Friday 29 March 2013

Back on the patch

I was back on the patch today after my trip to Mallorca.

Before I set off, I had envisaged returning to the patch to find wheatears, sand martins, chiffchaffs and sandwich terns....maybe even a swallow or a ring ouzel.

Instead I return to sub-zero temperatures and spring well and truly on hold! Talking to Alan Tilmouth and ADMc, it sounds as if there has been no migrant action at all yet, anywhere up north.

Chatting to Andy and Alan, it was good to catch up with an old friend - Tijan Kanteh. I first met with Tijan when he guided a group of us around the Gambia in 2004 and then later a couple of Birdfairs. Tijan is a really nice, funny guy and great guide, it was good to see him again. He had been out birding with Steve and Dave, I wonder what he thought of the cold as they walked along the beach?

Tijan with ADMc in the Budge Screen
There were a few signs of spring. Meadow pipits in the dunes and by the flash, skylarks singing and pied wagtails (also by the flash). Also of note was a woodcock, which came out of the shelterbelt as I wandered through.

I've heard all about the 'wreck' of seabirds on the East coast, particularly involving auks, so I had a wander along the beach to see for myself the devastation. Between the north end of the patch and the big dune, I found 22 puffins, seven guilliemots, one razorbill and a kittiwake. All very sad, but I am sure it won't have too much of an impact on the population - we'll have to wait and see.

dead puffin - one of 22

There were also lots of cuttlefish 

Two loony-tunes found a way to keep out the cold - dancing and doing star jumps on top of the dunes. Not a bad idea!


82 ringed plover
83 oystercatcher
84 buzzard
85 woodcock
86 pied wagtail

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