Sunday 5 March 2023

Firecrest Finally Falls

Well February was a disaster for Patchwork Challenge.  Just so so quiet, and two of the best birds - Little Gull and Red-breasted Merganser - I missed! The latter only by a couple of minutes at most which was particularly gutting.

Anyway just to remind you, my February year ticks were:

Water Pipit, Mistle Thrush, Blackcap and Caspian Gull

So a measly four compared to January's 102! Quite the come-down.

Am pleased to say March has started with a bit more oomph - although spring it does NOT feel like!  It has been colder here since March begun that at any time during February, which is a shame as cold weather in February would have been ideal!

With the current temperatures, just thinking of species like Wheatear, Little Ringed Plover and Sand Martin feels wrong. So summer migrants aside, in the month of March birds just have more of a habit of moving around. Young birds get driven out of their parents territories, wintering birds in Western Europe head back north/north west/east, breeding birds start getting horny and vocal, etc, etc..  

So five days in and where am I at? Well I've chalked up three new species for Patchwork Challenge - so looking promising I would say! The three species being:

Greylag Goose. Found by Phil on Bridge Marsh on 2nd, I saw it that evening and again the following morning. March is a really typical month for this species here, for whatever reason!?

The outsider!


Siskin. These funky little finches have been scarce this winter, outside of conifer woodlands that is.  I would usually see and hear odd birds flying over, anywhere really, but not this year. So a pair flying in to feed on alders at Lower Bruckland Ponds on 3rd were much appreciated.  

Firecrest. A species I have been putting a lot of effort into finding on my Patchwork Challenge patch.  There are singles wintering between 3 and 400 metres either side of my patch (Seaton Hole and Axe Cliff Golf course car park) but I haven't had a sniff of one actually on my patch, despite plenty of ideal habitat. 

Well that was until this morning, when the wind-less conditions (although grey - so very dull and grey) revealed a lovely male Firecrest in trees and bushes alongside Axmouth Harbour, just beyond where the houses are on the east side.  Although you can't tell from my dreadful attempt at photography, but the views were absolutely fabulous as it busily fed right in front of me...

Still my favourite bird!


Currently find myself on 109 species for patchwork challenge and a grand total of 139 points.  Let's hope March makes up for February!  

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