While some patch birders may have wild dreams and fantasies of rare birds gracing their patch, I don't set the bar that high. No, my most sought after patch tick isn't the kind anyone else (at all) would be interested in, it's not even a local scarcity! Even after two years of searching with great scrutiny I have been unable to find one. Mock if you will, but this seemingly impossible tick, is Gadwall. Why would they not come to park? Surely it's not that bad... I was surprised to say the least, when yesterday evening, at long last the search came to an end. I gratefully came across three Gadwall on the main lake, sleeping on the far side from me, even from that distance the grey of the two males was distinctive. Patch lifer.
As I walked round to approach closer to the Gadwall, the distinctive call of a Kingfisher started, and there it was, flying over the lake. By the time I had circled the lake I'd achieved some much better views of the Gadwall and the Kingfisher decided to show twice more. A treat for all the hours on the patch recently? Such a satisfying find.
Heading to the patch this morning, the Gadwalls sadly were gone, and I was back to scanning the ducks for them without success. Oh well. The next few hours were spent trying to accumulate a day list record for the patch, something I've been unable to beat for probably more than a year now, the current being thirty seven. And it certainly did seem on track for the first two hours, but then it got rather tricky. the list was (typically) stuck at thirty seven. Would I have to leave on such tantalising a number? It was just too much. On the cusp of caving, and giving up, I was saved with the call of a Chiffchaff. Which conveniently was followed by a view of the little bird. Thirty eight! As day-lists go, sure it's terrible. But for the patch, it's pretty much fantastic.
Worth almost missing lunch...