Thursday, 1 August 2013

The Big 250

On Tuesday Phil followed up a report of a day time churring Nightjar on patch, and was rewarded with churring and views of two birds. I immediately went up there, and just before 11pm heard a bird calling several times - but couldn't see a thing.  Last night, four of us (myself, Bun, Karen and Gav) tried our luck.  The conditions weren't great, but after some brief glimpses and hearing wing-clapping, churring and calling, a pair appeared above us, with one circling us several times before disappearing again into the darkness.

Three gloomy but very recognisably patch birders - each with their distinctive jizz

The birds are notable enough without thinking about lists and patch birding. There's got to be a very good chance they've nested here, and hopefully will do (with some more?) for many years to come. The habitat has only recently become suitable for them, and apparently they used to be here many years ago (c20 years ago) again when the habitat was suitable. Just shows if the habitat is right the birds will come.

In terms of my patch life list these Nighjars are a milestone for me, as they're my 250th bird species for the patch. Someone hire a cheap DJ, I'll sort out the trays of cheese and pineapple sticks and let's have a party!!! Yes I've made it to the quarter of a century mark, and I've STILL not seen a (live) Puffin here!  When I have a bit more time I may well do a summary blog post about these 250 birds - but I am well chuffed with the achievement. Not liking to sound like an acceptance speech, but it's only because of the superb place we live in, and the fantastic network of kind local birders we have.

My full list and the local patch league table can be found on Bubo here: by searching for 'Axe Estuary'.

Nightjar was my 171st bird for the patch in 2013. Which means if I'm going to reach my 200 target I've got to see 29 more species in four months. That's a huge ask, but I guess it is possible, we just need a bloody good autumn and I basically need to see everything (which I have spectacularly failed at so far this year!). Don't forget to check my 2013 Patch Year List page which I am keeping up to date.

Since my last blog post, we've had a bit of a rarity too. On Tuesday James Mc found a Pec Sand on Black Hole Marsh. This place has been screaming out for a rarity this autumn, and a Pec is a good start (but we do want better!). I've literally lost count of how many Pec's I've seen on patch - I think this is my ninth.  I've no pics but it doesn't matter because all you have to do is look HERE, HERE and HERE.

To complete my outstanding bird news, my usual woodland bird survey near Colyton this morning showed a heck of a lot of birds. The highlight being a couple of Crossbill (seem to be annual here) - maybe one of those wing-barred ones will appear here...

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