Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Patch Footlist Challenge

Over the last couple of days the talk of twitter has switched from Munticorns to patching and more specifically, how many species can be seen in January on foot from your front door. As birders are competitive buggers there is a competition afoot - to see the biggest percentage of realistic target birds for your local patch by foot. My realistic maxima is 96 species with proper local rare in Smew and Water Rail amongst these. I generated this number by taking what was on Birdtrack for my 2km square and deleting the passage summer birds and those that are races or domestics but adding any that I had seen that weren't included (just Peregrine in winter).

In light of this I thought I would get some practice in and voila! 43 species including some patch gold. Casting my eyes on the feeders failed to get me Great Tit or Tree Sparrow but the rest of the usual garden fayre was present. I went for a wander to where the Waxwing was seen yesterday and quickly saw plenty of Redwing but no Jedward's Hypocolius. A Sparrowhawk buzzing someones feeders was a bonus (although I later saw another, both adult males by the looks of things).



The mere held the usual suspects plus a very fine drake Pochard and a Little Grebe but no Gadwall which for the first time in 4 years are absent. Walking along Nafferton Beck towards new bridge lane found no Kingfisher but a flyover Grey Wagtail was decent in the winter. The first of 2 Grey Herons was hiding amongst sheep as the rain sheeted down and I got very wet. A calling Great Spotted Woodpecker went unseen but very much ticked.


Crossing south of the railway and a few gulls were added including a stonking adult Great Black-backed Gull and a few Herring Gulls of varying stages of sub-adulthood. Here on the Carrs I am always aware that BoPs are potentially about and a Buzzard and Kestrel made themselves known in awful light. Finally the rain began to ease and rather forlorn I saw a Cormorant fly over the village - directly over my house. This much expected garden tick eluded me again (there is a daily passage along Wansford Canal too and from roost sites and the sea).

Just as I was heading home a call alerted me to the only Yellowhammer in Yellowhammer hedge. I did notice a large group of Fieldfare in the berry laden trees above the hedge and as I put down my bins my brain whirred...there were some smaller crested birds amongst them. Four Waxwings then gave excellent views as I tried in vain to get a decent shot with my rain soaked camera shooting into the sun. I gave up eventually and returned home very chuffed.


Species List
1) Mute Swan
2) Greylag
3) Mallard
4) Tufted Duck
5) Pochard
6) Cormorant
7) Grey Heron
8) Little Grebe
9) Sparrowhawk
10) Buzzard
11) Kestrel
12) Coot
13) Moorhen
14) Common Gull
15) Black-headed Gull
16) Herring Gull
17) Great Black-backed Gull
18) Feral Pigeon
19) Stock Dove
20) Woodpigeon
21) Collared Dove
22) Great Spotted Woodpecker
23) Magpie
24) Carrion Crow
25) Rook
26) Jackdaw
27) Blue Tit
28) Waxwing
29) Wren
30) Blackbird
31) Redwing
32) Fieldfare
33) Song Thrush
34) Mistle Thrush
35) Robin
36) Dunnock
37) Starling
38) House Sparrow
39) Grey Wagtail
40) Chaffinch
41) Greenfinch
42) Goldfinch
43) Yellowhammer

Which equates to 41.3% of the expected total (even though it hasn't started yet!)

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How brains and birds become mutually exclusive