Saturday, 28 April 2012


It was only in my last post that I outlined my current patch tactic of not taking the SLR to the patch in the hope of tricking rare onto my patch list and it only took three visits until it paid off in spectacular style!

After listening to Leicester beat Leeds I felt a quick patch visit was in order (three days in a row now *shudders*) and made my way down to Jubilee and quickly became aware that the river had risen slightly overnight and most of the grassland was now rather soggy, requiring wellingtons. I had no wellingtons so instead got wet feet as I made my way down to the river. Just as I was setting up the scope for a grill of the pool I noticed something porpoising along the far bank of the river towards me. Things generally never porpoise up the river so this grabbed my attention rather quickly and I soon realised "oh my god, its an Otter". Yes, an Otter! Win! This was a tick of epic proportions too - I'd never seen a wild one anywhere before so to get one on my pitiful excuse of a patch was truly astounding. Seemed like a big male too as it slowly worked its way upstream along the far bank down to a range of about 5 metres, didn't seem to notice me at all.

Unfortunately however, the decision to not bring the canon backfired in truly spectacular fashion at this point as instead of a chance to photograph (albeit in terrible light) a big fat male Otter at close-range I had to make do with a picture taken with shaking hands on the galaxy - in terrible light:

Yes, the photo is craptastic, but its still a patch Otter!
After it worked its way past me and neared the confluence with the Sence it seemed to notice my presence and promptly disappeared, never to be seen again. I stood well back from the confluence for a while and watched to see if it re-appeared but it wasn't to be. But nevermind, still an experience I won't be forgetting in a hurry!

Oh and birds....there may have been birds, but I was too busy Otter hunting to pay attention to such trivalties!

EDIT: The presence of this Stock Dove on the lawn this morning alerted me to the fact that I had forgotten the species on the garden list which I have now amended.

DOUBLE EDIT (I need to stop doing this):

Shortly after I finished this blog post I got a text from Skev alerting me to a "Wheatear fest" at Grove Park and thought it would be rude not to go and see them as one of the main reasons for my patchwatching over the last few days has been the chance of a Wheatear - tantalising totals are being reported everywhere at the minute. And so I joined Skev and Dave Gray at Grove Park and saw 11 juicy Wheatears with minimal difficulty. Very nice although my attempts at photographing them went down much worse than Rid managed earlier, bit jealous on that front!


  1. Brilliant!! As the Sence is close to me I'll be keeping my eyes skinned for one on my own patch!! Oh - and I'll leave the camera at home too!!

  2. Thanks Richard, we met everso briefly last summer at Rutland when the Spotted Sandpiper was around - I was the young fellow that lost track of time chatting to you and your colleague about the Ospreys and very nearly missed the Sandpiper before the reserve closed as a result! Regular reader of your blog too, I'll add it to my blogroll ;). I think the Sence near you however is a different Sence to the one that joins the Soar at Jubilee Park, two rivers with the same name in the same county is endlessly confusing! And yes, leave your camera at home although im wishing I took mine out today in hindsight!

    1. Ah, yes!! I remember well - both you and the bird. It was a pleasure to meet you both.

      Two rivers named Sence in Leicestershire - aint no sense in that! Next thing you know there'll be two Ashbys or two Braunstones. Nearly as confusing as having towns named Thurcaston, Thurlaston, Thurmaston, and Thurfaston in the same county and close by each other!!

  3. Jealous. I NEED Otter for my County mammal list!

  4. WOW WOW WOW, utterly amazing mate, what a find!!!

  5. As I think I mentioned in the text - FUCK!! Now I need Otter for my patch list - previously I was happily oblivous to them being on it (though I knew they were not far away).