Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Last glimmer

Trying very hard over the last few days to add to my Patchwork Challenge total, December so far being the only month where I have not added additional species. A mid-month dip in the shape of Mistle Thrush on the lawn was the closest I had come. And then this morning, doing the ponies, a small gaggle of geese went over, 21 flew right by but two turned away and headed south, one of those two was not a Pinkie (which all the others were), neither was it a Greylag, but I just couldn't nail it due to the light and the direction of flight, I'm thinking whitefront but....

Here are some photos of an interesting crow at the PDC yesterday. It just shows how easy it is to pass hybrids off as Hoodies. This is quite a subtle hybrid.

 Looks like a Hoodie (however, the central streak on that feather above the near leg is too broad)

 Now its true identity is revealed, but these feather were very hard to see from other views

A good clue is the way the black and grey "join" at the nape. It should present as a very distinct, clear demarcation, unlike this. A rider to this is that in July Hoodie juveniles are similarly marked.

Patch round-up
2014 was the fifth complete year on the patch, the actual starting date was October 2009. The patch total of species for the year was 117 (plus tristis Chiffchaff), Patchwork Challenge points 169. New species added to the patch list this year: Garganey, Blue-winged Teal (twice), Common Scoter, Water Rail, Red-footed Falcon, Great Grey Shrike, Blue Tit, Lapland Bunting and subspecies Redpoll, C.f.islandica. Also seen this year and worth mentioning, Marsh Harrier, Corncrake, Curlew Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Jack Snipe, Kittiwake, Iceland Gull, an unclaimed Glaucous Gull (seen whilst having a bath, that's me not the gull), Waxwing, Ring Ouzel, Stonechat and  Grey Wagtail. Dips I'm aware of were Snow Goose (of German provenance most likely) and Mistle Thrush. Since October 2009 I've seen 146 species from the patch (includes Gannet and Shag which are viewable with persistence by scanning Clestrain Sound 8km away - not included in this year's total). To my knowledge 153 species have occurred during that time (I've excluded the Snow Geese).

The last of the day, New Year's Eve

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