Thursday, 29 November 2012

Tarty needs...

Never mind all that best patch find stuff...patch listing is all about the bread and butter, so whats the commonest stuff you've never seen on your patch? I've had 187 species at girdle ness, my patch, including a few goodies such as brunnichs guillemot, white billed diver, and a good assortment of decent passerines. However, during the 5 years I've been covering the patch properly (and a further ten years with less frequent visits beforehand) I've never had pochard or treecreeper! 

I have single records of coot, moorhen, and very few records of pheasant, collared dove, and coal tit. 

But that's the beauty of patching. I wouldn't bat an eyelid if I saw any of the above on my way down the shops (with the exception of pochard perhaps!) but finding one of these common rarities gives me a genuine thrill, more so than finding a regular 'rare' bird like, for example a yellow-browed warbler. I recall a few springs ago, I came across a stunning, singing male bluethroat early one may morning. Very nice indeed - but when the first ever stock dove for the patch flew past 5 minutes later I leapt up and did a genuine, not ironic air grab...

I guess it's a bit strange that it means that much to me, but when you've invested a great deal of time in a place the rewards are all the more enjoyable. Perhaps even more pertinent is that the expected rewards give more of a thrill than the unexpected ones. Well, they do for me, anyway!

So if you've taken up this patch listing as an excuse to get out into the field and find more rares, all the very best to you - but don't forget the missing common birds. You'll get your pochard one day, and you'll be on cloud 9 when you do...


  1. I need treecreeper tho there's been a couple claimed in the last 10 years. Any goose except brent (& egyptian!), however top.of the gank pile is prob red-breasted merganser (ffs!) - how crap is that? Can't wait to nail it!

  2. And for those of you with inland patches... Woodlark and Goshawk are my top tarts at Thetford Nunnery Lakes (seen by 85% of other Lakes Listers, per BUBO) but frankly Golden Plover looks a lot worse on paper!

  3. Bet no one can beat my tarty need of House Sparrow on the patch at Strumpshaw Fen, they occur in a hedge about 300m from the reserve entrance but still cant get em on the reserve list!..... Maybe next year?

  4. I've left work to twitch Pheasant and Little Grebe and dipped a Partridge, which I still need along with Coot, Little Auk, Bearded Tit and Waxwing.

  5. Blue Tit in my garden this autumn caused great celebration and the purchase of several bottles of wine from the Toab shop. Gutted to have missed Long-tailed Tit a few years ago in Toab. Doubt I'll ever get Magpie on my patch.

  6. Great Tit would be a mega for me as they are more or less non-existent in the Outer Hebs. Same goes for Magpie and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Better than a boring old Yank wader any day!