Sunday, 29 May 2011

What a match!!

I know it's nothing to do with birding but did you see the game last night? I'd been looking forward to it since both teams made the final and it certainly didn't disappoint. Although it's not strictly the done thing, to support the opposition from another country, but hey, they were playing Man Utd after all and being a life long Liverpool fan, I had to go with Barcelona. Barca simply are the best team in the world, no matter what the experts have to say. Right the way through the team, from the manager, to the keeper and right the way through the starting eleven, all of whom would find a place in any team in the Premier League, they were fantastic. Messi was awesome, ok so he didn't have as good a game as he maybe has done in previous rounds of the competition, but you couldn't take your eyes off him, he's simply on a different planet to the rest.
I'm glad that Man Utd finally got what they deserved, they've been lucky this season, ok so they've won the league for a record nineteenth time, but Chelsea threw it away. Look how well they were playing early season and how many goals they were scoring. By sacking Wilkins they made a monumental mistake and paid the price. As for the game last night, apart from the early stages of the first half, Man Utd were outplayed and given the ultimate masterclass from the ultimate team.

 Messi - playing at Anfield next season, I wish!!!

Friday, 27 May 2011

On this day......

27th May
1990 saw the first visit of this little beauty to Jenny's Cove, Lundy... then returned to the same site for the next two years running. It brings back great memories, although it took trips on two consecutive days, to finally connect, this one could take some getting back. Also on the same day and also in 1990, there was a White throated Robin, although untwitchable, on Skokholm, two pretty good birds eh? Well bring on tomorrow.

28th May

Like the one in Northumberland in 1979, another 2-day stay by this bird would go down nicely...

Also wouldn't mind another chance to catch up with one of these either !!!

Eyes to the skies folks!!!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Top 10 Most Wanted

With the lack of oppurtunities to get out birding recently and the 2 MEGAS I needed not available to the masses, the Calandra Lark in Lincs moved on quickly after reportedly being present the night before and the Rock Bunting in North Yorks. never being seen again, I decided to do a bit of day-dreaming - what's new there I hear you ask!!

Listed below are the birds I would most like to see in this country, I'm not too fussy and will take them in any order!

Bridled TernMy most wanted bird with 2 successful dips!! The first of these came on one of my very first twitches back in 1984 and I still remember it as if it was yesterday. We were birding the area around Waxham, Norfolk and decided to check if there was anything about. Obviously before the time of pagers and Birdline so it was a case of phoning Nancy's cafe in Cley. I remember Simon coming back to the car and telling us of the continued presence of the Bridled Tern at Rutland water, Leics and a male Collared Flycatcher in Margate, Kent, what a cracking double that would be. Well, it would have been if we had seen either of them! Arriving at Rutland, we were told that a certain top lister had flushed it and it was never seen again!! Cheers mate, whenever I've seen him at a twitch since, I've wanted to kick the *!*?!$* in the shins!! Anyway, with one dip under the belt, it was onto Kent. Sleeping in the car overnight, we awoke to no sign of the bird. Scant consolation came in the form of ticking Ring necked Parakeets. Collared Fly had to wait until the next year at Holkham and even then I had to wait another 19 years before it was accpeted by BBRC!

The next attempt for Bridled Tern came for the long staying bird at Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey. Again with my Dad, we travelled overnight and missed it as it flew out to sea early morning, no worries though, it did this most days so it was a case of waiting for it to fly back in as it did every other day during it's 3-week stay. Of course, we waited all day on the beach and it never came back and was never seen again.

There's been a few records since those but none that have ever been really "gettable", wouldn't have minded being in on this "little twitch" though.

Belted Kingfisher - Like most of us on April Fools Day 2005, I didn't believe the Belted Kingfisher report at Shugbrough Hall, Staffs, so didn't leave work. Regretted it pretty much ever since. Was there at first light the next morning along with a couple of thousand other birders and no BK. Excitement grew when it came on the pager late morning, only to realise that it was actually now at another site, Eastrington, East Yorkshire and less than 20 miles from my house!! A mad dash back north, found us all dipping the same bird twice in the same day. It was refound, this time much further north in Aberdeenshire a few days later and I couldn't go. I'm sure there'll be another at some point, just hope it's not another 20 plus year wait for it.

Siberian Rubythroat - A massive dissapointment was the twitch for the Rubythroat on Fair Isle in Oct 2005. News broke early afternoon on 23rd October while I was at Spurn. A phone call was made straightaway to RBA to see if there was any interest in a charter flight if I could arrange one. Wasn't expecting much following the popular bird on the same island 2 years earlier. Luckily one of the RBA team still needed it and along with a friend from Norfolk, we made our way to Blackpool Airport early the next morning. There was no sign first thing and just as we were giving up, news came through that it was still there and the twitch was back on! Twenty minutes later we were in the air on our way north. We were met at the airfield on Fair Isle and given a lift to where it was last seen but there were no other birders around so it was up to the three of us to refind it. Time ran out and we had to return to catch our flight home, no consolation whatsoever was taken from the Black throated Thrush or Arctic Redpoll we did manage to see. We left the island thoroughly gutted, with me personally vowing never to return to the "Magic" isle.

I still think it's only a matter of time before we have a twitchable one on the east coast, with Spurn or Old Fall at Flamborough with my tip, so here's hoping!

Steller's Eider - Being slightly before my time, the Male on the Outer Hebrides would have been my idea of the perfect bird, spectacular bird in a spectacular setting. For some reason I couldn't get the enthusiasm for the more recent Scottish female, although I did the see the bird which got a few people's pulses racing between Cley and Blakeney a few years back, could have been an awesome Norfolk blocker but just turned out to be a funny looking Eider, at least I didn't make the journey for this one! Wouldn't mind it being a male like the long stayer Hebridean bird, but would happily settle for another chance at a female.

Little Bustard - With well over 180 records for the UK, probably the commonest bird I still need. Never twitched one so thankfully haven't dipped on one, surely only a matter of time before we get a long stayer that is accessible. Rumours of one photographed in Norfolk last year are intriguing, but are hopefully just the rumour mill in over-drive!!

Caspian Plover - Males only please!!! Just because they're such a stunning looking bird. With the recent one in The Netherlands reported to have flown off in a westerly direction, hopes were high, but as yet, we're still waiting.

Hudsonian Godwit - A real blocker this one, with no recent records. Another bird at nearby Blacktoft RSPB would be much appreciated as that was just before I started birding. Although my Dad was birding at the time, he didn't realise the significance of this bird and said that he'd seen plenty of Godwits at Cley so turned down the offer of a lift, whoops!!

Glaucous winged Gull - As much as I hate gulls, in particular twitching them, this is one of the ones I'd like another crack at. They're just so bloody unpredictable, especially when they're on a rubbish tip. I dipped the bird in Cleveland in 2009. Went on the Sunday for it, when the tip wasn't in operation and there was no sign all day. It was back the next day but Amy was flown to the Intensive Care Unit at Alderhey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, 2 days later with Chickenpox Pneumonitis and that was that.

Hawk Owl - Wow, what a bird. I think this probably has to be at the top of most birders wish lists, except of course those lucky few who saw the 4-day bird on Shetland in 1983.

Wood Thrush - Oh my god, what a blocker this would have been! Picture the scene, ran for the boat on St Mary's, Scillies, over to St Agnes but waited for my Dad to catch up and missed out on being one of the 39 who saw this Nearctic Thrush back in October 1987. Weather conditions prevented any other boats from getting there that day and there was no sign the next day when boats could again sail. To make matters worse, we were staying in a flat with SJMG and DF at the time and had to watch as they celebarted with a miniature bottle of whisky when they returned home later that night!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Looking back...Glory Days of May

Following on from recent dissapointments, I thought I'd have a search back through my notebooks at more sucessful Spring days gone by, if nothing else, just to assure myself that I do connect with the odd bird at times!!

1 Lifer - Little Bittern-Holkham, Norfolk
Other birds of note: Red footed Falcon, Hoopoe, 5 Cattle Egrets, 2 Red throated Pipits, Grey headed Wagtail, Savi's Warbler

1 Lifer - Oriental Pratincole-Gimmingham, Norfolk

3 Lifers - White Stork-Northdale, Unst, Shetland. Rock Thrush-Holme, Norfolk. Eyebrowed Thrush-Auchmittie, Tayside.
Other birds of note: Surf Scoter, Greater Yellowlegs, Cattle Egret, Sardinian Warbler, Bluethroat, Black winged Stilt, Woodchat Shrike

Birds of note: Red footed Falcon, 2 Night Herons, Red throated Pipit, Red backed Shrike

1 Lifer - Chestnut Bunting-Salthouse, Norfolk

Birds of note: Short toed Lark, Whiskered Tern

2 Lifers - Hudsonian Whimbrel-Goldcliffe, Gwent. Fan tailed Warbler-Hengistbury Head, Dorset.
Other birds of note: 2 Slender billed Gulls, Black faced Bunting (Spurn esc??), Tawny Pipit, Red backed Shrike

2 Lifers - Little Swift-Netherfield Lagoons, Notts. Marmora's Warbler-Sizewell, Suffolk

2 Lifers - Lesser Sandplover-Rimac, Lincs. Lesser Kestrel-St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

1 Lifer - Iberian Chiffchaff-Kingswear, Devon

3 Lifers - Barrow's Goldeneye-Meikle Loch, Aberdeenshire. Trumpeter Finch-Landguard, Suffolk. Corncrake-Balranald RSPB, North Uist
Other birds of note: King Eider, Red rumped Swallow, Gull billed Tern, Ring necked Duck, Stilt Sandpiper, Night Heron, Pectoral Sandpiper, Rose coloured Starling

1 Lifer - Black browed Albatross-Sula Sgeir, Western Isles

1 Lifer - Crested Lark-Dungeness, Kent

Birds of note: Oriental Pratincole

So I guess I do see some birds after all, won't be putting the scope and bins on Ebay just yet!!!

Following the recent bird in Holland, this would be a good bird to break the "dipping" jinx on, here's hoping!

Aaagghhh !!!

Before I'd even finished submitting the last post, noticed this on the pager:

"Collared Pratincole - again 6pm Rosper Rd Pools, Lincs"

Typical!!! Could mean I'm heading south of the Humber again later in the week if it sticks

The dips just keep coming!!!

It doesn't matter to me whether it's for a lifer in London, a Yorkshire tick at Bempton or a just a good bird, I can dip anything. Today's effort was for the Collared Pratincole in North Lincolnshire. Having not seen one since I was doing a year list back in 2005, at Llanelli Wetlands, Gwent, I thought a trip to the other side of the Humber would make for a nice afternoon out with Amy.

Arriving on site at Rosper Rd Pools at 3pm, having seen that the bird had been showing well on the pager this morning, I was nearly knocked over by the wind getting out of the car, not a good start. I asked one of the few people left if it was still about and he said no but very kindly showed me the photos he had taken when it was last present at 1.10pm - cheers mate! Spent the next hour and a half sheltering from the wind in the car and viewing the pools in between reading storybooks to a very patient Amy. Teatime was calling, for her at least, so I reluctantly called it a day and headed home, just waiting for it to reappear on the pager, showing well!!

Rosper Rd Pools NR, Lincolnshire