Sunday, January 04, 2015
And they're off!
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.