Thursday 24 October 2013

Patch Polygamy

I spent much of the afternoon having a nose around Barmston. The wind was in the west and it was warm and clear. Not ideal October birding weather but I perservered. Plenty of Skylarks making their way southward and gull numbers seemingly on the increase. On the sea a small band of Common Scoters failed to reveal a velvety brethren. A smart female Stonechat was in the reedbed but it was pretty quiet.

A begging call from a raptor revealed a juvenile male Peregrine dive bombing a Buzzard with another two Peregrines playing cat and mouse somewhere up in the stratosphere. Out over the bay a couple of Sparrowhawks were making headway south. It felt like a proper raptor day but sadly no new patch ticks in that department were forthcoming. Despite this I did manage a new bird for the year today with a couple of Grey Wagtails heading south amongst the larks and sprinkling of other bits.

After a while it became tricky unearthing anything new and I gave in and headed to Flamborough. My plan was to have a look at Whelkie Wynds to see if the Little Bunting was still present. No sign but then I didnt get very far as I bumped into both Martin Garner and a couple of smart Mealy Redpolls amongst a band of Lessers. We watched these for a good while and I managed a few record shots of the paler bird.

And here is Martin's effort

Certainly a bit better than mine... And why patch polygamy? Well the Mealys were on Martin's patch.

Wednesday 16 October 2013


I'm down in deepest darkest Lincolnshire working in Skegness. Unusually it's not all top secret and I have been able to do plenty of birding both work focused and casual which has been great. Last week we had loads of movement on the sea without scoring Leach's but I have managed half a dozen Poms plus a handful of Arctic and Great Skuas. 

On the land we have had some excellent vismig without any scarcities but a handful of Crossbills and Siskin have kept interest up. Grounded migrants have been a bit thin with a couple of Greenland Wheatears, Chiffchaff and a drake Ring Ouzel the highlights but hundreds of common thrushes have been good. Wildfowl have moved in reasonable numbers and I have been gripped off with a few Velvets before I rolled up with my pick so far a group of 4 RB Mergansers south. 

I have a couple of days left and it has been howling SE with drizzle all afternoon and evening so here is hoping that I finally manage a nice bit of scarce tomorrow.

Saturday 5 October 2013

Collared Fly

Originally I was very dubious that the 2010 Spurn Collared Flycatcher would turn out to be pure (check out my hybrid theory post from near the time). Despite this I took a couple of hours from work on the 1st September 2010 and caught up with a cold looking Ficedula juv. I'm mightily glad I did as it has been accepted by the BBRC. Not a spring male but on my Yorkshire list which is now just 2 shy of 300. Additions are proving tricky with small kids but I will keep batting along when I can. As the bird progressed towards acceptance the articles which appeared on Birding Frontiers very much turned my opinion which was quite strongly in favour of one of the Goteland hybrids rather than the real deal due to the nape feathers not being up to scratch. Apparently this is the feature which has slowed the birds progression but the belief that it shows no pro-hybrid features that caused it to eventually get through aided with the DNA analysis showing at least 50% Collared Fly alleles. Happy? Delirious.

How birds and brains become mutually exclusive

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