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Increased local patch visits during travel restrictions.

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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 06:50   #1
pratincol
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Increased local patch visits during travel restrictions.

During the lockdown I've spent more time covering my local patch than I'd normally do. In the process I've got to know it a lot better.
Its walkable from the house and easy to get around in a short space of time.
Its a reclaimed moss area adjacent to a river estuary and marsh, close to the coast.
Usually I'd visit once or twice a week; this year I've been there almost daily on my regular exercise routine.
I always knew it was a regular passage route for Northern Wheatear; confirmed when 23 individual counts were recorded from April to the beginning of May.
Most stopped off at the same place; a corner of the marsh where driftwood had gathered after the winter storms. Three Whinchat called in there one morning too. A Common Redstart passed through, nearby, as well. Normally I'd give that area a miss- I wonder what I've been missing over the years! Its closer to the house so I visited this particular little area more often this Spring.
I'd never seen or heard a Lesser Whitethroat here before. This year two were located- maybe because I've spent more time here than normal.
Because the visits were almost daily, I noticed the arrival of new migrants on their separate territories. Up to now 8 Sedge Warbler and 3 Common Whitethroat have arrived.
A Tree Sparrow was seen in an area where I've never recorded this species before;I found a pair of Stock Dove nesting in a tree I'd never even noticed was here, all the years I've been visiting.
Two Ringed Plover, and two pairs of Red-breasted Merganser, possible breeders have been around for weeks. If my visits had been less regular, I might have missed them or assumed they were just passage birds.
It always was was a reliable place for passage Meadow Pipit and Linnet. Most days tens of Linnet passed through; the biggest flock totalled eighty.
So I've got to know my local patch better at the expense of missing out on visits to other widespread places I'd normally visit this time of year.

Last edited by pratincol : Sunday 10th May 2020 at 14:18.
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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 07:46   #2
Euan Buchan
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I have done the same, I haven't been to my local patch for ages because work has been happening in the park but since lockdown that has been my Birding place apart from Garden Birding. I go every Wednesday & Saturday and I have seen a lot more birds then I have before. The calls are lovely and birds haven't been so flighty I even saw a Goldfinch there two weeks ago that was a first for my local patch, my patch is great because I can easily escape from dog walkers and families and can be in my own space watching the birds. When this is all over I'm going to make more on a effort to visiting my patch more often I didn't realise how much I missed it as well as visiting other places during my bird tours.
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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 09:08   #3
pratincol
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Originally Posted by Euan Buchan View Post
I have done the same, I haven't been to my local patch for ages because work has been happening in the park but since lockdown that has been my Birding place apart from Garden Birding. I go every Wednesday & Saturday and I have seen a lot more birds then I have before. The calls are lovely and birds haven't been so flighty I even saw a Goldfinch there two weeks ago that was a first for my local patch, my patch is great because I can easily escape from dog walkers and families and can be in my own space watching the birds. When this is all over I'm going to make more on a effort to visiting my patch more often I didn't realise how much I missed it as well as visiting other places during my bird tours.
Good to know!
The county recorders will be sent a unique set of records this year, perhaps.
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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 12:50   #4
KenM
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I can certainly endorse “regular“ patchworking....that’s the way to do it.
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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 12:54   #5
pratincol
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I can certainly endorse “regular“ patchworking....that’s the way to do it.
Quite agree. Even if its fairly mundane you are are even more surprised if something even slightly out the ordinary turns up!

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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 12:55   #6
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This is all assuming that people have a patch within 'reasonable' distance, I don't, not in Nottingham.
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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 13:46   #7
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I am really lucky here in Birmingham to live neat both Moseley Bog and the “Shire Country Park”.

I have improved my knowledge of the habits of birds I would not even really take much interest in when at the Reserves I used to go to. Spent a good while looking at a pair of nuthatches, from behind a tree, feeding a brood. A couple of days earlier there was only one bird in and out. So they must have hatched between our visits :) One of the birds was also widening the hole - why would it do this at this point?
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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 15:38   #8
KenM
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This is all assuming that people have a patch within 'reasonable' distance, I don't, not in Nottingham.
No local parks Andy?
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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 16:19   #9
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Nice one, pratincol. Having St Agnes as my local patch for ten years wasn't just about the rarities and scarcities. Every year, for example, I'd hear a new and distinct variation on a call from a species I thought I knew really well. A previously unheard of note from a Wren going to roost for example; a distinctly different Robin call from an individual that wintered in 2018/19. A particular phrasing in a Blackbird's song or some Starling mimicry that would run through the neighbourhood for a couple of years and then die out...I added so much to my personal trove of migration data, too. Hundreds of Chaffinches heading off south-west one day, then returning, and all heading south-eastwards an hour later instead. An adult and two juvenile Black Kites hanging into the wind for two hours one afternoon, clearly 'thinking' what to do next, then suddenly turning round and heading back in the direction they'd just come from. And so much more.

That's not to say I didn't get sick to death of the place sometimes and wished I was elsewhere! The months of August 2008 and 2009 before I spent hundreds of hours clearing the sedge from perimeter of the Big Pool were dreadful for birding with all the tourists around, and it once got so stiflingly boring I actually punched the air when three Redshanks flew over!

Sometimes you've just got to dig in.
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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 21:33   #10
Euan Buchan
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It's a 15-20 min walk to my local patch.
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Old Monday 11th May 2020, 05:27   #11
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No local parks Andy?
Not close enough no, not that you could work as a patch, a football field and small extended area with a few scattered Poplars(?) is it.

Nearest is two miles as the Crow flies and I'm time c onstricted with the baby so walking there is out. The baby did point and find our first Swifts of the year and already does a passable impersonation of a Wood Pigeon so I have high hopes that she'll be as mad as me.
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Old Monday 11th May 2020, 09:56   #12
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Not cose enough no, not that you could work as a patch, a football field and small extended area with a few scattered Poplars(?) is it.

Nearest is two miles as the Crow flies and I'm time c onstricted with the baby so walking there is out. The baby did point and find our first Swifts of the year and already does a passable impersonation of a Wood Pigeon so I have high hopes that she'll be as mad as me.
I can recall my eldest daughter (c 2-3years old) as I legged it across an open field saying “Daddies gone Cuckoo”....sadly she never followed in my footsteps.
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Old Monday 11th May 2020, 16:03   #13
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I must admit that despite living in a small village in rural NW Durham I've never birded my local patch - in my non birding years I'd explore the local footpaths and make a few casual sightings, but in recent years I just use it as a dormitory between going to work, visiting my partner or going away for longer day trips to 'better' birding destinations, mostly defined as including some coastal habitats.

I'm working from home now, sadly the emphasis still on 'work', but I did manage a couple of early morning walks into the local woods. I've appreciated 'watching' birds a lot more, particularly looking at willow warblers and chiffchaffs and trying to hone my ID skills for when they stop singing. Then last week I came upon a willow tit - not a super surprising record in the wider context of Co. Durham, but first time I've seen one near my home in >20 years of living here. It's great that this is forcing us to enjoy birding in our gardens / on our doorsteps, and not go chasing around for new species to add to your list.
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Old Monday 11th May 2020, 16:34   #14
pratincol
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I must admit that despite living in a small village in rural NW Durham I've never birded my local patch - in my non birding years I'd explore the local footpaths and make a few casual sightings, but in recent years I just use it as a dormitory between going to work, visiting my partner or going away for longer day trips to 'better' birding destinations, mostly defined as including some coastal habitats.

I'm working from home now, sadly the emphasis still on 'work', but I did manage a couple of early morning walks into the local woods. I've appreciated 'watching' birds a lot more, particularly looking at willow warblers and chiffchaffs and trying to hone my ID skills for when they stop singing. Then last week I came upon a willow tit - not a super surprising record in the wider context of Co. Durham, but first time I've seen one near my home in >20 years of living here. It's great that this is forcing us to enjoy birding in our gardens / on our doorsteps, and not go chasing around for new species to add to your list.
'It's great that this is forcing us to enjoy birding in our gardens / on our doorsteps, and not go chasing around for new species to add to your list.[/quote]'
Quite agree! Long may it continue.
Never seen a Willow Tit, by the way. The only Willow Tits are about 40 miles away and I don't travel more than 10 miles to go birdwatching- so I don't reckon I'll get round to seeing one.
Mind you we're stuffed with Marsh Tit around here; they're all over the show.
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Old Monday 11th May 2020, 22:14   #15
Larry Sweetland
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I've got completely obsessed with my rubbish local patch within walking distance of my house more than ever before! And seen more interesting migrants this spring than all the other springs I've been looking combined. It's been every day rather than a couple of times a week. 10 times as many people and their dogs wandering about in it though, so massively more disturbance for the birds.
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Old Tuesday 12th May 2020, 05:18   #16
Carol Rushton
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I've got completely obsessed with my rubbish local patch within walking distance of my house more than ever before! And seen more interesting migrants this spring than all the other springs I've been looking combined. It's been every day rather than a couple of times a week. 10 times as many people and their dogs wandering about in it though, so massively more disturbance for the birds.
Still crossing my fingers for you Larry that you will get that Garden Warbler
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Old Tuesday 12th May 2020, 08:08   #17
Larry Sweetland
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Still crossing my fingers for you Larry that you will get that Garden Warbler
Lol, thanks Carol. Not actually a patch tick, but it would be a patch year tick, and I decided to do a patch year list for the first time this year.
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