Thursday, 20 March 2014

Patchwork Challenge and other bird news at Parc Slip; A Guest Blog from Paul Parsons

This year I decided to do a Patchwork year list, joining a few of my birding friends in signing up for the challenge at this webpage. The idea of the Patchwork challenge is to go out birding in your local patch, with an element of competition! 

Robin (Paul Parsons)
Whilst my friends all chose coastal areas to maximise numbers, I decided on Parc Slip due to it's close proximity to my home in Maesteg and the lure of the new wader scrapes and hide.

New wader scrapes at Parc Slip (Paul Parsons)

I have set a target of 100 species for the year, hopefully with the bonus of a rarity or two along the way. The challenge allows for a 3KM square area, so my mapped patch includes some areas just outside the reserve in the form of Bedford Park and Craig yr Aber.

January was a very wet month but most of the common birds were seen along with Kingfisher, Cormorant, Treecreeper, Water Rail, Red Kite and Bittern. There were flocks of 30+ Teal, 25+ Lesser Redpoll, 16 Goldfinch and 30+ Siskin and I ended up with 43 species by the end of the month.

Lesser Redpoll (Paul Parsons)
February started off very wet too and highlights were Crossbill, Great Black Back Gull and Cetti's Warbler. My first returning Lapwing was seen on 10th and a singing Skylark marked the end of the wettest winter on record on the 16th. A flyover Stock Dove on the 25th brought my list up to 55.

March started with a crisp frost on the 1st and Peregrine Falcon and Tufted duck were new additions to the list. I missed a pair of Mute Swans that were seen on the 5th but were chased off by Canada Geese. A flock of 11 Bullfinch were seen on the 6th along with my first moth of the year, a Hebrew Character on the Visitor Centre door. 

Bullfinch eating Hawthorn buds (Paul Parsons)

The new hide was under construction on the 7th and the sun brought out Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies, spring had sprung!

On the 8th a female Goshawk drifted over the North wetland but was mobbed and chased by a Peregrine before I could get my camera out. Lapwing numbers were up to 16. Chiffchaffs were new in on the 11th and a flyover Kestrel took my list to 60 on the 13th. 

Green Woodpecker (Paul Parsons)
This week I have seen nothing new, although Woodcocks have been seen by two other birders.
Migration is under way and the next few weeks could turn up something good and hopefully, Sand Martins will return to the reserve this year.

Paul Parsons

Would you like to write a guest blog for the Parc Slip Blog? Contact Rose with your idea. 

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