Sunday, 23 January 2011


While out on patch today I managed to catch up with the white winged gull that I had of Corton last week, almost in the same place but a lot closer, allowing me to finally ID it as a 1st winter Iceland Gull. 3 Sanderling flew past heading north and a Woodcock flushed out of the hedgerow along Hopton disused railway. Three more new birds leaves me on 49 sp (55 pts).

Elsewhere, Lond Lakes hosted the usual mix with one of the Greylags sporting an orange neck collar, while Tufty numbers increased to 18 males & 17 females.

Cantley Geese

While suffering froma mild hangover on Saturday I decided to have a trip to Cantley on the way home from Norwich. There were suprisingly good numbers of geese there, 10+ Barnacles, 300+ White-fronted, 100+ tiaga Bean and 2000-3000 Pink-feet. The much debated and rather plastic Lesser White-fronted Goose was also still there enjoying the close company of a few Bean Geese.

Changing Boundaries

Aberlady local patch: take 2
Yellowcraig Local Patch
Dave has finally submitted his patch and in his words it is a nice mix of habitat. Meanwhile, over confidence is in evidence a wee bit further along the Lothian coast as Aberlady has decided to change his boundaries to 'give us a chance'!!!

An unexpected long weekend meant I managed to get on patch on Friday. On the way there I found my first thrush flock of the winter in the area, 2 Fieldfares (ok, not exactly a flock!). Hopton was very quiet but as I left it a flock of geese flew low over my head. 26 White-fronted Geese circled briefly before heading west, presumably heading to the Yare valley. While watching these a Song Thrush appeared in the hedge next too me. The rest of the day was a bit of a wash out as I got soaked to the skin but there was a wee bit of movement out at sea, 2 Red-throated Divers and a Cormorant flew south and 24 Wigeon flew north. With these 3 additions my list is now at 46 (51 points).

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Roll on Spring!!!

I hit my local patch again this morning and not suprisingly in the high winds there was very little about again. On the way there I did manage to see a Barn Owl hunting near Hobland and a female Scaup at Lound Lakes was the only new bird of note there from yesterday.

On patch I managed 5 new year ticks, Mistle Thrush, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Rock Pipit and Red-throated Diver. The highlight of the day was the 4 Red-throated Divers flying south together past Corton. My patch list is now at 43 species (47pts).

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Dropping valuable points!

News during the week came through that Aberlady was already on 56 points and counting meant I was exactly 50% behind the early leader (thankfully Ely is on a mighty 2 points!!). Nothing of note was seen in my work patch during the week, although I did have 6 Waxwings over my house on the 13th.

I managed my second visit to the Hopton patch today but again it was pretty dead. A quick visit to Lound Lakes (via Woodfarm Lane, male Bullfinch, Brambling, 2 Stock Doves & 6 LT Tits) had me counting many a feral bird, 130+ Greylags, 69 Barnacles, 3 Gypsies and a Barnacle/Canada hybrid. There was also 15 male & 13 female Gadwall, 6 Tufties and 3 male & 1 female Shoveler on the lakes. Another male Bullfinch and flock of 16+ LT Tits were along the lane leading to the lakes.

On the patch it started well with a Kestrel, 2 Sparrowhawks & 3 Egyptian Geese along Hopton old railway line. A large flock of gulls nearby held 100+ BH Gulls, 20+ Herring Gulls, 6 LBB Gulls, 2 GBB Gulls and an adult Med Gull. The sewage works and church were still pretty quiet again, the female Bullfinch was still in the same place as last week.

Along the coast things picked up. First, a dark-bellied Brent Goose flew in off the sea and I then picked up a feeding flock of gulls 800m+ out at sea. Most were Herring Gulls but there was one large 'white-winged' Gull. It was about the same size as the associating Herring Gulls but too far to ID as a Glauc or Iceland for definate. Typical, the one time I don't take my scope!!! The flock moved on south after about 3 minutes and the sea held little else, 31 Wigeon, 2 Mallard and a 1st winter Med Gull flew south.

So the years total is now 38 species (41 points)

9th January - Back on the Patch!

I finally made it onto my patch last Sunday, unfortunately it was a real struggle with very few birds about. I managed a massive 28 species. Highlights were thin on the ground, a pale-bellied Brent Goose flew south out at sea past Corton, a female Bullfinch was along the old railway line at Corton and 5 Waxwings flew overhead at Corton Church.

I also visited the 2km part of my patch that has been culled for the competition which includes Lound Lakes. Amongst the usual mix of Canada's, Greylag's, Gypsies, Tufties etc was a Ruddy Shelduck, obviously a genuine vagrant because its in Norfolk!!!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Wrong Patch again!!!

My last day in Scotland saw me visit another persons local patch again. This time it was the turn of Mark "the Fat Golden Paul Bear Scholes" Lewis's patch, Girdleness. Things hadn't changed since my last visit there a few years ago, the weather was bitter and wet, too much dog sh*t about and very few birds. It started well with the long staying Glaucous Gull showed in its usual roofs. After that there wasn't much about, a low count of 20-30 Purple Sandpipers at Greyhope Bay, 2 Common Scoter and a Great Crested Grebe at Nigg Bay the highlights. On the non-bird front there was a lot of dolphin activity at the mouth with over 20 Bottle-nosed Dolphins.Glaucous GullBottle-nosed Dolphins

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year, Wrong Patch!

2011 started the same way as 2010 ended as I found myself over 500 miles from my local patch. The 1st saw me walking around my dads local patch and we struggled to 40 species. Blackbird was the first bird of the year and my parents garden soon produced a few birds including 7 Whooper Swans feeding in the field next to their house. A walk along the river Urie was productive, Goosander, Cormorant, Mallard, Dipper (x3), Woodcock and my first ever Goldeneye for the patch. Other usual suspects for the area were soon added including Long-tailed Tit, Peregrine, Yellowhammer, Siskin, Tree Sparrow and Jay. The walk ended with two good records in Whiteford, 2 male and female Bullfinch and a male Brambling.
Whooper Swan and a local rarity, Goldeneye.