Sunday 28 October 2012

Dovekies, a patch record and the 'Bush of Plenty'

I managed two visits to the patch this weekend


Saturday's highlights were out to sea. An afternoon visit once the worst of the weather had passed, I went straight to the dunes for a look on the sea, little auks had been much reported and I was keen to see some, I wasn't disappointed.

I saw four, probably five 'dovekies' in an hour, one of them was really close, just beyond the breakers. These were my first little auks on the patch in five years! This doesn't mean there hasn't been little auk passage in the last five years, just that I have aversion to standing on the dunes in freezin cold north-easterly to look for them.

Other highlights from my one hour seawatch were seven pochard flying north and a great-northern diver on the sea. Gannets were scarce, shag numbered seven and there were a few kittiwakes.

Away from the sea a patch record was broken, for the maximum pheasant count in a visit. A huge tally of 31 of gormless individuals in a stubble field in front of High Chibburn Farm, they must've been on by shooting somewhere nearby. A small flock of 12 golden plover were by the haul road flash with 2 bar-tailed godwit.


I had a good bash around the patch today, it was grey, cold and miserable and the birding reflected the day. This silhouette of curlews sums the day up.

grey skies with two curlews
The outstanding highlight was a merlin, lifting a flock of starling of the fields by the haul road flash before bombing on through the dunes and out of sight. Passerines had been thin on the ground until I got to the 'Bush of Plenty'!

A small, somewhat isolated bush by the fence on the edge of dunes. Hardly worth a second glance normally, but there was stonechat perched on-top, always worth a check for a sibe.


It was soon joined by a male stonechat, then a chiffchaff popped out, pursued by a great tit, giving it some grief. A wren soon appeared, followed by two dunnocks and a robin. They thought this mediocre bush too small for them all and flitted over the road to make way for a couple of meadow pipits and another stonechat. This small, innocuous hawthorn bush had just about doubled my passerine tally and shall, from this day hence, be known as the 'Bush of Plenty'.

145 little auk
146 pochard

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