Saturday, January 25, 2014

footit target assimilated

I've been sneakily banging in the odd year tick along the way this last week - nothing amayzing but bits and bobs like water rail and shelduck and the like. All these year ticks also count for my footit challenge too, as I've done no car birding on patch this year. Mainly cos I can't drive it on to the Magic Patio!

Anyway, with the January days fast running out, and being 4 short of the magic 100% figure of 70 species, I decided to try once again for the (fairly) regular whimbrel that hangs out in Dirk Bay each winter - I guess it may not be the same bird every year but it does hang out in the same spot all the time. Except on the 1st of January of course.

I lugged my scope too there, as I was hopeful of maybe picking up a razorbill in the bay or flying past at sea - it was all beginning to get a bit serious! But nothing like as serious as this, I should add! 127 miles of walking? Respect!

As I struggled up Shite Lane hill, marvelling once again at my brilliant scope porter (tm), I saw 4 small waders flying into the gusty wind. "Hmmm, probably snipe" I wagered to myself, as I raised my trusty bins, and sure enough, 4 golden plover flew onto the year list. Ker-ching! (67).

Descending into Dirk, there was the whimbrel sitting on the rocks where it likes to sit (except on the 1st of January). Bingo! (68). But that was me lot. No wintering chiffs or caps frolicking in the sheltered fuschia bushes (well, none that I could find anyway). Tried for a while to string a raz out of the few auks booting past out to sea but they were all pretty distant & the light was pants. There were 2 auks in the bay, but of course one was a guillemot and the other was a tystie (scream for me again, stevie g(antlett)). No raz tho. Booo.

Humped me gear all the way home (only about half an hours walk but its a steep hill!), and scanned the lake to see just the usual dabchicks, and with that, birding appeared to be pretty much over for the day. Luckily tho, I reckoned without the power of the lunch table to pull in the year ticks. Mid-sandwich I noticed a whitish looking gull flying over the lake, which through bins was clearly a white-winger. Rushed out to the garden with the scope to see a smart adult iceland gull (69) being wind-blasted on the lakeshore. Better again, at 50x zoom, I noticed a knot hunched in the rocks behind it, trying to shelter as well. Moob!! (70, or as we say in old money, 100%).

Unfortunately unlike some, I didn't think to take a selfie of the big moment. On the other hand, unlike some, I haven't walked 127 miles for my 100% (I might have covered 7 miles in total, but possibly not even that) so you'll have to make do with a couple of dodgy-scoped shelduck from midweek.

Kwality Kwacks!!
So there you go! Gonna try and nail Raz tomorrow if I can swing the time. Will involve my longest walk of this footit campaign tho - all the way to the light. And back!! Hope I make it!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Took a while but eventually caught up with the 2 glossy ibis between Owenahincha and Rosscarbery - saw them a couple of times swirling around over the main road on the school run and then found them in the field beside the road on another day.

Globular on-deck action
This is the first attempt of handheld phone-scoping, and so impressed was I with the results that I tried again on the black guillemot that has been hanging about on the lake the last few days. The results speak for themselves...

very tystie
It was miles away, and I couldn't be arsed getting off the patio! Tried really hard to get the globbies on the patch list yesterday morning, but unfortunately there was an inconvenient hill in the way. Did get wigeon, grey heron  and sparrowhawk  on the year list tho (63).

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


One week into the new year, and I feel like I've hardly been out! The weather hasn't really been up to much, and what with the Great Island Bird Race last saturday (we came second - again!!), I've somehow been off-patch whenever the weather has been good.

Did manage to notice this fella through the salt-encrusted windows this morning tho (55).

BFG - big fat glauc

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

fisher of kings

Out with the usual 1st of Jan spring in my step this am but didn't get anything particularly unusual. Best of it was a kingfisher,  courtesy of Senor Faulty - saw it a couple of times last week, but a good one for the year - they ain't around every winter! Finished on 42 species for the year.