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6 Feb 2017

Patch challenge 2017 - new patch and green birding

Now we've moved house I've had to start all over again building up a new garden bird list! For the last few years I've also taken part in the patch challenge where people are encouraged to work a local patch - in my case it's always been 'green' with my house being at the centre of my patch and everywhere accessible by foot. This obviously restricts the available habitat and number of species that can be seen. One of the advantages of our new house is its location opposite a field with a fairly large pond which I'd hoped would attract passing waders and wildfowl. Getting up early and training the scope on this pond at first light to see whats dropped in is becoming addictive! The pond is several hundred metres away but from my vantage point in one of the bedrooms can easily be seen.

Sunset from the house - the pond can be seen just to the left of the telegraph pole

This weekend was no exception and the first new birds for the 'patch' and garden lists were 8 Lapwings that dropped in briefly on to the muddy margin. Unfortunately they didn't stay long but the Canada Geese did and the mll flock contained  single Greylag Goose. Checking out the rest of the pond I was surprised to find a pair of Wigeon!

The distance means no decent photos can be obtained through the DSLR so I'm having to resort to phonescoping!



The next surprise was the sudden appearance of three Shoveller and a flock of Teal. One of the Shovelers was a sub-adult male along with two females. There are Teal on a nearby pond which is surrounded by trees at the back of a private garden so I think these must have been displaced from there.

The next morning was even better. An adult male Shoveller turned up and 18 Greylags dropped in whilst the Teal flock built up to 47!



I'd heard Wigeon before from the house at night but it was nice to get a sighting. I'd heard Coot as well but again, it was nice to get a sighting!

Every couple of hours I'd take a break from working in the garden, grab a brew and check out what else had turned up on the pond! Another nice bird was this leucistic Mistle Thrush that I first saw last year before we'd bought the house.

Whilst watching I also spotted this Brown Hare, an increasingly rare sighting around here, that meandered around for  few moments before setting off through the hedge and into a neighbouring field.

Wit hall the building work and decorating I haven't had a chance to do any ringing in the garden but the feeders I've installed are attracting good numbers of birds with Goldfinches, Lesser Redpoll, Chaffinch and Greenfinch now being regular visitors. I've heard Tawny Owl in the area so took the opportunity, whilst the weather was dry, of hanging a box given to me by Alan H on our large back garden oak along with two open fronted boxes and four tit boxes. I've got two House Sparrow boxes that I'll hang once we've painted the outside of the house.



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