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 www.patchworkchallenge.blogspot.co.uk 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 points...next year just The Flashes!
Patch Year List - 143 that's 96% of total species seen (149), a grand score me thinks.