Sunday 1 January 2017

Three out of Three!

I just have to post today, the first day of my big Patchwork Challenge attempt.

One of the best things about doing a year list is the big push on Jan 1st. Everything you see is a valuable year tick, absolutely everything. And spending the whole day out on your patch clocking up as many species as you can is such an enjoyable (but sometimes frustrating!) event. Sadly though I was working today, so no such fun for me.  With limited time it's sensible to prioritise the scarcer species, so this morning my three target birds were Cattle Egret, Tufted Duck and Grey Plover. None of these are guaranteed in a given year on the Axe Patch.

The first two were pleasingly easy. The Cattle Egret was the twelfth egret to fly out of the Axmouth roost this morning at 07:36, and the female Tufted Duck was easily visible in the pre-dawn gloom at Lower Bruckland Ponds. The Grey Plover however, well that wasn't quite so easy. No sign of it anywhere this morning, despite a nice high tide and a mass of waders right in front of the Tower Hide. 

Cue the extra mile. Despite the rain, late this afternoon during a fifteen minute break at work, I jumped into my car, scoped the mud north of Coronation Corner and there was my hat-trick. Grey Plover on the list.

My next target are the two Dippers that I first bumped into a few days ago.  Dippers have been really scarce on patch over the past few years, prior to this you would fairly frequently see them along many stretches of the River Coly.  It was Friday morning when I had two (one singing) just south of Colyton, and Phil has seen them in the same place on the two days since. My problem is they are currently about a field and a half north of my PWC patch, so I just have to hope they wander a little further down river - whilst I'm watching!

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