Friday, December 31, 2010

best patch year ever?

As 2010 draws to a close, and with nowt else to do, I thought I'd look back at the highs and lows of 2010 on the patch. I may have got the idea from here, but I'm sure Jonathan won't mind...

Best birding moment

The best birding on patch this year has to have been the wilson's petrel day back in July. Watching the second wilson's petrel come through right beside a storm petrel - amayzing stuff, particularly given the paucity of good seawatching this year. Watching an untagged red kite come in off the sea during a massive January cold weather movement of thrushes and waders was a pretty close second though! And I mustn't forget finding the 4 gadwall off Long Strand in December!

Worst birding moment

 Probably hearing about a fly-by great white egret while i was over in the UK - of course, it may not actually have been visible from the patch anyway, in fact, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been, almost certainly wasn't in fact!

Best patch bird

This is a tricky one, but I think it has to be the siberian stonechat out near the lighthouse - a wee cracker and quite unexpected. Feckin rare in irish terms too, so the sooner they split it the better!

Worst patch bird

Has to be hobby, as I missed at least 3 on patch, in a really good year for them! The annual dip on long-tailed skua was so expected that it barely hurts these days! Missing 3 red-breasted mergansers on an otherwise crap, "i can't be arsed going" seawatch was also a bit galling!

Best patch find

A couple of contenders, although neither showed well - male red-backed shrike from the bedroom window in May was pretty good, although the fact that I was hungover, not wearing glasses and carrying a baby at the time didn't help. I think the ortolan bunting in September just shades it though! Did I mention those gadwall already?

All in all, a vintage year on the patch, with 5 (count 'em) patch ticks:  woodcock, red-backed shrike, wilson's petrel, ortolan bunting and gadwall, plus I finished on my highest ever total too - 141. Of course, its all relative - my irish list remains paltry, i can't id waders anymore cos I never see any, and no-one gives 2 hoots about those gadwall but I'll still be raring to go all over again from first(ish) light tomorrow. Happy New Year!

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