Thursday, June 25, 2009

Patch list challenge update

Things have slowed down a bit recently in our patch list challenge, as you’d expect at this time of year.

Mike Passman, who watches Thurlestone Bay in Devon, writes: “Very little activity in May on the birding front. There was some sea passage on the 11th, with an adult Pomarine Skua (153) flying east in the early evening. There was another male Garganey, briefly, in late afternoon (12th), and next day the first Spotted Flycatcher was on South Milton Ley, with four (14th) in Soar Mill Valley.

“Strong southerly winds and rain (17th) produced three Arctic Skua, the second Pomarine Skua of the month and a Balearic Shearwater.

“The 25th brought a new site record – two mle and one female Tufted Ducks (155), my first in five years of covering this patch. In early afternoon (28th), a female Honey Buzzard (156) flew north over Aveton Gifford.

“Only 19 species to find in seven months, still on target for 175.”

Features editor Matt Merritt, meanwhile, made some slow but steady progress. He writes: “On May 15th, I saw a single Little Tern flying over Cossington Meadows, some reward for a lot of chasing round after Black and Little Terns that week. A gorgeous Wood Sandpiper was the best bird there, although I’d already ticked one at Willington GP earlier.

“Willington was the scene for my next tick (24th), with a pair of Garganey. Looking into the sun, they were difficult to find on the distant Canal Pit, but patience paid off.

“On a rainy Saturday (June 6th) I missed a Sanderling at Brascote Pits, but while driving into Leicester to do some shopping, had a Red Kite over rooftops at Field Head. I’ve been expecting one, because there have been a number of local sightings this year – is this the Rockingham population expanding into west Leicestershire?

“Finally, on June 23rd, I heard two or maybe three Quail calling at Groby Fishing Lakes. A really satisfying tick, this one, because I missed them last year.

“The total stands at 137 now, so my 160 target is looking achievable.”