Sunday, January 31, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Minimal effort spent on the patch today, but still gleaned fulmar and kestrel for the year (81). A (the same??) red kite was seen briefly over Rathbarry late morning, and a 2nd winter med gull flew over Long Strand early afternoon, while the great crested grebe was still on the lake, with 14 tufted ducks. The juvenile spoonbill was still loitering at Ross this afternoon too.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
A winter plumage great crested grebe was gracing the lake with its presence this morning (78) - only my second ever on patch! The Aythya flock had at least 19 tufted duck present (although they kept diving so it was tricky to count them!), with a female pochard in with them.
A black redstart at Long Strand late afternoon was another welcome one for the year (79).
|Erm, its the smaller one on the right!|
Sunday, January 10, 2010
A HUGE flock of ducks on the lake first thing this morning - could see 28 blobs out there, all apparently diving. When it eventually got light, I could make out 21 tufted ducks, 4 pochards, the female scaup and 2 coots all hanging out together - impressive counts for the lake in recent times (although you should have seen it back in the 70's, when it was really good - mcA pers comm). Easily the biggest Aythya flock I've had here - is there more to come? Still at least 5 woodcock knocking about Galley too.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
After yesterday's excitement, I wasn't sure there'd be many birds left on the move, but, although visibly less than yesterday, there were still a few thousand thrushes over in the first 2 hours of the day. The rate was averaging about 50 thrushes per minute for the first couple of hours, which multiplies up to roughly 6,000 birds in the first 2 hours. Again, I'd say the majority were redwing, with fieldfare and song thrush in there too. Lapwing numbers were up on yesterday, with a minimum count of 835 west between 8.45 and 11.05. Didn't see many snipe moving today, but there were easily 200 scattered throughout the fields of Galley. Plenty woodcock too, with c.12 knocking about, including 2 from the house.
There were a good few wigeon moving too, which is unusal for Galley, with 4 landing on the lake, early in the day, and then another 23 flying over Long Strand later. Once I finally ventured out, 6 shelduck over the lake were unexpected, but they moved on quickly (77). Duck numbers on the lake increased to 17 tufted duck, 1 pochard and 1 scaup by evening.
Looking out the window at 8.40am, I gradually became aware that there were serious numbers of thrushes on the move. Scanning with bins, I could see that there were thrushes all across the bay, all moving west towards ross and toe head. For the next 3 hours there was a continuous movement of birds over the bay - I did a few counts, and birds were moving through at approx 250 birds per minute. If you multipy this up, the numbers start to get pretty amayzing! Being a bit conservative, we'll call it 1,000 birds in 5 minutes, or 12,000 thrushes in an hour - the rate appeared pretty constant for the next 2 hours, so that's 24,000 thrushes. Even if we take half that number for the third hour (wasn't watching so intently, but the rate hadn't dropped much), that's another 6,000 birds, making 30,000 birds in the first 3 hours of day (not including the first 30 mins of daylight, when I wasn't watching). Wow!
So what were they all? I'd say that the vast majority, (80%?) were redwing, with 10% song thrush and 10% fieldfare - so thats approximately 24,000 redwing, 3,000 song thrush and 3,000 fieldfare. Wow!
In amongst the thrushes, there was other stuff too - a minimum of 300 snipe over, (largest flock was 23), 275 lapwing (largest flock 24), 150 starlings, 7 golden plover, 15 black-tailed godwits and another untagged red kite, in off the sea heading towards castlefreke. Wow!
News from Galley of a woodcock had me itching to get out for a bit, so drove up to the top fields, flushing another woodcock on the way - it sat on the wall 2 feet away, eye-balling me - full-fat patch tick! Goldcrest there too was new for the year. A quick boot of the top stubble fields revealed a flock of 20 skylarks, plus c.30 chaffinches, including a brambling, (one I missed last year), plus a raven. Wow! It was feckin freezing out though, so we didn't linger. Thrushes were still coming over in dribs and drabs, with the odd lapwing now and again. The 3 buzzards were still booting around too.
Back home, and a squizz at the lake revealed another year tick - 3 coot! My biggest ever count - in fact you could even call it a flock! Wow! Aythya numbers had also swollen to 7 tufted ducks, the male pochard and the female scaup. Crazy scenes! Quite a morning, all in all (75)!!
Friday, January 8, 2010
Congrats to North Don in Aberdeen for winning the 2009 patch list challenge. It was a close-run thing between himself and last years winner, fat paul scholes, but he ran out victorious in the end with a whopping 107.94% - amayzing! Here are photos of the much-coveted beautiful golden mallard trophy in its new place of worship (you can see why these things go for £50 on ebay - yes really!)
The winner of the much-coveted porcelain snowy owl was Galley Head for the black-headed bunting found in September at Shite Lane, with a whopping 92% of the votes! Thanks to all who voted. Here's some photos of this wondrous trophy, sans one wing, cos I still haven't got any superglue yet. Not sure how much one of these would fetch on ebay, but i'd say it would be a lot!
You can see why the patch challenge is such a draw, when you realise just how high the stakes are! Bet Gavin is kicking himself for signing up to it now! On the birding front, a quick glance at the lake late afternoon revealed that the male pochard, female scaup and 3 tufted ducks were still present.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Over the last couple of days I've gleaned lesser black-backed gull and stonechat for the year, but this morning there was more excitement, when my second red kite of the week flew past the house! Unlike the first bird, which was untagged, this one had an obvious purple wing tag on its left wing. It flew steadily into the wind, disappearing towards Red Strand (66). Happy days!