Saturday 11 May 2013

Patch Tick!

Today I got a patch tick, as in an ever tick. These are always brilliant, no matter what the bird, and today it was the turn of the Cuckoo. Everyone has seen Cuckoo the patch apart from me, and I was secretly a little worried that I might never get one, especially as they are a bird in decline. But I've scored now, and nobody can ever take it away...

I'd actually left the house this morning with Cuckoo firmly in mind, but after a few hours of aimless wandering, and having seen very little apart from a real Garden Warbler, I was resigned to failing yet again. Until I rounded the very last corner on the very last path, and a familiar shape launched itself out of a roadside tree and scooted off across some brooms. Gah! I texted out the happy news to a few locals quickly, and then headed the way it had flown to see if I could relocate it. And if I'm honest, confirm the ID - for a moment I was worried I'd been a little hasty in my excitement, but first impressions are very often correct (cf Garden Warbler) and so when I relocated it perched on the side of some vegetation I knew it was in the bag. A quick couple of record shots from a huge distance, and then it flew through and out and was never seen again.

Not the best, but very much good enough!
So, patch tick number 136, and lifts my year list to the heady heights of 103. Now many people have been moaning about how dire this year has been bar a few concentrated bursts, but I was amazed to see that 103 is a number that in recent years I've not reached until August, and in 2010 not until September, and there are still quite a few obvious ones left to bag, such as Bullfinch, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Tern and Wryneck. At this rate it might even be a record-breaking year - 113 is the number to beat, my total in both of the last two years. Early days of course, and it could all dry up very quickly, but it's certainly lifting my enthusiasm for patch birding. Which is a good thing as my 400th UK tick remains distinctly out of reach.

While I'm here, I should also say that the Whitethroat I had specifically got up to target wasn't there, so here is a photo of a Wren instead. Roll on tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Thats a nice wren photo. If it makes you feel any better I saw my first cuckoo of the year yesterday and I work there every weekday!