Okay, maybe it wasn't exactly shaking its ass, but the little owl that I see from time to time on the patch did finally pose for a few snaps this morning.
I was in the car this morning as I had a limited window within which to do any birding. Having watched the owl for half an hour or more, I paid a visit to the magic field to check on the resident lapwings. I counted seven birds in the vicinity this morning, but there could have easily been more. When they hunker down in the vegetation they aren't always easy to spot.
I've got some proper patch birding lined up for Sunday morning, when I'll be walking to Earlswood Lakes. I'm hoping this will add a few species to the list. I have, however, been able to increase my count for the year by two without leaving the house - well, not unless you count venturing out of the kitchen door into the back garden!
Yesterday evening something told me it was time to start looking for barn owls, which are a fairly regular sight over my garden during the summer. I was finally rewarded just before 9:00pm when an owl flew over. Patch tick number 63.
Then today I happened to glance out of the kitchen window to see a swallow fly over the house. Patch tick 64. The target of 75 patch ticks this year looks to be within reach, but I still reckon I've got some work to do to achieve it. There aren't that many birds that I can guarantee seeing on the patch before the year is out, bearing in mind that I will have to be on foot when I see them. That virtually rules out a trip to Bittell reservoirs, which would otherwise be very productive.
Instead, I have to hope Earlswood Lakes delivers the goods during the next few months. Common tern is a certainty, but I will have to be fortunate to see the rarer Arctic tern. Kingfisher is a definite possibility too, but I've not seen one there this year. Willow warbler, grey wagtail, blackcap and sand martin will be the main target birds on Sunday, but there are others that are gettable with a modicum of good fortune.
Whatever I see, a full report will follow in due course, both here and on the excellent Birds of Earlswood blog.