Monday, 18 January 2016

A year on patch

I rarely find myself writing about my patch in recent years, mostly because I don't think it interests that many people particularly. It's a small amount of farmland and fishing lakes in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire which I try to visit at least twice a week, school work permitting. It provides a great indicator of the different cycles of the year. Obviously being land lopped means the migrants are late to come and often in far fewer numbers, but still it is always a joy to experience the beginnings of the seasons, or general changes in weather throughout the year.


When the flowers start to blossom and the hirundines seep into the country in small numbers they mark the start of migration on the patch. Subsequently the first Wheatears arrive in numbers of up to 5 or so, but only when the weather collaborates.


Finally the Swifts, one of my all time favorite birds, come gliding over the patch and grow progressively in number over the next few months until the temperature drops and they are forced back to Africa. The spring brings very little out of the ordinary on patch, but the common summer vagrants fill the woods and farmland with the sound of bird song. Whitethroats chatter in the bushes, Skylarks dance in the air, and Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler hope around the tops of trees occasionally calling to a mate, and that's when I know spring has truly arrived. Of course Spring marks the emergence time for both Butterflies and Moths, both of which can be seen in good number.



When summer hits, it all goes quite and if I'm truthful birding gets quite dire, except for the odd nest being found.

Common Frog

Then when almost all hope is lost, the hirundines and Swifts begin to leave as well! But it's okay because it's a sign of more to come. Once again the autumn brings the odd common migrant, and eventually winter sweeps across the country, bringing with it the thousands of thrushes and Goldcrests that make it my favorite time of year on patch. The cold holds promises for birds which it sometimes even delivers, especially in the more recent weeks where I've seen an influx of finches like Siskin and Lesser Redpoll. That brings a conclusion to the summary of a year on my patch.

Lesser Redpoll

Blood Moon

Startrail on patch

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