Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

last ditch goose

the local patch list has clearly fizzled out as it often does in December so I took the opportunity to add one bird to the Scunny year list with a European White-front accompanying a small group of 140 Pink-feet; a much larger flock of 1650 Pinks just  mile away held nothing different; so 208 for the year on the Scunny list and it looks like the patch list will stick on 180 unless something dramatic happens in the next week which seems unlikely 

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

bat and gull

a decent afternoon on the patch; the two Twite still around although not very approachable, plus Grey Wag, Marsh Harrier, drake Smew, Long-tailed Duck and a large bat presumably a Noctule being mobbed by a Black-headed Gull; while trying to get some photos of the bat a first-winter Glaucous Gull flew through albeit in terrible light -- it takes the patch year list to 180 equalling the third highest ever total obtained in 2002; 

Monday, 24 November 2008

one more

waiting for the possible return of the White-rumped Sand at Alkborough I received a call from JH to the effect that there were two Twite on the bank at Chowder where I had spent 5 hours on Saturday with the Snow Buntings; I managed to get back in time to see them before the clouds merged into total blackness and the rain and hail reduced visibility to a few yards. 179 on the patch  list and 207 for the Scunny area; and the most ridiculous missing bird on the patch list Green Sandpiper - but then again there has only been one record this year and that was 9 days ago!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

White-rumped Sand

doing a routine survey at Alkborough this afternoon I was amazed to come across a White-rumped Sandpiper with a small flock of Dunlin feeding on the snow and ice covered mudflats; the latest ever in Lincolnshire it showed well for about 40 minutes before disappearing into the fading light in the middle of the site; it takes the Scunny year tally to 206

Saturday, 15 November 2008

205 scunny area

finding a Green-winged Teal this am was a bonus but not a year tick -- a Slavonian Grebe though was and it was followed by a Tundra Bean Goose with the Read's Island Pinks making the scunny area total 205 for the year

Sunday, 2 November 2008

manflu gulls

with a particularly bad case of manflu I certainly did not feel like getting out of bed this morning but the northerly wind had been howling all night accompanied by heavy rain which must have produced something on the Humber? so at 07:30 I was in position and by 08:00 was certainly wishing I had stayed in bed with nothing to put in the notebook in spite of the conditions; Two Common Scoter tried to liven things up but it was still dire until a juvenile Kittiwake took the patch list to 177; an expected addition it was not accompanied by any auks, grebes or divers but a Bonxie then moved up and back out along with a passage of big gulls mainly GBB's -- and as can happen a totally unexpected bird appeared in front of us and duly landed on the Humber for about 30 minutes before flying around for another 15 minutes - a third winter Iceland Gull was most unusual on this date and a rare addition on the patch year lists so this one was most welcome --a flock of 27 Common Scoter a drake Goosander and another Bonxie added to the day tally before the flu forced an early retirement leaving the patch year list on 178 still a long way from the record 184 in 1996 but there must still be a chance of an arctic blow with a wad of auks and divers, Slav and Red-necked Grebes and some wild geese, Bewick's Swans or even a Spotted Redshank

Friday, 31 October 2008


I abandoned a trip to the coast to have a look through the thrushes on the patch this morning; in fact it took me 15 minutes to get out of the garden as I watched Blackbirds and Redwings exploding from all the adjacent gardens and gaining height before moving off westwards -- the Blackbird movement continued to midday with a few flocks of Fieldfares heading west and 2000+ Starlings in several flocks also taking the westward route up the estuary; checking the sallows for a Yellow-browed or Pallas' or even that skulking Bluetail the distinctive call of Waxwings caused me to look up and see a flock of five birds heading west with the other incoming migrants; so 176 for the patch and 203 on the scunny list -- already a scunny record could the patch list struggle on to 180 -- we need a northerly gale with some Little Auks and other seabirds! 

Thursday, 30 October 2008


a terrible day of local weather with heavy to torrential rain all day and a strong easterly wind during the early morning; as the rain eased for a while mid afternoon I thought Waters' Edge would be a good spot for a Pallas's Warbler but the only arrivals were a flock of 10 Song Thrushes and plenty of Blackbirds but on the mud of the rising tide walking behind a Redshank was a first-winter Grey Phalarope -- it flew onto the outflow from the local sewage plant and then made a few more flights before drifting up the estuary on the rising tide; 175 for the patch and 202 on the local scunny year list

Monday, 20 October 2008


I had previously ignored the noisy Barnacle Goose that accompanied the local Greylags in May but today's lone bird battling westwards into the teeth of the gale seemed a little more acceptable; it caused mass panic amongst the local waterfowl as it passed over the pits possibly due to its general resemblance to an Osprey from underneath? taking the patch tally to 174

Friday, 17 October 2008

Leach's and Merg

a twitched Leach's Petrel on the Humber off Read's Island took my Scunny tally to 200 for the year while a first-summer male Red-breasted Merganser on the Humber off Waters' Edge was a patch year tick and took the local list to 173 (still well down on the record years) and the scunny total to 201 with two and a half months still to go. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Spoons take it to 199

after not making much effort to see the adult Spoonbill at Alkborough in the spring and missing it on every visit I thought that Spoonbill had evaded my Scunny area year list so a call informing me that two immatures had just landed there this afternoon prompted a response (I had been there all yesterday afternoon so the birds were certainly new in) just prior to my arrival a helicopter flushed the birds which flew off just as I arrived! fortunately they returned about 5 minutes later and settled in to feed in the main channel taking my tally to 199 on the brink of a first ever 200; not sure if these can be tied to records anywhere else in the UK of late. Spoonbill is still the most silly species missing from my local patch list although several must fly past Barton every year-- I have even seen one from the patch but over the north bank of the estuary in Yorky land

Sunday, 12 October 2008

198 Scunny Anthus richardi

tracking a couple of Lap Bunts we came across this Richard's Pipit this afternoon at Alkborough making my scunny year list 198; it was to say the least elusive

Monday, 29 September 2008

Pecs 197

finally managed to get decent views of three of the Pectoral Sandpipers at Alkborough today and firmed up the 197 on the Scunny year list which must surely now top the 200 mark

spot the Pec with Dunlin in the shot above

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Brown Shrike

a new bird for Britain but a bit far to count on the local list and a bit far off even for digi-scoping!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Gannet special

after a day of north-easterlies on the 23rd with not a single Gannet today made up for the lack of that species with 108+ at the bridge this morning; a juvenile Little Stint was a second overdue addition but a juvenile Sabine's Gull was only the second patch record following  a juvenile on September 13th 1993; today's bird quickly moved out into the murk of the Humber and disappeared before providing a photo opportunity ( and I still have not had a Kittiwake!); this takes the patch year list to 172 and the Scunny list to 196 but the latter should perhaps be 197 taking into account the fly-by Pec Sands at Alkborough this afternoon -- surely they will get tied down before long but with easterlies prevalent the patch is likely to miss out for the next few days

Thursday, 18 September 2008

another Scunny addition

a most unexpected close encounter with a Quail at Alkborough added a species to the scunny area year list which I had missed all summer 194; 

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

New scunny birds

the day at Alkborough started well with a juvenile Honey Buzzard and got better with a female Redstart then it peaked when I picked up a Wilson's Phalarope; the trouble was it was 800m (measured on the map) from where I was viewing with a 27x50 scope in poor light and that tested my imagination! views from 100m confirmed the ID of this first for the Scunny recording area and a new bird for my UK self found list taking respective tallies to Scunny area total 278 Britain and Ireland self found 325 and British self-found 323; the Scunny area year list meanwhile moves on to 193
Honey Buzzard above form this morning's fly-by