Thursday, 31 December 2015


Just a quick post to log the patch 74 Siskin, a female at the feeders this morning. I wish I could have had time to look for a 75th patch tick, but unfortunately had to attend the funeral of a good friends mum who passed away last Sunday at the age of 92. Looking forward to a New Years Day trip round tomorrow. It has been a while since we did it on January 1st.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Some people are on the patch....they think it's all over. It is now!!

A last hurrah did not produce an awful lot. I have pushed the patch list up to 73 with dunlin and goldeneye. The latter popped up before Christmas in a small flock of Eider in Strickland's Bay and the dunlin finaly put in an appearance at the Long Hole.

Belfast WOW on Wednesday 30th gave 33 species including barwit, knot, siskin and 1 greenshank. Shelduck numbers were over 300. A high tide storm surge meant we could see the surface of  Belfast Lough from the observation room. Kinnegar Pool was high and empty and all the ducks on the sewage lagoon were either tufted or gadwall. It was interesting being there on a Wednesday as there is clearly a "Wednesday Club" of folk who come regularly that day in the same way as there is a "Thursday Club" the following day.

I wandered along the coastal path late on the 30th to try for a sheltering diver but no such luck. The river was in full spate and the tide was still high two hours after the peak. The wind had dropped, Frank had moved on and the patch was well worth the walk for the views alone. Bird wise there was nothing out of the ordinary except for two song thrushes foraging along a hedge.

I am running an amended patch fro 2016, dropping Castle Park and extending the coastal walk to Ballyholme Bay. I also plan to run a patch on the RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve/Kinnegar. Next year I hope to be with the GAWA in France for Euro 2016 so the year list might get a continental boost.

Patch List:
72 Dunlin
73 Goldeneye

Tuesday, 15 December 2015


The problem at the end of the year is pushing the total up and getting birds you missed earlier in the year. Coot, moorhen and mute swan still elude me. Manx shearwater was missed in September and no diver has yet appeared when I have been walking the patch. Siskin and redpoll had not appeared so far but last Tuesday there were two redpoll on the feeders as well as a male and a female blackcap and a linnet. So the patch list has crawled up to 71. Unlikely to get much bigger now unless I am in the right place at the right time as a flock of mute swans fly over spooking a moorhen on the coast which draws the attention of a pasing diver!! One can but dream.

Belfast WOW last Thursday produced 37 species including mistle thrush, reed bunting, redpoll, barwit, buzzard, sprawk, ruff and 20 knot. Visibility was excellent and the craic was good as the regular Thursday crowd was joined by one or two others. I will definitely run it next year as a second patch.

Bangor West is being slightly altered. I am dropping Castle Park and extending my coastal walk west to Crawfordsburn and east to Ballyholme. I am allowed 3 square Km so a coastal path one metre wide gives me a 30 km walk, so technically I could walk a patch from Holywood to Donaghadee. I do however have to take in Stricklands and the garden. I will update at the end of the year unless something stunning turns up like a garden waxwing or a red kite.



Patch list 71 Redpoll