Sunday 1 July 2012

Patch Tick!

They don't come often these days, but today saw another new bird added to my Druridge patch list. Mandarin Duck. OK, it's not a mega rare eastern migrant, but it's new for the patch and it's on my list.

It took a bit to get, after last nights failed efforts, I had a 6.30 start this morning but the duck proved to be illusive. Thankfully, whilst I was having a wander, it was re-found by the original finder, Steve Rippon. It only showed for a couple of minutes before disappearing again, probably sat up in the trees.

The mandarin takes the patch list to 226, my first patch tick of 2012 and the first since last years storm petrel.

Elsewhere this morning the long-eared owl juveniles were very vocal, calling all morning. This one was visible from the public right of way.

Peek-a-boo. Juvenile long-eared owl watching me watching it
 They are also very mobile but are still being fed by the adults.

Silhouette of long-eared owl adult with a vole

A female tufted duck had a brood of five newly-hatched ducklings.
Adult female tufted duck with five ducklings
Cute. tufted duckling

A tip off from Dave Elliott helped me add cuckoo to the year list as I scoped an adult flying south past the plantation toward Hemscotthill. Seemingly, Dave had seen six cuckoos at East Chevington this morning.

This afternoon I was back on the patch, this time ringing the barn owl chicks from the nestbox on the farm. I've been watching the adults hunting around the patch for the last couple of weeks, taking plenty of prey into the box so is suspected there might be a good-sized brood and I was right. When we checked the box we found four good-sized young inside, two of them not far off fledging.

One of four barn owl chicks ringed from the nestbox
Even at this age it can be possible to sex barn owls. The spots on the underwing of this bird shows it will be a female

Ringed and 'posted' back into their box. They'll be fledging soon.

After ringing the owls, I had a drive along the dune road and my luck was in. A raptor caught my eye, flying toward the car from right, from the dunes. As it drew level, I could see a 'moustache' - an adult hobby flew over the car and then over the bushes...gone. There has been a hobby reported regularly over the last week or so from Cresswell up to Chevington. Nice to see it at Druridge.

122 mandarin duck
123 cuckoo
124 hobby


St Anger said...

A great blog! I've been at druridge recently watching the barn owl from the hide! Or trying to...there are so many people going at te min! Are there any other places to watch the barnie from? I have a portable hide, is there anywhere to set tha up? Obviously well away from the nest! Hope you don't mind me asking!


Ipin said...

Daz, your best bet might be to use your car as a hide from the dune road. Both adults use the grass on either side of the road regularly at dusk, perching on posts etc. Be quick though, the young are about to/have fledged so the behaviour of the adults might not be as predictable once the young are independent.

St Anger said...

Thanks very much for the info mate! Hoping to get there sometime this week.
Hopefully I will get some good views of them! Look forward to reading your future blogs!
Thanks again mate!