Monday, December 17, 2012

Barnie Barnacles

So yesterday was to be my last* day spent in York before coming back to Birmingham to spend Christmas here. All was going well, quick trip out birding in the morning up to Castle Howard, however after about 30mins scanning the lake this is what happened

Before that there were good numbers of Duck and Geese but not the hoped for Smew or Great Northern Diver.

I then head home to start packing up. Then at 14:40 I get a text from the AW Birder saying that he'd just had 3 Barnacle Geese from North Duffield! Oh dear. I needed to be leaving York by 4 and I still had plenty of packing to do! I replied trying to dismiss them as plastic, but knowing that my year listing rival mate was just around the corner at Ellerton I tried to put him off going 

It didn't work!

So its now 15:30 and I start panicking! I manage to finally pack up and leave the house at 15:50 and raced down to Bubwith Bridge by 16:10, was I too late?! I jumped out of the car to be told by a smug Chris that they had drifted out of sight! It was getting pretty dark but by standing on a pile of crap that had been washed up by the recent flooding I was able to scan the flock, however after about a minute they all took flight! Disaster! Half went south and out of sight and half went North, I scanned through as they were flying but couldn't pick any small branta types out! Then the flock that flew north landed on the river, I had a half hearted scan thinking that I'd missed them but then the appeared! 3 Barnacle Geese swimming away, I'd just scraped them onto the year list with the last 2 mins of light that I would see in York in 2012!* (for pics of the birds look here) I'd managed 174! Beating the previous record by 4! When I first did this year list I said I'd be happy with 150, then once I'd started my amended target was 170, I'd be chuffed to equal it, so to have beat it by 4 species I'm really happy!

Now the irony is that I have seen upto 75 Barnacle Goose weekly this year in York! But there the semi-resident feral flock at the Uni and half of them sport small plastic red rings and hang around with the 20 or so Snow Geese that are also there. So after a full year of seeing them down to 2 ft I had to drive like a madman down to North Duffield (sticking to the speed limits of course) just to get the worse views of the species I've had all year to add them on my York Area year list! 

Cat C contenders?

So that's it for birding in the York Area, this year*

*unless I feel the need to go racing back for another year tick!

I leave with Chris Gomersall hot on my tail on 173, so he'll need to find 2 year ticks to beat me, gonna be a tense 14 days!

Full summary of me year in York will follow but for now I'd just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped me out this year with finding birds, tipping me off and giving me further information! Couldn't have done it without the help of everyone! Cheers!


  1. Well done Tim 174 species for the York is an awesome achievement, be interested to see the summary when you get around to it ... any notable omissions ... hawfinch? lesser pecker? whinchat?

    I was out at bubwith yesterday too, on the look out for berwick's but missed both them and the barnacle geese!

    Tim@Timbobaggins Abroad

  2. Dont panic Tim i will be out most days and will tip you off via awbirder if i find owt good or weird.

  3. Cheers Tim, yes those 3 as notable ommisions, also Black Tern, Spotted Redshank, Little Stint, Wood Warbler, but its more than made up with the highlights!

    To be honest Zing it wouldn't be a bad thing if there isn't much more before now and the end of the year as I'm in Birmingham now!