Still patchin’…


This weekend there’s been a particularly interesting great grey shrike at Blacka Moor, waxwings all over the place, some obliging Lapland buntings at Orgreave Lagoons and a red-crested pochard at Catcliffe Flash. These would have been a bunch of cracking yearticks (and one lifer…) just a bus ride or two away. But somehow I was content continuing to explore the new patch, spending most of Saturday and Sunday morning wending my way round the footpaths of Wheata Wood, Wharncliffe Wood and Wharncliffe Chase. Maybe it’s just the novelty of the new patch hasn’t worn off yet, or maybe last week’s Twitchers documentary has scared me off yearlisting! Either way it’s good to be finding birds a stonesthrow from the house, even if it’s nothing particularly rare.

The highlights include a few yellowhammer, a small flock of lesser redpoll, a smattering of redwing and fieldfare, a heard-only green woodpecker and good numbers of nuthatch and goldcrest. Nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s good to get a shot in the arm of local birding and forget the lists for a little bit. Will I travel further afield next weekend? We’ll see!

This lunchtime I braved the weather in my lunchbreak and made the 20 minute walk to Cemetery Avenue to see if I could find any waxwings. The avenue is lined with rowans and is still covered in thick blobs of juicy red berries, but there were no signs of any waxies. Then I found out why when checking the Internet when I got back – about half an hour before I arrived the flightly flock had seen one of its numbers meet its maker at the hands of a sparrowhawk, which I’m presuming sent the others packing!

See… the twitching gods are still against me! Perhaps it’s best to stick to patching after all…


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My name is Pete

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