Tuesday 5 January 2016


This year I have decided to enter three patches into Patchwork Challenge. Both Barmston and St Mary's Island are in and additionally I have added the village, Nafferton. I'm currently in training for a half marathon in late February so am spending increasing amounts of time trotting round the local countryside. After finding Willow Tit this way last year I wanted to give myself some incentive to get out. 

So far I have managed an amble around the village patch on the 1st, a serious wander around Barmston on the 2nd and a 13km run on the village patch on the 3rd. These have yielded some decent results and I am pleased with the start I have made. On the first I took the kids to see the sheep and horses and we didn't see anything special aside from a roost of 3 Little Egrets which were snoozing in a tree by Nafferton beck. There are a couple of Great White Egrets wintering in the drains locally so I'm hoping to stumble on these. Aside from these there was a Cormorant flying over fields and a few Herring Gulls. This and a trip up the village meant that I was on 26 species and 27 points. 

On the second I did a full loop of the Barmston side of the patch and this was really profitable with the first non-vismig Lesser Redpolls in with the mixed finch and bunting flock which also had 120 Linnets, 16+ Corn Buntings plus Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers. No scope meant little time was spent scrutinising the sea with only Wigeon, Red-throated Diver and Cormorants. The Fraisthorpe drain which is the northern patch boundary had a Kingfisher flying down it, my first sighting away from the Barmston drain. A few woodland and garden species were provided by the gardens and pine copse but nothing out of the ordinary. I hoped to add a few ducks on the drain but failed, instead a Long-eared Owl glided along the drain glaring at me. This was a huge surprise and the first record for Barmston as far as I am aware. Full fat patch tick! It roosted in a hawthorn and I left it in peace. The tide had dropped and I managed to add Turnstone, Redshank and Sanderling from the beach. I finished up with 45 species and 47 points.

Finally my mega long run which scared the bejesus out of me on Sunday night yielded calling Redwing and Tawny Owl despite hammering rain and intense pain. Happy days!

How birds and brains become mutually exclusive

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