Wednesday, 22 January 2014


Looks like the brown envelope paid off as I've been elevated to second place in the inaugural
Patchwork Challenge 2013 final listings for Inland North.

Only joking honest! Great effort by Mr Holliday...(next year I think he needs to take one)
149 was actually the total number of species seen by one and all on our patch...if only I'd of found that ruddy Stilt Sandpiper...rats!

bring on 2014


Sunday, 19 January 2014


Just had this sent via twitter, I didn't know anything about it honest...apart from tweeting it?

Just like Evil Kagawa me get even one day..who Birdwatch think they are, post my tweets..racists!!!!!!!!!!
No grudge I bear, I sit on fence...I hate @@%$&......


Friday, 17 January 2014


Well a year on the 'Patchwork Challenge' patch and I get a creditable 9th.
If we remove the East Anglian dudes cos lets face it, they've got a massive head start on the rest of us that puts me upto 5th.
Same goes for the South West bit of an advantage what?
That gets me up to 4th.
As I saw more species than some above me then up I go again...
That puts me into 2nd place.
My % of 112.0805 is much higher than Mr Holliday's 108 so whap a doodle do...1st place...sorted!
All's fair in love and birding what?

bring on 2014.....#theflashes


Sunday, 5 January 2014

2013 WHAT A YEAR!!

Some scores on the doors to tidy up the various lists etc.
2013 proved to be an awesome birding year and one of those years that will be looked back on as historic or you could say epic!.
The year prior (2012) saw my British list move up by zero, yes! a tick free year.
But then came 2013 and the BOOM!! was heard, text, tweeted 7 times.
7 lifers if all get accepted etc etc!

British List


Year List wise I ended up with 279 (non bou)

Patch (Marbury CP/Neumann's Flashes) a very respectable 143 tied 1st.

A good battle all year with Greg and Malc.

I've also started putting all my records onto the BTO Birdtrack website that just happens to run a couple of league tables so guess what..

BOU of course, gonna try for 300 in 2014 BOU (we'll see?)

A great year and hopefully more of the same in 2014 as the predicted weather systems just keep on coming.

My #Patchbirding challenge for this year will involve a year long stomp around the Flashes and just the Flashes (Neumann's and Ashton's) something that no one has done before (that I know of).
Like I do I've created another blog just for this campaign...

See you on the patch dudes! 


Tuesday, 31 December 2013

THE PATCH YEAR 2013 part.2

Just bear with me a mo cos I've just found a piccy of the Wood Warbler I found in April...

photo (slightly edited) by are newest patch recruit Jeff Wood..nice one!

June - 1 species added (total - 131), that being Green Sandpiper

You can see what I mean when I say most patchers (old school) would have hung up their bins by now. A paltry one species and I did look honest. One of twelve Green Sands on the mud at Haydn's Pool.

July - 3 species (total - 134)
         highlights - Hobby, Black-necked Grebe and Willow Tit

A hard work month patch wise but still a few quality year ticks found their way onto the list. Willow Tits still hanging in there...just!! One success we did have was Common Terns again breeding on the patch or shall we say trying. This pair (there were two) attempted to nest on the island on Neumann's but eventually gave up due to the huge amount of Mute Swan action (roost, preening, squabbling) that took place most evenings on or just by the island.. T'other pair of Terns did really well again on Marston Ponds, raising one young that I even got on the house flyover list. Rafts put out by those darn maggot danglers doing the trick...well played chaps!

The magical Kid Brook looking southwards towards Marbury CP. Mid summer and a bird free zone, too many tourists, farmers with guns and dingy sailors about. But all was not over for one of the patches best bird magnets, see later...

Budworth Mere at it's finest on a lovely warm summers evening.

August - 2 species (total - 136)
              highlights what an understatement.. STILT SANDPIPER!!!! and a wee flock of Ruff.

I get a casual text via the patch grapevine ''probable Curlew Sand on Nf''', I finish what I'm doing at home and wander down to Neumann's and meet BT Dave and Mr T at the entrance gate. ''Curlew Sand we think but it might be a Stilt Sand according to Greg''....''what the ???''
I casually race round to the north end of the flash as the bird has now moved a lot closer and is feeding with Lapwings just by the island. I set up my scope and checkout the bird in question..


I congratulate Greg for his find or should I say re-identification and promptly put out the news to the masses.

If only I had of gotten up early and done what I had been doing the past few weeks this patch mega would or could have been mine...rats bottom! lesson learnt once again (the hard way).
This would have been huge points haul for the Patchwork Challenge but all I get is a paltry 5...bummer!

The twitch in full swing...thumbs up all round

A great bird though and incredibly the second one for the patch and Cheshire, the first being the well traveled (in Cheshire) Frodsham bird of 1984...29 years ago phew!
Neumann's was now in prime condition with the water levels perfect for passage waders and this enabled a flock of Ruff (6) to spend most of the month there or on drying out fast Haydn's Pool nearby.
It is estimated that at least 700+ birders visited the patch to grip the Stilt...and we never got a tick bucket into action or charged the Brummies to park! oh well maybe next time.

September - 3 species (total - 139)
                    highlights - Caspian Gull, Whinchat  and Curlew Sandpiper (a real one)

I had seen and photographed what I thought to be a Yellow-legged Gull and posted pictures on this blog. To the rescue came Pete Kinsella and he had been checking said gull photos and realized the bird was actually an adult CASPIAN GULL a patch first. It was I have to say an educational bird and not a classic but with the patch halfway between Richmond Bank and Sandbach it was only a matter of time before one dropped in. Cheers Pete, I think I know what to look for next time (cough!).

Next up was a rather excellent duo of Whinchats that I found on Ashton's Flash whilst checking out a Wheatear found earlier by Malc (serious year list contender) how he missed them I don't know but I did the decent thing and put the news out #marburypatch. They were one afternoon birds typical of the patch.

October - 2 species (total - 141)
                 highlights - Egyptian Goose and a grip back Barnacle Goose (3 actually)

Par for the course finds me twitching off patch Shetland for Thick-billed Warbler (actually there at the time) and Cape May Warbler nice!! with vast amounts of work in between seriously limits my patch time. But I still manage to keep the old year list ticking (no pun intended) along.
A Gypo Goose not the Orinoco Goose of earlier in the, year comes and goes and I think I've missed this patch lifer when one evening it does the decent thing and flies back in with the usual Canada Goose flock..sorted! to roost on Kid Brook spit (the magnet is still on)

Another session at Bund Hide for yours truly...

November - zilch!

Despite many hours in the field and various other places I cannot add anything to the year list. 
The UK birding year has been epic to say the least and my pockets are all but empty. Thus even though I bash the patch now the awesome Autumn has ended not a shred of anything new can be squeezed out of it. 
There is though December with it's usual surprise or two?

December - 2 species (total - 143)
                     highlights - Yellowhammer and Little Egret

So the year ends once again and I find myself joint top of the patch year list rankings (for the 5th time so surely I should keep the trophy) Mr Baker my fellow year list winner with Malc a close third on 140
Add to the list White Wagtail, Blue-headed Wagtail, Black Swan and Orinoco Goose and we're still shy of the magical 150 maybe next year (I said that last year).

Final scores on the doors for the #PWC 143 species - 167 year just The Flashes!
Patch Year List - 143 that's 96% of total species seen (149), a grand score me thinks.


Monday, 30 December 2013


January - 85 species
               highlights - 3 species of owl including Barn and Little, Jack Snipe, GN Diver, Brambling,                                               Goosander.

Seems light years ago now when the first major bird to appear on the patch for 2013 was the cracking
Great Northern Diver that first appeared on 22nd January. It gave 'great' views as it fished just off the boat house on Budworth Mere.

The diver didn't stay that long as I can remember and moved off by the time the ice and snow came a week later.

Frozen Bittern Hide

The view from Bittern Hide...there was the usual Bittern somewhere in the Coward Reedbed opposite.

February - 5 species (total- 90)
                  highlights - Red-legged Partridge and the usual Lesser Pecker but this year no female!
                                   Tree Sparrows moved a tad closer with a pair seen regularly by the Yacht club.

The Patch Pinkie was back,showing well in the top fields along Budworth Lane.

March - 8 species (total - 98)
              highlights - Rock Pipit, Marsh Harrier(2), Yellow-legged Gull and a drake Scaup.

BOOM!! and I find the first real mega on the patch a Rock Pipit (patch lifer) playing hide and seek on the mere edge at Kid Brook. A well twitched bird by the local patchers some of whom never left the safety of the mere side path by the boat house!!! 

Second BOOM!! happened when I was twitching a Marsh Harrier at the Flashes. I arrived well late (work) and not only found one but TWO!! Marsh Harriers in the corner reedbed of Neumann's Flash.
A patch lifer as well, get in!
On the mere a gull sp was finally nailed by Greg and Dave as a Yellow-legged Gull, nice work chaps.
 The mere also played host to a rather tasty drake Scaup the only one of the year me thinks?

A Lesser Scaup must surely be in the post, maybe next year?
Of interest an LRP that I found on Kid Brook spit was not only the earliest patch record but possibly the earliest in Cheshire also.
March certainly kick started the patch year list proper with 98 species seen already just two shy of the 100.
The patch had also due to the weather acquired a new lake...Lake Ashton's

The patch had also seen some action (at long bloody last) by Cheshire Wildlife Trust who in their haste to spend some money! had built a boardwalk through Coward Reedbed.

 Heaven knows how many Bitterns and Water Rails they squashed building this ill-conceived motorway. Its now used by lycra clad joggers, pram pushers and night riding mountain bikers to access the once serene depths of Cowards Wood but it is great for avoiding that headcase of a farmer, oh! and it's closed 6 months of the year??

April - 25 species (total - 123)
           highlights - Spring for one, Whooper Swan, Glaucous Gull, Wood Warbler and Redstart.

Out in the garden one evening and a calling flock of Whoopers flew over the house coming off the patch a nice double whammy (patch and garden ticks). My first White-winged Gull for over 20 years on the patch. an adult Glaucous briefly stopped over on Kid Brook before flying the length of the mere past an in conversation Mr Taylor (he dipped!) stood at the slipway...doh!
Another great find by yours truly was a singing Wood Warbler that was well twitched by many from around the county and beyond. It stayed for several days faithful to its preferred tree by the boat house. I also managed to relocate a non local found Redstart over on Ashton's. This again created a mini twitch and was a patch lifer for a few.

Redstart twitch in full swing.

Without doubt April is the month on the patch, miss it and you'll miss out.

May - 7 species (total - 130)
           highlights - 5 species of wader Avocet, Sanderling, Blackwit, Greenshank
                             and the only Ringed Plover of the year (for me anyway).

Kid Brook spit once again provided the entertainment with a trio of waders, Sanderling, LRP and Dunlin which hung around for ages and allowed close views in between dodging the anger of the local tosser of a farmer.

Not to be out done Neumann's Flash produced a pair of Avocets most probably en route to Frodsham, Greeshank and Black-tailed Godwit.
Other goodies included Spotted Flycather in Big Wood as per usual and Lesser Whitethroat on Dairy House Meadows.
Most patchers now in days gone by would be hanging up their bins. With 130 on the clock the next six months are spent getting the other 20 (if at all possible) to reach the magical 150.

part 2 will follow shortly...


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Welsh not that one dude!

Over in Angelsey at the start of the month and took some phone scoped piccies of some of the waders at Cemlyn during the high tide. Just been downloading stuff and forgot I'd taken some of a Whimbrel which had me thinking...bit late what?
Of course no flight shots and no rump shots but is it possible to do Hudsonian without?

A good flock of Grey Plover and a small flock of Purple Sandpiper were also present, never seen either here before!