Patch birding can be tough going.
I’m sure many of us get almost existential jitters: “why on earth am I walking around semi-urban scrub regularly to tick off birds on a list?” amongst other thoughts. The general consensus is that things on the Patch are a bit rubbish at the moment (many of my fellow local tribe would probably use stronger language than that to describe things). It is true that hirundines seem later and scarcer, and some of the other migrants seem few and far between, not to mention the fact that we have watched much of the habitat trashed recently, but… I have to say I refuse to be cowed and give in to the birding funk.
Recent positives (for me at least) include:
1. Patch first Little Ringed Plover (times 3!)
… and just to prove that there were three of them…
2. More Willow Warbler than I have seen before on patch (I ticked seven singers the other day)
3. Actual views of Yellow Wagtail on visible migration (rather than usual faint squashy call in the ether)
4. Finding a Treecreeper in Bush Wood (these guys are scarce and tricky locally)
5. Finding a Cetti’s Warbler – only second ever on Patch (probably a returning bird)
6. Seeing a pair of Raven just off patch – highly scarce locally
7. Getting some photos of a White Wagtail – although not a new patch species tick, the continental race and cousin to our ‘pied’ variety is still always of interest when found on our island
8. Getting a photo (however bad) of a Snipe on patch
9. We have had some glorious weather (one early April day even went over 25 degrees C)
10. Getting close enough to a Wheatear to have a photo that is better than my usual rubbish
So things could undoubtedly be better, but I still get pleasure from just being on the Patch in Spring. And, as we have seen time and again, the Patch always has the ability to surprise us with a magical moment.