Thursday 31 December 2015

Left it late for a full patch tick!

I left it a bit late to squeeze another patch tick in this year but a long-billed dowitcher flying around the patch before heading back to its favoured Cresswell pond this morning was a very welcome addition to the patch list. Not the greatest views, I wished I had seen it on the deck, but it still counts.

A big thank you to Jonathon Farooqi for the tip-off that it was there.

My second patch list addition of the year following September's fantastic red-footed falcon. This takes the patch list up to 238.

Jonathon had also found a couple of water pipits on the Budge fields, they were joined by a third for a while. These are the first water pipits I have had on the patch in eight years, the last ones being in front of the Oddie hide and along the haul road.

The dowitcher and water pipits take my year list up to 161 species. Not a disaster, but not great.

This snip from my spreadsheet shows the last eight years totals from the patch. Maybe 2013 and 2014 were just exceptional years...

So what did I miss?

The obvious omissions from this years list include

Salvonian Grebe - six out of the last eight years
Grey Plover -  5/8
Bonxie  - 7/8 (the first year I not recorded bonxie!)
Redstart and Pied Fly - 4/8
Garden warbler - 6/8
Lesser whitethroat - 6/8
Bullfinch - 5/8

Also of note today was an odd duck that I still can't make my mind up about. It was with the pochards and looked like an Aythya. At first I thought it might have some shoveler in it, as the head was green and the bill looked long and spatula shaped. The more I looked at it, the more I ruled out shoveler - although the bill was very long and flatish

The head shape was right for scaup and the colour looked good. The bird seemed to show some reddish brown on the front and under the tail - in certain light. I still think it is a hybrid - probably scaup x pochard - but it could be a first winter drake scaup in moult. I'll need to have a better look.

Well, that's it from me for 2016. Not sure when I'll get back to the patch, but when I do, I hope that dowitcher is there.

Sunday 6 December 2015

Recovered Stormy

We only caught two storm petrels in a single session this summer, the weather getting the better of us.  One of them was already ringed (a control in the language that ringers speak).

We've just heard back from BTO with details of where it was ringed; Eilean nan Ròn which is off the Kyle of Tongue on the north coast of Scotland, only 26 days before we caught it.

A distance of 403km. It is amazing the distances these tiny seabirds travel!

Here is a google map of storm petrels we've 'controlled'

Nothing much to report from Druridge today. The long-staying 'Cresswell' long-billed dowitcher put in another appearance on the Budge fields again this morning before heading back south to it's favoured spot. It obviously doesn't think much of Druridge - it doesn't hang around for long.

There are now six pochards on the big pool, a handful of goldeneye and a red-breasted merganser - there were 15 'mergs' on the sea.