I’ve never had an official “patch” – the term used to describe an area that a birdwatcher visits frequently, recording birds and other species each time.
Not only is this a great way to learn bird identification but you also start to become more aware of the changes that occur in the area, for example seasonal changes, or which animals rule the roost.
Today I think I have found my local patch, or as I’m more likely to call it, my habitat. It’s a small park down the road for me which is mostly used by kids, pram-pushers and dog walkers. Truth be told I’ve been a bit behind on my birdwatching after changing jobs and moving to a new flat, but even after settling in I’ve found it hard to work up the motivation to go out and bird. Why did I manage to today? Honestly? I went out to catch Pokemon.
Yes, the once over-hyped Pokemon GO! After purchasing a new phone, the app suddenly started to work smoothly (for the first time ever) and after catching quite a few from the comfort of my own home, I couldn’t resist heading out after work and checking out the local hotspots. 6 Eevees later, I found myself next to a pond, in the aforementioned park, staring at a nearby grey wagtail. I really like grey wagtails. There’s something so cool about them.
Back home I went to pick up my camera, promising myself on the way that if I ever go out to do this again I WILL take my camera with me.
Sods law states that as soon as you come back armed with a camera your subject will be long gone. However if I know one thing about birds it’s that they are creatures of habit and that whether it takes minutes, hours, or days they are highly likely to return to the spot where you first saw them. Especially if they spent a solid amount of time feeding there.
True to form, the grey wagtail returned and I managed to get a few snaps before it disappeared again. This happened once more before it seemed to fly away for good – exiting the park by going over the trees rather than popping into the undergrowth. Whether or not if left because of me was hard to tell. The park is right next to a road, and many people come and go from the benches that surround the pond. I also noticed a few other birds nearby, so it’s possible it could have fled due to a rival bird or alarm call. Dogs area another hazard for the local wildlife – and to the standard photographer who I admit must look a little bit strange crouching down, with a large black thing in their hand. I would probably bark too.
The light was rubbish, the photos weren’t great, but this wasn’t a bad start to what could become a really interesting place to get to know a lot better.
- Grey Squirrel
- Grey Wagtail
- 30-40 Green finches
- Song Thrush
- Blue tits
- Great tits
- Collard Dove
- Wood pigeon
- Plus 15 Pied Wagtail on the way home (got to love winter wags!)