Friday, 21 March 2014

Patch Introduction - Holy Cross & Carriganore, Waterford

The Patch!
I have been following the Patchwork Challenge on Twitter and reading the blogs and decided that it was time to get involved! I had planned to enter a Waterford coastal patch but a new baby at home means time is limited this year. So to plan B.
Daily walks with my two dogs at a popular site just outside Waterford City (an IDA business park) has become my patch over the last 5 or so years. It's not the most productive or picturesque of patches but a lot of time spent here has seen me build up the patch list to 70 species. For the purpose of the challenge I have extended the patch boundary to the north to include the nearby area of Carriganore (site of WIT Sports Campus and also the National Biodiversity Data Centre) 
The patch comprises of 6 or 7 large fields divided by mixed hedgerow/gorse and mature trees, a small conifer plantation, a reed lined pond and a stubble field in winter. The area at Carriganore has a small wooded area and views over the River Suir which I hope will produce some bonus species over the course of the year.
The area has provided many birding highlights over the last 5 years. December 2012 produced 5 Waxwings and a week later in January 2013 I found a Brambling feeding in the stubble field with a mixed finch flock (the only bird on the patch that was "twitched" by local birders!) A brief Reed Warbler in August 2011 remains the only patch record. Wheatears have become regular in September/October over the past few years. Confirmed breeding of both Treecreepers and Spotted Flycatchers last summer was satisfying. Other notable birds have included singles of Whooper Swan and Whitethroat. 
The Pond - breeding Moorhen, Sedge Warbler & Reed Bunting can be found here most years

My main aim this year is to track down the species I feel should be on the patch list but have eluded me over the years - Siskin, Yellowhammer & Pheasant are top of my wish list!

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