Thursday, 3 November 2016

September and October Patchwork Challenge 2016 roundup

Over the last two months I have added 20 species to Patchwork Challenge resulting in 31 new points.  At Hunmanby Gap, Hunmanby and 'The Bay.'

The first birds added in September were on the 17th at Hunmanby Gap. Seawatching definately paid off in a Northeasterly wind. I added 547 Wigeon (499 north, 48 south), 19 Pintail (28 north, 1 south), 10 Shoveler (north) and 2 Velvet Scoter (2 south). I unfortunately missed a Black Tern. Other highlights were 618 Teal north with 1 south and 32 Sooty Shearwaters and 41 Manx Shearwaters north, not a bad morning.
Wigeon and Teal
Birding at the Gap on the 25th brought a welcome '3-pointer' in the form of a Yellow-Browed Warbler, unfortunately we knew it was there so no bonus points for finding it. Still a great patchtick and a a great little bird. I then went on to find a Whinchat in the clifftop scrub, another new bird for me for the year (at the Hunmanby Gap).
My next additions were also at Hunmanby Gap, with 3 Little Egrets going south on the 1st and 4 Arctic Skuas going north on the 2nd.
Little Egrets
The next day I went to 'The Bay' (just north of Hunmanby Gap) and was happy to spot a Slavonian Grebe drifting north offshore sea and two Kingfishers on the clifftop pool. The 4th was cut short, I was birding in Hunmanby (it was quiet with a few Redwing and a Hare) and the news got out that there was an Eastern-Crowned Warbler at Bempton (I went and saw that)!
It wasn't until the 8th when I next got to the Gap, the seawatch itself was quite quiet but adding a Balearic Shearwater north made up for this as well as getting 5 (Dark-Bellied) Brent Geese (3 south, 2 north). I also went seawatching on the 9th, I didn't manage to add anything because although we saw an Asio sp. (Owl species) it was too far out to sea. Typically, after I had gone both Short-Eared and Long-Eared Owls made landfall (which I missed)!

Species 124 was a flock of 10 Grey Partridge at the Gap (long-awaited I must say).

The next tick for me was pretty unexpected with a flock of 32 Barnacle Geese on the 19th going Northwest over Hunmanby (my first for the village).

Vismigging (watching for visible migration) paid off on the 28th with Lesser Redpoll being added.

However the 30th was joint-most successful with the 17th of September over the last two months with four birds being added at the Gap. The first to be added that morning was a flock of 9 Whooper Swans going south, a Goldeneye then went south also. Keeping with wildfowl, 5 Scaup also went south. Land-based migration was also good as I added a Corn Bunting and Mealy Redpoll both went south. However two other highlights were 273 Siskin and a late Swallow south over the course of the morning.
Whooper Swans
The last two months left me on 131 species and 165 points. I can't wait for what the winter will bring, November 1st had 4 Little Auks north, although not a patchtick, a great bird. Bring on winter!

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