Thursday, 29 December 2011

Two patch ticks in two days!

Three uncommon bird species that I'd had in mind to target seeing at Earlswood next year were Woodcock, Curlew and Peregrine Falcon. Woodcock is one of my bogey birds, as a number of other observers have reported seeing them at Earlswood in recent years, but all I'd managed was a sighting of one in flight at nearby Blythe Valley CP and even then I'd have missed it if it hadn't been pointed out to me. Curlew is another bird I've had rotten luck with, as although I've seen them several times in the midlands and even found the rarer Whimbrel at the lakes this year, I've had three Curlew-/Whimbrel-type birds fly over which I've been unable to ID to species. And with the Peregrine, there were several previous documented records, so it seemed to be a bird I'd eventually encounter.

Well, on Christmas Day I went to the lakes a little earlier than usual to avoid the inevitable crowds, and standing at the causeway at c.8:50 am, bingo: an adult Peregrine Falcon flew southeast over Engine Pool and the Valley Road area. Then next day, Boxing Day, I was walking through a marsh when a pigeon-sized bird flew over, apparently coming from the nearby scrubland, and I got my bins on it as it flew over the southeast corner of Windmill Pool and saw that it was the bird I'd been most wanting to add to my patch list - a Woodcock! Two patch ticks in two days, putting me on 138 species for my Earlswood life list and 127 for my Earlswood year list. Very pleased!

I've added 18 species to my patch life list this year, but very much doubt I'll add more than half this many in 2012 - new species just get harder and harder to find. Curlew is of course now the species I most want to tick, but I'll need excellent views or better yet have one calling. I'm also expecting to see Red Kite one of these days, as they expand their breeding range in the midlands further.

M.P. Griffiths


Tim Jones said...

Nice one Matt, there's something special about a patch tick! I'm sure there a plenty more birds you can add to it, remember Night Heron...

Matt Griffiths said...

Thanks Tim, fingers crossed!