Friday, 3 March 2017

Patchwork 2017 - February Update

Species 79
Points 85

Additions this month: Fieldfare, Reed Bunting, Woodcock, Redshank, Curlew, Coal tit, Barn Owl, Mistle thrush, Feral pigeon, Oystercatcher, Jack Snipe, Meadow Pipit, Greenfinch, Linnet, Stonechat.

I had expected February to be pretty dry if I'm honest, as I was away the first two weekends, but a few early evening visits and a full 8 hours on patch on the 19th meant a mega 15 additions were made this month! A lot of these were easy ones that I hadn't picked up in January, like Fieldfare and Greenfinch, but there were a few unexpected ones in there too...

Fieldfare and Reed Bunting came first on a quick visit to look for roosting Whooper Swans (without success!) on the 3rd.

An evening ringing session on the 7th resulted in Woodcock being flushed in the darkness, as well as several Snipe and calling Redshank were heard too. Another Redshank was seen on the 19th, feeding on Blott's pit most of the day. Woodcock are often around but not always easy to catch up with, so I was happy with that one,

Another evening visit on the 14th, after working nearby, resulted in my first Barn owl on site since 2015, and a flyover Curlew was a nice early addition to the list. Incidentally another Curlew was present most of the day on the 19th too, perhaps the same one?

The 19th was a mega day, as I clocked up a personal record of 64 species on site (8 year-ticks), after a mammoth 9.5 hours on site. The morning was spent leading a volunteer work party in which we put up around 30+ snipe (including a flock of 23, which were later seen at Netherfield), as well as 2 Jack snipe, another bird that must be present all winter, but is rarely picked up. Also around were the aforementioned Redshank and Curlew, as well as a Shelduck. The afternoon was spent wandering round, being filmed for a NWT film about Skylarks Nature Reserve. This resulted in more species being clocked up, including only my 2nd ever Stonechat for the site.

A good session on the last weekend of the month failed to produce any late additions. There are still a number of 'easy' targets to go for, such as Siskin, Little grebe and Skylark, but with a few unexpected birds this month, I'm pretty pleased, and well ahead of my usual score for this time of year.

March sees the first proper migrants, obviously, and perhaps there's still time to pick up on a few wintering birds before they disappear for the summer. Looking at my calendar, it looks like I'm pretty busy again which will limit my visits, but at least those evenings are getting lighter!