Sunday, 27 April 2008

last regular

a singing male Cuckoo this am completed the expected April migrant set and took the year list to 141; also around the patch today were 8+ Wheatears including a fine male Greenland and three other possibles, 3+ Grasshopper Warblers, a new female Ring Ouzel, a singing male Turtle Dove and 44+ Swifts with the first 13 over my garden this evening. The Great Grey Shrike was still present on the heath along with a pair of ouzels and a few wheatears in what was obviously  wheatear fall day; 161

Saturday, 26 April 2008

140 up

after a rather bird poor early start to the day a Turtle Dove appeared from nowhere on Waters' Edge and the first three Swifts were scything over the sailing pit; five minutes later there were 5 and then an hour later 22------two singing Grasshopper Warblers gave some early spring views but then it stopped; several hours later in the hot sun another locale attracted my attention and produced 7 species of raptor; returning home via the Wolds it was just as well that it was hot and I had the car window down or else I might have missed the jingling Corn Bunting back on his 2007 oak tree taking the year list tally to 140; a late evening visit to one of the Coversands heaths logged a late Great Grey Shrike after an entire winter without a local bird; the Scunthorpe bird group area year list thus rose to 160; as far as I know no-one has ever recorded 200 species in the area in a year so maybe I should have made more effort for Hawfinch and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker; my best so far is 196 in 2001. Future posts will show the Scunny tally in Blue

Friday, 25 April 2008

slow slog continues

at present I seem to be walking about 4 miles for every year list addition and they are all commonplace species; at one time in the past I did find a few rare birds but that knack seems to have left me! Today produced two Wheatears on Waters' edge, at last, and two Common Sandpipers but things still seem slow--maybe tomorrow 137

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

missing terns

in spite of Arctic Terns being everywhere a full day around the pits produced just the resident Common tern and a fine but brief adult summer Little Gull; list additions came in the form of the first Whitethroats, a briefly burst of song from a Grasshopper Warbler and two early Sanderling on the foreshore with the Turnstone flock which still numbers 220 birds; 135

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

slow arrivals

two singing Lesser Whitethroats pre-dated the first Whitethroat today taking the tally to 132

Monday, 21 April 2008

21.4 ----131

A single Common tern was the only new bird in the fine and sunny weather but a good haul of waterfowl included female Goosander, female Smew, Velvet Scoter, drake Garganey on Waters' edge this morning and the Dark-bellied Brent Goose still present and alive after being attacked by a male Marsh Harrier! 131

Saturday, 19 April 2008

slow build up

A Dark-bellied Brent Goose was a bit of an odd April list addition today but I dipped the Grey Plover and Cuckoo; the extremely cold east wind is really playing havoc with spring arrivals; the Night Heron showed again briefly today after not being seen for 13 days, the Ouzel was still present plus 4 Little Ringed Plovers and 3 Yellow Wags. Totals now 130; in the record holding 1996 year list I had 138 species at the end of April but the best end of April tally was 145 in 2002 when the year end list was 180 3rd all time highest total so early spring additions are not always a good omen

Thursday, 17 April 2008


The day started out bright and sunny but with the cold easterly wind still prevalent; I decided on a walk around the patch am to try and add a few of the expected spring arrivals; 3 Sedge Warblers were singing along with the Reed Warbler from the 5th, two fly over Yellow Wagtails were also new and two Whimbrel flew east late am; the Ring Ouzel was still present along with 3+ House Martins and good numbers of Willow Warblers and Sand Martins; there was one Long-tailed Duck remaining on the sailing pit plus a few Goldeneye but otherwise it was a little quiet. Deciding to do some survey work in the afternoon the inevitable text arrived announcing the presence of three Garganey at Far Ings. Garganey is a funny species missed in some years and occurring in good numbers in others but as the rain set in I thought it best to check whether they were still present; on entering the hide they were slap bang in front of it but in the dull, grey light and rain I had left the camera in the car! a quick jog and some decent images were bagged along with year list addition number 129

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

extreme dedication

I received a text on Tuesday while swimming in the Med off Akrotiri to the effect that there was a Ring Ouzel at Barton so being the dedicated patch lister I am it was onto the plane and by 11:00hrs on the Wednesday the fine male was added to the year list all be it in freezing conditions after the 30C experienced the previous day! 125

Saturday, 5 April 2008

patch tick--what a day

well I fell into the age old trap today and had a lie in after checking the patch just about every day this week and that of course meant that it was certain to be a visitor who found the goody which I did not expect given the dire winter returns forecast; 
answering the phone I was out of bed and down at Far Ings within about 10 minutes where a Night Heron had been seen dropping into a large area of scrub; Night Heron first for the patch and a new patch bird for me hopefully!!! it was a bit of a wait but then it was picked up and flew and landed right out in the open  in a group of sallows but where it was only visible through a thick hedge! so the photos at 60m through the hedge are less than striking but a record of number 250 on the Barton list and 244 on my patch list; the heron then showed on and off but was always partly hidden low in the sallows and virtually impossible to photograph; a first-summer bird it is a classical early spring vagrant-----
also today produced House Martin and the earliest ever Reed Warbler for the patch taking the overall tally to 124 for the year

Friday, 4 April 2008


April 4th and I eventually add two Swallows to the list 121; it seems like they are late with all the reports but in the late 70's and early 80's my mean arrival date for Swallow on the patch was April 14th so they are certainly getting earlier up here

Thursday, 3 April 2008

one more

it has been a very slow day---warm and sunny from mid afternoon with light winds but virtually no migrants the only new species being a singing male Blackcap on Waters' Edge; in spite of numerous reports I have yet to come across a Swallow but there were at least two more Willow Warblers today but the Chiffchaff passage has dropped off with territory holding birds remaining in the usual sites; 120 up

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

spring is round the corner

a singing Willow Warbler on Waters' Edge on the 31st ended March on 119 species for the year the second highest total at the end of March behind the 126 recorded in the record breaking year of 1996