a Grey Heron sat on the beach, the 17th had a bit of passage going south, 100+ Cormorants, 20+ Brent Geese, 2 Common Scoter and 10+ Med Gulls while on the 18th there was a bit of duck passage, 75 Wigeon, 2 Common Scoter, 12 Teal and 3 RB Mergansers (patch tick) all flew south.

On the 25th my office moved briefly to Reading, Red Kites from the train making the journey bearable. Since I was almost there (4 hours away) I decided to take a long weekend in SW Cornwall. NOt much birding was done and too much drinking but I did get out on Sunday and walked from Marazion to Drift Reservoir.
It was very cold and Marazion marsh was frozen, pushing out 40+ Snipe into the open and a Bittern made a brief appearance. Several Chiffchaffs feed busily, mainly at Long Rock pool and along the path on the eastern side of the marsh. Also along that path I found two Firecrests, almost a guaranteed spot for them in winter when I lived down there.
Out in the bay several divers were quite distant but I managed to pin down 2 BT, 1 GN Diver and a Slav Grebe. A Swallow hawked over the beach, hopefully stocking up before fleeing the snow that came the day after.
The walk along the coast to Penzance was pretty uneventful with a small flock of Common Scoter offshore and three Black Redstarts on the rocks as you enter PZ. Walking along Penzance Prom I picked up half a dozen Purple Sands on the beach and a Kingfisher flew past. Another Kingfisher was feeding in Newlyn Harbour and another Slav was out at sea just off the harbour.
I finished the day at Drift Reservoir and managed to pick out the BN Grebe that had been reported.
Kingfisher (honest)
Number 3OV2

Horsey Seal

A couple of Saturdays ago I went to Horsey to see some seals and guess what........I saw some. Mostly grey although one common slipped in amongst them. Other than the seals there wasn't much happening, a flock of 60+ Common Scoter offshore and a Green Sandpiper in the field near the entrance. As we left at dusk we were greeted by several hundred Pinkies coming into roost, so it seems winter is finally here!!

Common and Grey Seal