Yesterday I had too many jobs to do, no sign of last weekend's Blackcap though. One of the jobs was to go to Kirkwall and pick up the Tim Wootton drawing I bid for on eBay. It's of our Tree Sparrow so we decided we had to have it. I'm really pleased with it too. Proceeds of the auction went to the Orkney Bird Report so a double plus. Many thanks to Tim for the excellent drawing and the generous donation. Tim's opened a new gallery in Kirkwall, opposite the Dil Se in the Anchor Buildings, well worth a visit.
Got up this morning with the intention of an early(ish) trip to Birsay, I should have been able to get out onto the Brough. Engine started, hacking ice off, faff around a bit then into reverse... awful noise, stop, aaaaggghhhh!! Car broken, the (no longer so) trusty Fiesta has complete front suspension failure. So home patch watching for me.
And of patch watching "Patchwork" seems to have reinvented itself as a blog with an annual, instead of monthly, competition. The old Patchwork was a subscription magazine, I rather enjoyed it and the monthly competition, with its very complicated rules, if you want to find out more about the new version head on over to: http://patchworkchallenge.blogspot.co.uk/
For Patchwork purposes this will be my patch. Currently I record the Bosquoy and The Shunan squares and the two to the east as the home tetrad using BirdTrack and I'll continue to do that. The Loch of Harray shore goes into BirdTrack as a separate recording area. Hopefully I'll do better at keeping a running total than the tetrad total on the blog...
From the road north of Bosquoy and south of The Shunan looking up to home.
On the home patch today the Great Spotted Woody put in another appearance, this looks like the same bird as has been around for a while. Looking at the photos though I reckon the October one was a different individual. Also today the now well illustrated Tree Sparrow, a couple of Brambling, a couple of Chaffinch, the Linnet flock is still here, and good numbers of Greenfinch and House Sparrow. There were a few Skylarks as well. Down at Loch of Harray there were at least 5 Slavonian Grebes, 780 Coot (yes, I did give them a careful look over, although they were a bit distant) and most surprisingly an Eider.
A local rarity, probably just four or five in the county this year, two of which have been on our feeders