Christmas comes but once a year.Nowadays patch ticks don't come much more frequently.
We had our traditional Christmas Day walk at Druridge this morning,the first bird was a barn owl hunting by the road - a year tick. The other highlights were an ermine stoat, it's aeons since I last saw a winter stoat - this one still had some brown along the ridge of its back, otherwise white, and a merlin.
As the road between Cresswell Village and Cresswell Pond is now pretty much impassable, we headed home via Widdrington and thank god we did!
Just as we rounded the double bends, I spotted a bird crouched by the roadside. Bins on it, it was a partridge, but not a grey partridge, common at Druridge, especially lately - this one was a red-legged partridge!
Then there were two, then three, then a whole covey of at least 18 birds! Amazing! What better Christmas present could a patch worker want than a full patch tick?
I see red-legs all over Northumberland, often within two miles of Druridge, but I've never actually seen one on the patch - until today
It has to be said though, only a patch watcher could get excited about seeing red-legged partridges!
PATCH LIST 221
Merry Christmas to one and all!