Sunday, January 20, 2013
The wind was strong again, cutting, on the coast path, but after adding an extra layer, I took position on the cliff top at Cullernose Point gazing at a largely blank sea. If I had not been doing the Patch Challenge, I would have given this no more than a cursory glance and been off for shelter, but common species take on extra significance with an added spice of competition.
So, I sat it out for 45 minutes seeing three new additions that would have hardly had me lifting the bins later in the year -
Gannet 3 adults S
Kittiwake 1 adult N
Wigeon 2 N
Eider 3 N
Common Scoter 1 female N
Fulmar 30+ milling around.
Amazing to see the top two species are worth two points in the challenge...
In the fields were 100+ Skylarks, 40 Golden Plover, 2 Lapwing, 30 Fieldfare and 50+ Linnets.
At this stage I retired home for breakfast and to shake off hypothermia before heading out again in an inland direction.
A wet corner was very productive when 11 Snipe flushed with 2 Woodcock nearby. I'll keep an eye on this damp spot for Jack Snipe, a full new species for the patch, as the weeks go on. A rough field here had more Fieldfares and Redwings with 3 Reed Bunting but still no Yellowhammers?
3 Brown Hares were beginning to 'box' on the heugh.
The route home was mainly quiet in the woods but after some lengthy perseverance my target surrendered -a Treecreeper, skulking about in the moss low down on a tree trunk. The pond here had 6 Mallard a Little Grebe and a Heron. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in full drumming mode, a hint of spring in this winter weather.
That's me then for another week, 90 species (100 points) and a new record for January after 87 in Jan 2010. With still another weekend to go and a common species or two left to find, hopefully I can push the boundary even further.