Sunday, January 04, 2015

And they're off!

Long time no see. Since the last post on here there has been a host of Christmassy running around to do, then we had a week over in Dumfries and Galloway, only returning yesterday. This visit to Scotland is the first time we have driven south into the country, staying over near Stranraer, it is at least 40 miles south of home! More of that stay later this week once I have sorted some photos.

Back to today. I was pleased to get back home to finally start some Patch Birding a few days behind the pack. As you have seen already, I am in friendly competition outside of the Patchwork Challenge too, with Steve Gale  down in Surrey who had had a nice start at home, by putting  some serious leg work in. I was keen to kick off.

It is easy to start the year by racing around after things like heron or skylark, but this time I have taken a different approach. I am trying to target scarce patch species, and hopefully filling in the common species as I go.

This morning saw me up and out before sunrise to head down to the southern most extremity of my Howick patch to look for Grey Plover, gulls, divers and grebes on the sea. The day was gloriously clear and sunny with a light frost to sharpen things up a bit, ideal winter birding conditions. As the sun rose, the day's highlight fell much easier than expected - a Grey Plover with a few Oystercatchers on the beach at Howick Burn mouth. Result! This is the first I've seen on the patch since 2012. As expected, other scarcities remained just that, the best of the rest being 3 Stonechats and a pair of Red breasted Mergansers.

The day ended on 63 species (45% ). All on foot from home.

8 comments:

Steve Gale said...

So Stewart takes an early lead.... Let the games begin!!!

Stewart said...

Thats not a lead, the percentages are the thing, so your 50 is 55.55% compared to my 45%. You're out front by a reasonable margin ;)

amanda peters said...

Good luck with your bird challange, look forward to seeing what you find.
Amanda xx

Dean Stables said...

Guess who`s back ? Yeah....me.
Had a bit of a rollercoaster of a ride, last year....but pleased to say it`s onwards & upwards from now :-)

Stewart said...

Amanda - Thanks, watch this space.

Dean - Yay! I was just checking before Xmas if there had been any blog activity from you and there hadnt? Glad your back Dean, sned me a link and I'll add you to the side bar :) Happy New Year.

Dean Stables said...

Cheers....and Happy New Year to you too, Stewart.
Started back the other day mate and it can be found at www.paintingbyphotos.co.uk
PS - you still on the same mobile number ? only i`ve changed mine.

Stewart said...

Yes the number is the same Dean....

Dean Stables said...

I`ll add it back to my contacts then, cheers Stewart.