Sunday 3 January 2016

Onwards. Slowly.

Twitter is awash with @PatchBirding retweets and #PWC2016 hashtags. The 400+ participants in the 2016 Patchwork Challenge have been out there and doing it since 00:01 Jan 1, and their collective tallies and finds are plastered across the ether for us all to enjoy. And that's 'enjoy' in the 'without irony' sense. I am actually quite inspired by it all. The enthusiasm is very infectious and should last until...ooh...early February, which, as every yearlister knows, is the killer month...

Anyway, in the meantime I will continue to enjoy the buzz. Even though I was busy with other things nearly all weekend, dipping into the tweetage encouraged me to hurry down to Cogden the moment I was free late this afternoon. Only an hour of light left, but I didn't care. Walking down from the car park I heard a Blue Tit calling and spied a Kestrel over the field to the W, both new for the year. A pretty strong SW kept me back from the beach a bit; I set up the scope in the lee of a hedge and hoped something decent would fly past. There seems to be a nice bit of gull movement off Cogden in the early morning and late afternoon, and I had at least four, maybe six Med Gulls - all adults - head W. A little party of three Cormorants comprised the third and final addition to my 2016 list. So, as the gloom deepened and the weekend's birding drew to a close, my Patchwork tally stood at 36 species and 41 points. Compared to many this is puny, but as I cast an eye over the patch's fields and hedgerows I wondered just how many species were tucked away out there. Not that many I reckon. Perhaps a focus on the sea at this time of year might be the best use of time?

Other stuff that came to me via Twitter today included gripping pics of an adult Ross's Gull off the Lizard and an adult Glaucous-winged Gull in Cork. Wow!! To birders who shrug their shoulders at gulls I just have to ask:

What is WRONG with you??!!

My goodness! Just think where these birds have come from! The journeys they've undertaken to get here! Gulls are such impressive travellers. Most of them need little more than a bit of wet stuff and some grub, and they can find that virtually anywhere. Factor in some inclement weather and they can be persuaded to up sticks and drop in at the most unlikely places. If they can find a few cousins to hang with, great, they're happy. I can think of no bird family with greater potential to give the sagging patchwatcher the Great Grandaddy of Adrenal Emptyings...

Please, give Gull a chance. You can only benefit, I promise.

Way over in London E11 the Wanstead Dandy has been owning up to sartorial dreadfulness. Most amusing! A quick trawl of old NQS photos has got me weighing in with this example of late 80s cringe...

Mmm, the cap-sleeve t-shirt. Really, really cool.


  1. The photo looks OK to me Gavin, I'm most of us have similar or worse. I have photos of myself from the 80's emerging from the sea in all my glory on our local nudist beach.
    As for gulls, well I've been birdwatching for 55 of my 68 years and even now I rarely give them a second glance other than to separate the commoner species.

    1. I certainly have worse! 70s hairstyles... Yuk!

  2. If those sleeves were any shorter Gav, that shirt would qualify as what our American friends call 'wife beaters'.
    Re: DF, As long as you weren't pictured swimming about playing at submarines you may get away with it.

  3. No, the periscope wasn't up Ric, as I recall the water was cold that day and so the full frontal did not show anything to be proud of.

  4. The shirt actually came like that? You hadn't rolled the sleeves up to increase tanning? Egad!

    1. That's exactly how they came. Generally worn by rugged, macho types...

      That photo was taken in 1987, which (knowing me) suggests they had been in fashion at some earlier time and were by now well on their way out.

      And thank you for dragging this comments section from the mire into which it was sliding :)