Friday, September 4, 2009

Patch list challenge returns

August is always a fairly quiet time for birders, and it's been no different in our Patch List Challenge, with a month of clam before the forthcoming autumn storms, and one last effort to gobble up those ticks.

Challenger Mike Passman, in Thurlestone Bay, Devon, writes: "I only managed to add four new species during August, which also included a mega dip - Aquatic Warbler only 200 yards from my garden. It certainly beats Mike Weedon's moan about Little Tern!

"A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper (159) made a very brief visit, followed three days later by the only Wood Sandpiper (160) so far on South Huish Marsh. Amongst the large flock of Dunlin on the beach was a single Little Stint (161). Finally, the month ended on a high note with a Whinchat (162) at Soar Farm on the 31st.

"September will be the month that will provide some of my target species to achieve a year total of 175."

Meanwhile, features editor Matt Merritt has been catching up, ever so slightly, since our last update.

He writes: "A rainy Friday evening in July brought an unexpected bonus in the form of a sub-adult Gannet at Foremark Reservoir, Derbyshire. When I went back the following day to try to get a good view of it in the sunshine, it had gone, but a female Common Scoter was another new tick.

"Into August, Cossington churchyard provided five Spotted Flycatchers on the 14th (thanks to Dave Gray and John Hague for that one), and there were more later on, near Groby. I'd unaccountably managed to miss Hobby (even though they're reasonably common up here now), but there were several at Cotes Mill (16th).

"The day after Birdfair, I caught up with some Black Terns at Swithland Reservoir, then missed several possible ticks later in the week when laid up with a heavy cold. But Bank Holiday Monday, the 31st, brought number 145, well on my way to my target of 160. I walked around Measham Sewage Farm, vainly looking for Corn Buntings. As I made my way back to the car across a stubble field, two Whinchats were flycatching from the top of hay bales - they've been elsuive in recent years, so this was a nice find."