Friday, 11 January 2013

Dipping on corvids and dodging catapults

It has been an enjoyable week on the patch, with a few minor wins and no fails. It is always a win if you get out and about. That sort of tough talk sometimes works for me but mostly doesn’t. This week (so far) I have been out on the patch 4 times – win! The first occasion I have bloggered about already. On two other occasions I was out for a run - eating all the pies and so forth. Today I managed to get out and walk the beat, just for birdings sake.

Nothing major to report. On Wednesday my run from ‘the basin’ to the end of the canal and back produced well, not very much – a moorhen in the ponds and a couple of rock pipits at Blennerville bridge. On Thursday my “run” (more of a walk/run hybrid) brought me to some big flocks of thrushes, and so I added fieldfare and redwing to the list. Also along the trail between the end of the canal and ‘the Spá' were chough, blue tit and wren (wooo, easy there big hitter!).

Recent reports of a carrion crow down around the wetlands centre and ‘the Basin’ had me out n about again today after lunch. I parked up at the back of the Aquadome and walked down along the river Lee (of Trá Lee fame) in case I might pick something extra up en route. Nope. At the wetlands centre I checked in on the ring-billed gulls and generally just enjoyed the gullage. The first year/1st winter (what does one say?) bird was present but no sign of the adult. I spent some time buzzing through the rooks but no sign of said carrion. Some birds caught my attention, but I settled on juvenile/first year rooks. Apparently the bare bill develops in 2nd calendar year birds between February and March (Collins Bird Guide, 2nd know the one). Well how about that, I did not think I would be consulting the literature about crows! God loves a patcher! Hopefully the bird is settled and I’ll nail it in the coming days.

I was properly soaked at this point, so I figured I may as well shtay goin! All for a good cause..BirdTrack of course. Off I tramped to the only small bit of the patch that I can, at a stretch, call woodland. It is really just a gathering of mature trees that have a sprinkling of nice houses and gardens for an understory. However, a goldfinch and a pheasant were added on the way down, and on the way back up my attention was snagged by the flit of something mid-way up a birch...ah hah, blackcap – female. A male flicked through also. No great shakes, but I was pleased and carried on.

Reed beds by the River Lee
That was it for the day bar some action back down by the river. Some young lads with a catapult were firing at anything that moved. Lovely. I carried on regardless – “those pesky kids ain’t gonna put me off”. I passed them as quickly as I could manage while maintaining some composure. A little further on I picked up the thin, high pitched calls of goldcrests at the other side of the river. Nice one. However, my enjoyment was tipped towards nervousness when ‘de lads’ came clattering towards me, both on the same bike. Oh oh:

Whacha lookin at?”. Oh dear. “Ehh, just a few birds”.
“Well...ahh...just cause, I like them..?..”.
Can I’ve a go of dem yokes” (my bins...oh jesus please don’t steal my bins).
Sure, here you go. You’ll have to adjust them for your...ah don’t worry about it actually, just see what you can see” (and give ‘em straight back).
what would you get for them”. Ah jaysus, here we go.
not much really...I..I got them in Lidl for €25”. Please believe me, give them back and go away.

Both of them took turns with ‘my precious’, and I was terrified that they would take off like hobbits, but it all went well in the end. I showed them some mallard, teal and a moorhen and they seemed mildly engaged. At one point I had to read out a text for them, on one of their own phones, because neither could read. I think they really enjoyed a close up look at the things they were firing stones at.

The Bridge that 'de lads' were chucking stones from. Nice!
So, quite a bit of excitement and it’s not yet Saturday. Trickling along slowly with 44 species seen, bringing me up to 41.5%. I’ll be doing IWeBS at Brandon Bay tomorrow. Scoter city! I’ll be at a fundraiser for the West Kerry Branch of BWI on Sunday in Dingle at 2pm (plug!), so I won’t get much patch time this weekend. Oh well, it is a long year ahead.



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