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Know your patch

 
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JohnD



Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 377
Location: Brierfield, Nelson, Lancashire

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:58 pm    Post subject: Know your patch Reply with quote

I think it was Bill Oddy in Spring watch a year or two ago who talked about getting to know your patch. I decided to make an effort....and instantly found the exercise rewarding...tonight I extended the patch just a little after a very slow start, nothing but quite a lot of wood pigeons ....then as I turned off the bridle way onto the road back into the village I heard a piercing call I though I recognised and looked up to see a large brown bird fly down into a field on the hillside and get lost among the juncus (rushes).(Edge of the Peak district National park) Then I heard it again and had a magnificent view of a second Curlew that followed the first and became equally invisible in the failing light once it had landed. Then I spotted a small bird fly down onto a wall some distance away and with binoculars was able to ID a pied wagtail, before seeing two swallows as I got back into the houses where I heard the evening songs of blackbird and Chaffinch. A male pheasant had scared me half to death as I had gone onto the Bridle way and it was good to see the Mallard that had been ducklings when I last walked the route in May, as almost fully grown birds.
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Kit



Joined: 25 Sep 2005
Posts: 2547
Location: Nottingham

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds as if it was an interesting, if not slightly startling, evening, John! I haven't been able to observe a 'local patch', as my legs don't work well enough, but it must be very rewarding to get to know somewhere really well. I bet there are all sorts of surprises to be seen if you keep on watching. Curlews are beautiful birds, aren't they!
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JohnD



Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 377
Location: Brierfield, Nelson, Lancashire

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:11 pm    Post subject: Local patch Reply with quote

Hi Kitty_ yes Curlew are super birds. Until this year had only seen the odd one but first on a trip to the North East of England there were lots in the mudflats at Seal Sands.
Then travelling back from a holiday excursion my wife stopped the car and said "I think you should go and look over that wall." What she had spotted were Oyster catchers (dozens of them) but also in the field were Gulls ( at least four kinds) and again dozens of Curlew . That was in the last week. Then last evening walking from home they cropped up again. I suppose for me it has been the year of the Curlew..
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JohnD



Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 377
Location: Brierfield, Nelson, Lancashire

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 9:17 pm    Post subject: the patch Reply with quote

The home patch(the garden) and the far patch (the walking route)

Have continues the watching and walking over the summer with very mixed results. This morning is proving farily typical for the home patch:
6.40 An early breakfast from my window chair . Totally dark outside: I can see nothing. All is quiet and still.
6.45 A phrase or two of bird song and another from the same bird. The song builds and develops
6.50 Still singing. I can see the silhouettes of hedges and rooftops that give my garden horizon. There is the whine of a distant plane
6.52. The white of window frames and roof edging come into view
6.53. Another plane Shapes of hedges and borders become visible
6.54 Bird song takes up again and continues -6.57 and stops. Has the bird gone? Or found something else to do? Or just stopped
6.55 A third plane. Garden features come into view – pots shrubs plants. A light goes on in the house at the back – the first visible sign of an awakening human world.
7.00 There is colour- just a little warmth from reflected light on orange brick
7.03 The rumble of a fourth plane. I can see to write. Water droplets are bright on the outside of the windows but I can neither see nor hear rain falling.
7.05-6 The bird’s song returns stronger, or closer? Wish I knew what it was.
7.06 Colour is returning to the world- the blue glaze on a garden planter ; the terra cotta of unglazed pots, the green and blue of the bird feeders and the frames they hang on, the yellows and browns of the bird table and the food with them black sunflower seeds, the paler mix of mixed bird seed, the petals of the late autumn flowers and a whole range of greens, colours and textures.
7.14 Another plane! I go and find nothing in the scraps pot in the kitchen but go to the shed and fill the small enamelled camping mug with bird mix…put some on the path but there is still some from yesterday on the table and the tray so I add no more.
Back inside I pour boiling water on teabag and two mugs: one for upstairs (hers)one for down (mine)
7.20 The sound of bathroom plumbing announces the other half of our household is stirring
7.30 Full daylight – another plane
At the front of the house four of the twelve homes on the side facing ours are showing lights only here the homes are shrouded in a blanket of moorland mist: the usual distant glimpses are blotted out by greyness.
7.34 Another plane and the occasional muted tones of distant traffic and there are tweetings: not strong or continuous, certainly not a dawn chorus but the promise of an active day to come as the world finally has colour and size and shape and wetness and purpose.
A not so muted roar of a vehicle and a tweet, tweet, tweet.
7.41 Another plane. No vapour trails today- only total cloud cover. Perhaps there are trails above the clouds.
7.46 My first hour of watching is ended. Its Friday. There are mechanical sounds of stirring lives and a clock ticks.
A hymn writer penned Dark and cheerless is the morn- unaccompanied by thee- it may be daylight and God is in it but dark and cheerless still seems appropriate ;we hope for better to come…I drain my cup of tea that has grown cold on the sill and go to meet the rest of my day.
I have not seen a bird in one and a quarter hours,
[/u]
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Steve Murphy



Joined: 14 Sep 2005
Posts: 226
Location: Rhymney Valley- S Wales

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi John - sounds like theres a bit of a poet trying to get out in your writing.

If you have a local patch and can find the time to visit regularly i'D bet you'd be amazed at whats on your own doorstep throughout the seasons.

As for your Curlews- theres nothing more beautiful than hearing the Curlews haunting song at sunset.

cheers

Steve


Curlew
Curlew
Poster: Steve Murphy, viewed 62 Time(s)

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JohnD



Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 377
Location: Brierfield, Nelson, Lancashire

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:47 pm    Post subject: KNow your patch Reply with quote

Thanks Steve,
Super [picture of a Curlew...congratulations.
I had forgotten this thread
Seems very odd I should have made comments tonight in another thread that should probably have been here. .... but yes I am continually being surprised...and I expect that aas long as I go out as often as i am able I shal keep on being surprised.
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JohnD



Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 377
Location: Brierfield, Nelson, Lancashire

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:31 pm    Post subject: The patch Reply with quote

Still walking the patch as often as other commitments and the weather permit. Not much point in going out with bins and camera and notebook if it is pouring with rain.....but have some amazing surprises over the year, not the least of which was the appearance of a little ringed plover at the pond.
We have had Moorhens there since late April when I first noticed a nest on the rock island, and in time first two and then five chicks were seen. The nest was upended and all the birds disappeared briefly only for the adults to return and then five chicks to appear....
For a little while now I have only seen the chicks or some of them and i wondered what had gone wrong for the rest....we have a semi resident heron, a foox has been known to slaughter chickens in the field next to the pond and I saw crows wreck a curlew nest earlier this year not so far away.
Tonight there were seven birds there, the two adults both on the pond, the five chicks,now minus their fluffy blackness and slowly putting on wing and tail markings were all there grazing on the grassy slopes beside the pond.
Dont know if two of them had been away with the parents.
I had understood that normal practice is for the parents to stay put in the vicinity of the nesting area and for the chicks to disperse. We must wait and see what happens.
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