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Monday, 16 January 2012

A Morning on the Patch Sunday 16th January

Another crisp morning. I had all but drawn a blank progressing the year list yesterday, except for adding Red Legged Partridge as I drove back from the Wyre.Hopefully today I could at least advance the patch list, maybe the year list ? I headed for the Barnet Brook area.

Luckily for the canines of the area, but unfortunately for me, the dog walkers were out en masse and I  rapidly realised I needed to abort and move on. However not before I had craftily added Lesser Black Backed Gull to the patch list as it glided over. I also spent a while admiring a single Redwing calling high in a tree for a while and a couple of Siskin passed through the canopy.

I decided Ladies Pool, although closer, could wait til last,as it was likely to be busy, and headed to the north side of my patch,an area encompassed by the Lanes called Churchill, Stakenbridge and Waggon, and a bridle path. This area has Arable and Pastoral land, including the pastoral hillock that climbs up to 156m.

As I parked up I noted one of the small populations of House Sparrow on the patch was still present. I hadn't done this side of the patch for quite a while. On my way to ascending the hillock, there were good numbers and Greenfinch and Goldfinch around the mews style cottages. I certainly 'felt the burn' making the steep climb to the top of the hill, and once there surveyed the fields...not a single in bird for miles ! Not to be put off I crossed the pasture heading for the footpath and bridle path that bisects what currently were stubble fields. This area is usually good for Linnet flocks this time of year, but as I progressed towards Waggon Lane there was nothing but a few Magpies and Carrion Crows. Reflecting on an interesting but not exactly diverse Saturday, and now experiencing a birding desert, I was , to say the least , feeling like this weekend could be pretty duff.
However, as I approached the end of the bridle path, I noticed a flock of birds at along the hedge line at the far end of a sheep field. c100 Linnets...result, year tick to boot. Scanning back towards me the head of what I thought was Mistle Thrush popped from above some long grass, then it tuned and move away from me revealing itself as a patch tick in the form of bonanza...I decided to double back rather than do a circuit, as the rest of the walk would be country lane, as  I was now cooking on gas, who knew what else I might grab. Retracing my steps a Pheasant flushed from the cereal crop ( patch tick).
Well, when you are hot you are hot, and as I walked a bird flew across my field of view and put down on the telegraph wires, settling for around 30 seconds. It was a Meadow Pipit, a bird I had never  connected with on  patch making it a patch lifer and a year tick..I was on fire !! I all but floated back to the car, finally  grabbing my one and only House Sparrow picture as I did (see below).
So it was onto the final port of call, Ladies Pool.A group of c70 Jackdaws put down into the trees along Forge Pool as I arrived. On Ladie's itself were 7 Tufted Ducks and a female Goosander, another year tick. So once again, for the second weekend, the patch outshone the established birding locations for me.

Better than  Spannish Sparrow !


  1. That hillock sounds an interesting piece of habitat christian, high enough for a bit of skywatching in the migration periods.

    Turned out ok for you in the end then :-)

  2. Yes Warren, the thought has crossed my mind, as well a scanning for raptors


  3. I agree...who needs Spanish Sparrows Mark!