Thursday, 10 January 2013

Our first 'Patches of the day'...Jonny Rankin explains all

 Hi everyone, 

I have two patches. I am a dual patcher. A bi-patchual.

I know there are others out there – but I wanted to be the first to post on here – to show you its ok. You are not alone. Its not greedy and its not wrong.  

Both my patches are in Suffolk, the first; Livermere is near my Bury St Edmunds home and the second is around my town of work; Needham Market. 

Livermere you may have heard of. Its hallowed ground and has an impressive track record. You can read all about it on my blog (

Needham Market doesn’t have the same track record! But over the last few years myself and other birders have amassed some good birds; with Ferruginous Duck, Honey Buzzard, White Stork, Woodchat Shrike and others all discovered through constant coverage. 

As I type I have done my first visits of the year to each patch, Livermere stands on 41 species whilst Needham Market 39 species. Livermere will score highest through the year and definitely gives the best chance of some scarce or rare/mega bonus points. 

Last year Livermere had an insanely good run with Long-billed Dowitcher, Marsh Warbler, Grey Phalarope, breeding plumaged Black-necked Grebe along with the more expected tern passage. 

I don’t have annual totals for Livermere is just somewhere I go with the dog, on my bike or on foot near to home – so this year marks my first Livermere year list! I have kept year lists on my Needham Market patch for the last three years with; 109 species in 2010, a record 116 species in 2011 and 110 species in 2012. 

I’d be happy with 110 species on the Needham patch this year and anything is possible at Livermere – but I’d be happy with anything over 130? 140? Who knows.

So, happy patching (or dual-patching) and I hope we collectively unearth some demented megas! I haven't found anything to shout about yet...

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