Wednesday, 14 December 2011


Went down early this morning having risen at 6.30 with Louise. Saw the day break over the Carrs enhanced by a cloudless sky. Groups of Whoopers flew south down the roost last night after the cannon netting session...funny that!
Around 11 I got a text off my mate Arnie Cowan informing me that a birder had seen a Short-eared Owl this morning. I gave it a go from 2.30 till joy and still no Whoopers...

I can dream!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Tough going

Spent some time sat in the Geoff Smith hide today. You can only look at cattle grazing for so long! No, there were birds around, you just had to look hard and be patient (not one of my strengths except when Birding). The Whooper herd flew in...I counted 51 with many immatures, a couple of distant Buzzards floated around over Aughton in the winter sunshine. An old couple joined me and couldn't understand why there was no water! I remained politely silent. A while later, the highlight...2 more Buzzards approached together from the direction of Bubwith Ings. Closer and closer they came...over the river, still closer...then one flew right over the hide at around 30 feet giving superb views...if only I hadn't left my camera at home...AGAIN!

Friday, 9 December 2011


Well, took Lou to the flicks last night to see the BIG YEAR. Loved it! Yes, it's Hollywood and there was obviously some poetic licence but it WAS based on a true story and Birders try to beat the record every year. The acting was excellent and it had a strong cast which helped to develop the story's strength. It expertly explored the effect it can have on relationships...and finances. We can all identify with that! Having travelled extensively in the States and built up a 650+ list I could relive many locations I had been fortunate enough to visit.

I've already mentioned that John Vanderpoel is attempting to beat Sandy Komito's record of 745 and as you can see he's in with a shout! He's on 738 with 22 days to go...just 8 needed...should be worth watching...

Monday, 5 December 2011


Decent herd of Swans out on the Carrs this afternoon. Grilled them for a good hour but not a sniff of a Bewick's Swan. On a positive note there were a good number of young birds (15+) amongst the 25+ adult Whoopers. Accurate counting was impossible as they fed in ditches at times and were constantly on the move.

My first view this winter of the "yellow-bills" inspired me to change my header photo...that and the forecast for the week!

Sunday, 4 December 2011 IS what it used to be!

Went with Louise and Mother to Chester for a Christmas shopping extravaganza. I then took the reins and drove to a nearby bridge and waited. Out in the distance I eventually saw white smoke...

...then there it was...full steam ahead, as it should be seen...forever...

I then drove to the Station to soak in the atmosphere with c500 other enthusiasts plus many surprised, casual admirers! I was much more impressed than I thought I would be. The engine was in immaculate condition...the smells and the sights brought back many childhood memories.

In today's disposable society it's refreshing that some parts of our Heritage have been preserved for future generations to see and hopefully appreciate...I do.
That was the end of the fun as I sunk into a long shopping sit!!

Two young birders that I went to see the SANDHILL CRANE with went down for the WESTERN SAND' today. Tom texted me to see if I wanted a lift...cheers pal. We were still over in Bury and fortunately I didn't "need" it as I saw the Aberlady Bay bird in August '97. Glad you connected your number now Andrew.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Desert Wheatear

Made the DESERT WHEATEAR pilgrimage today. I'd had a habit in the past of leaving it too late to go and see birds of this family. I like Wheatears...perky, smart and easy to see! I arrived at a perishingly cold Bempton around 1.30. I gave the young lad a few throws of his ball, then left him in the car and made my way gingerly down the path. Major improvements going on here which was nice to see.

I'd only gone around 20yds when a Short-eared Owl flew virtually over my head!!

I continued the short distance to the cliff footpath. Just as I reached the fence I noticed a bird flicking around on the path...surely not? Bingo...DESERT WHEATER!

The little cracker had been frequenting an area a little way along the coastal path, so it must have known I was struggling a bit. It was so tame it probably would have perched on my crutch if I'd stuck it in the ground!
It continued to feed in the immediate area around the grandstand viewpoint until I left a short while later. SEO's were almost constantly on view quartering the fields and frequently swooping over the cliff edge...spectacular stuff. This was the star of the show however...

Footnote: Just to back up my earlier comment, I've just added the record and realized I've only seen 1 previous DESERT WHEATEAR in Burniston 27/11/1989!!!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

On a brighter note

Whooper numbers are starting to build up now even though there's no water. They just graze at the far end of the reserve. I've said it before and I'll no doubt say it never ceases to amaze me how they return here every year, remaining site faithful, despite the attractions of the WWT reserves. There were at least 18 present this afternoon. Bullfinches are ever present and at least 4 were seen around the feeding station.

High tides and strong winds have wreaked havoc at Spurn. Hope it's not the end of the road (no pun intended).

Looks like I've got it all to do in December to beat my NDC best year total...

Just received a text of Russell Slack. 3 Bewick's and 30 Bean Geese seen at NDC this afternoon. Unfortunately not during my visit. Hope they hang around...

Monday, 28 November 2011

Sunday, 27 November 2011

An underestimated illness

We all have bad moments/times. I've had some which I won't bore you with and luckily found a way through. Surely though when a fit, intelligent, rich, good looking and successful 42 year old man hangs himself...maybe it's time for a fresh perception in some areas of true Clinical Depression.

Someone once told me about the Swan syndrome. We all appear calm and in control on the surface but underneath we're paddling like mad to keep going...makes you think...doesn't it?

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Secrets out!

If your looking for birds on this one...give it a miss!

While listening to Talk Sport last week (Keys and Gray to be precise) I was fascinated by an interview with Pete Waterman. He obviously talked about his love of Football (can't understand why he supports Coventry!), his Music and...Steam Trains?

It took me way back to my young days in the 60's (did I say 60's?) growing up in the small Lancashire town of Bury, carrying my mum's shopping down "the Baltic" (an affectionate name for the elevated road into the town centre). The road became a bridge over the railway line and I always hoped we'd time our walk so I could catch a view of one of the ever decreasing steam train fleet. Diesels were fast taking over but that just made the sighting of a "steamer" all the more special. I spent many a holiday travelling around Lancs trying to tick off as many remaining steam trains as I could. The magic moments though were when a "namer" (a train with a name!) or even better a Britannia class 70000 shot through Bury by chance...links here with a rare bird?

Where is this leading I here you ask...

Well, like I said it's confession time...

I used to be a trainspotter!!! Surely links here with being a Birder? Lists, chasing birds/trains. No doubt.

I am obviously aware of all the private railways and the incredible volunteer work that goes on throughout Britain but I wasn't aware of the amount of mainline opportunities there are out there to view these trains were they should be. Thundering along the mainline and through stations. Things with real atmosphere and character, bringing the railways to life and giving yours truly a real buzz when seen.

I've always wanted to see the Settle to Carlisle section of our rail network, so I'm booking a trip for us next year starting at Manchester Victoria. Looking forward to it already. A trip to Chester next Saturday will start my tribute to these beasts as Britannia steams in at 1pm. Full line up can be found here if your interested (which your almost certainly not!).

So, there it is, my secrets out. Seemed a perfect time to come out while I sit  through another Saturday night Karaoke!

70013 Oliver Cromwell

70000 Britannia

Mallard 1938! World speed record holder. Now in National Railway Museum, York
Feel better for that! No secrets here. It's still (mainly) a Bird Blog though...

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Keep right on...

Verdict from the specialist...a course of Physiotherapy. OK, so that's what yours truly shall do. I've got my exercises and I'll do them religiously. I was also advised to "do as much as you can do" to keep my muscles strong, this obviously helps the joint. Time will tell if it works...

Plenty of geese of various species around Yorkshire at the moment. I'm hoping some will drop in to NDC soon?

Out of interest (if only to me) below is a list of birds I've seen at NDC but not this year (not a complete list - summer birds excluded). I only need 4 to break my year list record...

Bewick's Swan (Cygnus columbianus bewickii)
Taiga Bean Goose (Anser fabalis)
Tundra Bean Goose (Anser serrirostris)
European White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)
Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)
Dark-bellied Brent Goose (Branta bernicla)
American Wigeon (Anas americana)
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)
Common_ Scoter (Melanitta nigra)
Goosander (Mergus merganser)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)
Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix)
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Red Kite (Milvus milvus)
Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)
Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)
Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
Eurasian Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola)
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)
Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)
Long-eared Owl (Asio otus)
Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta)
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)
Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus)
Marsh Tit (Parus palustris palustris)
European Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis flammea cabaret)

Monday, 21 November 2011

A VEERY Happy Birthday

We made the trip up to Mallaig and I joined the charter boat out to Muck. Just over an hour later I had connected with another Lifer in the form of a VEERY.

The setting was less than salubrious!

...but the result was satisfying

In Muck...on Muck!

None of this would have been possible without my wonderful partner...

Specialist verdict on hip tomorrow?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

They just keep on coming...

VEERY on Muck!

Veery Picture

Now where is that?

Also juvenile Gyr in Lancs...took me 19 years to catch up with one on the Gower. I'd still love to see another, preferably as close as this...

These beauties coupled with the Greater Yellowlegs and the year seems to be having quite a sting in the tail...

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Getting close!

I don't know if you've been having a peep at the John Vanderpoel's Big Year (probably not!) but he's getting close to the record. Sandy Komito is the current holder on 745 (give or take the latest split/lump!). I never thought anyone would get this close as Sandy had the advantage of birding Attu. Then again John has the advantage of advanced technology? Anyway it's going to be interesting to see if he can top that total. They've even made a film about this contest!!

Another chance?

Friday, 11 November 2011

Lest we Forget

Particularly poignant this year with the (ridiculous) row over the England shirt (typical FIFA). Many tributes's mine. Best illustrated for me by these 2 songs, the first one by the legend that is Rolf Harris...81 and still going strong...excellent last Saturday night. The second helped by the genius of Mark Knopfler's guitar. Both works of art that say it much better than I ever could...

Two Little Boys - Rolf Harris

Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms ( war version )

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Lists and thanks

Some of you may have noticed I've added my Bubo lists so they are easily accessible (to me at least!). No, maybe when you’re really bored you might like to peruse them to check their authenticity!! I think it's a great way to compare what you saw, when, with other birders. The links will obviously lead you to the website where you can see all lists. You might want to add some yourself?

Autumn is not quite over it would seem, with a flurry of "good" birds down the east coast. Spurn, as usual scoring well...location or coverage...or both? Always worth a visit even in early/mid November, especially with a south-easterly airflow for the rest of the week.

Question - To tell or not to tell that is the question?
Answer - TELL. I've been there...SLATY-BACKED GULL!

My daily Blog hits continue to increase, I'm flattered...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Boxing Heyday

R.I.P. Smokin' Joe
A sad day. I was fortunate enough to grow up in an era of great Heavyweight boxers when you had a succession of truly classic fights. Commentated on by the legendary Harry Carpenter on the BBC. Electric atmosphere, great bravery and skill (they actually hit each other then!) and unpredictable results.
Joe was the first boxer to beat Ali.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Most Wanted

Coming to a reed bed near you?

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sea Air!

No hobble needed (prediction correct this time) but we enjoyed the clear skies and the fresh air. PENDULINE TIT/S at Anglers C.P...big Yorks tick. Missed the Knaresborough male in September 1992 due to a mis-interpretation i.e. thought it was Bearded Tit!!! Time will tell...

Appointment with specialist on 22nd. Crutch a big help for short distances. Again time will tell...

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Ride out

Louise has promised me a trip out tomorrow. Now then, where could we go...Spurn! I know how to show a girl a good time. Forecast very good but clear tonight? Might have a hobble from the warren if the bird is still present. My hunch is it won't be judging by many past records although the 1990 Kilnsea bird was a "3 dayer". Be good to get out anyway and breathe some sea air.

Another IW in Wales on the Gower. Happy memories of my GYR...

Friday, 4 November 2011


A sting in the tail of Autumn 2011. Pity it broke so late in the day, maybe a few locals managed to connect? Great bird and a classic for mis-identification. Still, should be no doubt as it's been caught and ringed! Again, the fact that I've been birding long enough enables me to have seen the first record 22/10/90 at Kilnsea on the Humber Bank. Amazingly enough I also saw the next one on Gugh, IOS 19/10/91!! The other 2 Yorkshire records were 1 day birds so probably a Yorkshire tick for many of the younger element. Hope it stays so they can connect tomorrrow...

Still 4.23pm by post 28...I can hear the cars screeching from here!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Signs of Winter

A decent flock of Fieldfare (c200) tonight down NDC plus 20 Ruff flying around the grassland! Whooper Swans have been seen in the area. Bullfinches are always a pleasure with 3 seen. Wet weather forecast for the next few days...time to fill the Carrs thinks!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Scilly Summary

Another visit complete. Managed to nudge my IOS list to 195 (see Bubo). Might make 200 next year? New additions came in a mix of MEGAS and Island rarities.


It was early!

WILSON'S SNIPE - second record but recently accepted
Pectoral Sandpiper
Great-spotted Woodpecker

Plus amazing close views of UPLAND SANDPIPER, my second record after seeing a pair on the airfield in '99.

It was great to meet many old friends again and get to know some new ones. I particularly enjoyed acquainting myself with Viv Stratton and Bryan Thomas. The restricted movement wasn't ideal but at least I made it. BIG thanks to Mark at the digs for ferrying me around the islands at a moments notice..cheers pal.

The minus side of the trip was obviously dipping the SCARLET TANAGER. I still feel I had the correct strategy (although I would, wouldn't I!!). It seems that the general consensus now is that there were 2 different birds. I'm not sure if that's more or less amazing than a single bird hopping over to Scilly?

Thursday, 27 October 2011


Sat (again) on Penninis Head when the pager alerted us to a REV near Porth Hellick. A quick call to Mark at the digs and we were on our way. Got great views almost immediately.
Scilly strikes again!!!

Scilly update

Things are rather slow down here but there's always the anticipation factor to key in. It's a weird situation when you still have great birds present but everyone has seen them! They are in no way de-valued however. While there's time there's still hope for another big one, right?

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Finally managed to see the UPLAND SANDPIPER! Granted I'd not put in avoid shift due to the hip situation but this afternoon myuck changed an d it showed down to 20 feet just over the wall in the bulb field. I also got some excellent pics which I'll post when I return.

It seems I CAN add WILSON'S SNIPE having seen one previously and the general consensus down here being that the current bird is a "classic". So I will...

Monday, 24 October 2011


Popped across to Tresco and had a sit in the hide as the weather is grim today. Added a couple of Scilly ticks in the form of LESSER YELLOWLEGS and Pec Sand. Also had prolonged views of a Spotted Crake. Nothing developed regarding the "Nightjar" sp on Penninis. I still haven't seen the UPLAND SANDPIPER in the bulb field! Getting a taxi up there when we land back on Mary's.
That's all for now folks...

Sunday, 23 October 2011


Well, thought the plan was sound. Reached St Levan for dawn and waited. Not a sniff. Then just before 10 a sudden mass departure? "It's on St Mary's"!!!
Stranger than fiction.
Arrived on the Islands slightly early around 3.20 were I bumped into Andy Walker who'd cleaned up...nice 1 pal.
Taxi up to the site but no sign of the Tanager...
I still feel (know) I had the right strategy but I didn't have the right amount of luck!!
Luck improved with a further taxi to Lower Moors were I connected immediately with NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and the WILSON's SNIPE. Amazing and very lucky that the former has been there so long.
I'm VERY satisfied with how things went because there's no way anyone could have predicted the series of events...and it might still re-appear...although I doubt it now.
That's it for now. There will be daily updates due to my limited mobility. Mark at the digs has offered to transport me around the Island... result!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Mixed Messages?

As we approach Bristol with my expert driver at the wheel, I'm trying to make sense of today's events! What's certain is the bird is difficult to see!!! I managed to change our flight time to 3.15 so we have a shot tomorrow morning. Apparently it's OK to park at the Minack Theatre which is handy for yours truly (complete with crutch!).
So, tomorrow could be very special...or not...with the Waterthrush hopefully waiting for me on St Mary's.
Wish me luck...

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Status Quo

Well, I got my X-Ray result on Monday evening and it confirmed that I have indeed got arthritis in my other hip. Obviously a consequence of playing football for 11 years in my younger days and being a PE teacher for 22. After a chat with my Doc he signed me off for a month with a view to a consultation with the specialist. Hopefully I'll get the same chap that did such a great job on my other one.
I have to say though that I'm not totally incapacitated. The Doc agreed that I should try to get out of the house within reason to keep the weight down and use the muscles...and stop going stir crazy! I can drive for a while and walk short distances but I soon start to feel the bones touching. It's got to be the weight of my upper body pressing on the hip.
I've talked it over with Louise and we've decided to still take the break on the Scillies. A combination of a crutch/stick support, taxis, some "Big Sits" and maybe the odd pain killer will enable us to hopefully enjoy a decent break. It's a pity for Louise who enjoys (as I normally do) lots of walking around the Islands. We booked (and paid) months ago so we'll just have to see how I go. If it doesn't work out we'll just have to return early...
I'm not going to mention the...

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Worth a try

Made the trip to Norfolk with Haydn driving me down...thanks pal. Tony Dixon from Flamborough decided to wait for news. Unfortunately Haydn only has a 2 seater van so we couldn't take Andrew this time, sorry pal. He did make the trip with another mate however. We arrived at dawn with the journey passing swiftly due to the excellent company. We made the thankfully short walk to the site and joined the throng (c700). It was a superb crisp and clear October morning with the sky sprinkled with flocks of Pink-footed Geese...brilliant!
Unfortunately there was no sign of the RUFOUS-TAILED ROBIN and groups (too) soon began to drift away. I still feel it was worth the trip as I don't have to go very often these days. Another MEGA that's been seen on the mainland. Maybe next time?
ASAP always the way for me...

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Holiday Yarns 5

Being laid up gives me time to complete my Grouse stories from the Summer. I'd been given some info' regarding sites for this reasonably common, but highly elusive species. I'd had a couple of tries over the previous two weeks with no luck, so it all boiled down to my number one site...Signal Mountain in Grand Teton N.P.

Made it up to the car park before dawn and waited. Unluckily a couple of cars joined me making quite a bit of noise...not good! Anyway they soon disappeared to enjoy the sunrise and I continued to wait. Then out of the gloom there it was, calm as you like, waddling around the car park, not a care in the world! 5 minutes later gone...only one I saw!

Dusky Grouse through the car window!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

New additions

Road test for the dodgy hip by the way of a hobble at Spurn...I can't keep Louise away! Bumped into a few familiar faces. Had a chat with Andy who informed me my Friends of Spurn membership was overdue and Nathan who informed me that a HAWFINCH was showing by Long Bank. A Spurn Area tick no less! Although the bird was deep in the bush it was possible to get decent views...just! Then up it went into the grey yonder...and then there were 2. Also managed a Spurn tick in the form of SCAUP...tarts tick! Also had a chat with Vince and his mate...not seen him down Duff for quite a while.

X-Rays due on Friday...hope it can be sorted...won't mention it again...

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Scilly scores again!


Always a very special, enigmatic bird. 44 records but still a MEGA bird for me. Just checked my records...12 years ago since I saw a couple around the airport on St Mary's (26th October)...the last Scilly time flies.

Had a ride out to Spurn today and a short walk with the Budster. Not much around but there were a few groups of Redwings around...signs of Autumn/Winter. We bumped into a lady who recognised Buddy (not me!) which led to a conversation about my Blog. Sorry I forgot to ask your name... but this is a kind of mention I suppose! We'd just reached Patrington when the pager alerted us to a Common Rosefinch back up the road! We let it go but once again it shows the pull of Spurn.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Back online!

Finally got back online at lunchtime. It appears the problem was with BT not O2. Anyway it's sorted now. I went for my X-Ray this morning. It's still sore but settles down with rest. I'm OK for driving and short distances but it soon starts to ache...time will tell?

I've been hobbling down the first hide to stop myself going stir crazy. I managed to finally see the Green Sandpiper (106) on Wednesday. Elaine and Arnie had mentioned there'd been one hanging around for a while but I'd failed to connect until now. Buzzards have also been showing well with 5 birds in view yesterday, 3 over NDC and 2 over Bubwith Ings.

Another "WILSON'S SNIPE" on Scilly and a quicker conformation! I've seen a couple of "pending" birds over the years. It will be interesting to read the accounts on this individual.

Latest here and here

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Still here!

Just a quick post to explain my silence!

Unfortunately my right hip is playing up and very sore. I had the left one replaced in 04 and it's been perfect since. Pay back for all the Football in younger years. I've got an appointment on Friday for an X-ray...fingers crossed it's not too bad. Also our internet connection is down but I thought I'd just send one on Louise's I-phone.

Appreciate the amount of hits I've been getting despite the lack of posts...Cheers!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Worth a try!

Left school at 3.30 and made a dash for Filey! SANDHILL CRANE for Yorks? I'd been following it's progress down the east coast and it was looking good. Richard Willison and Haydn Patterson were already in place but I couldn't contact them as my phone had packed up. I decided to go for the Country Park and look north towards Scarborough. No sign of the chaps or the bird. I also met a birder called Jonathan who's a mate of Pauls. He was the chap who let me look through his scope last Saturday early doors...small (Birding) world!
So, what will happen tomorrow? Seen again or off into the great blue yonder...time will tell. Hope it hangs on till I finish work!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

More Temps

I've been playing the Temptations for a while on the way to work. I keep coming back to this track. The incomparable voice of David Ruffin plus the amazing Funk Brothers band. Why do sad songs sound so sweet...

Since I Lost My Baby - How cool is this

David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks and Dennis Edwards...GENIUS!

Temptations - Since I Lost My Baby (Original Stereo)

Monday, 26 September 2011

SHORT-EARED OWL - 4th record

not my pic!

Back to local birding after the excitement and exhaustion of the weekend! It was just turning 6.30 when I scanned the Carrs and was rewarded with my 4th record of this superb Owl (105). It made it's way north along the river towards Aughton and I had a brief further sighting on the far end of the reserve at 6.50. Great Stuff...

Sandhill Crane postscript
The bird has departed South? Could it land again in Britain...Yorkshire?! I suppose it could be viewed as lucky to get this "one back" after missing it 2 years ago on Orkney. I prefer to take the view that it's justice for the weekend only brigade. Just couldn't do Orkney at weekend...only just made Loch of Strathbeg, driving there and back...getting soft in my old age!

Saturday, 24 September 2011


Left at 9pm last night with Tom from Sheffield. We picked Andrew up in Co Durham and I drove on into the night. We arrived just north of Aberdeen at 5am. We grabbed an hour and a half and arrived at the RSPB Loch of Strathberg reserve at dawn (7am). We were all surprised how few Birders were present...but we were! Two young female staff members informed us that a small group were already viewing the bird from an adjacent building. A quick peep through a kind chaps 'scope relaxed things somewhat!!
We then walked out towards the hide and scanned the marsh from behind as it was a bit cosy inside.

We could see the bird well but distantly and the light still wasn't great by 8am. Around 8.20 the bird took off circled and headed off low North. We refound it some 30 minutes later on the ridge of a field. Again after a short feed it took flight...

It was now around 10.15 and the bird had disappeared again We decided to locate ourselves in the spot it had been seen on previous days. This proved to be a good move as after a short wait Andrew picked it up again in flight heading towards it's favoured field. Sure enough it landed and we walked the first stubble field to view from around 100yds...

A truly fantastic bird, well worth the effort and everything a MEGA should be. I have no hesitation in placing this bird in my top ten RUSH BIRDS/Best of Twitching (see list) at Number 8...

p.s. Andrew informed me that SIBERIAN STONECHAT has now been split. Armchair ticks for Britain and Yorks...result!

Friday, 23 September 2011


OK. Cunning plan in place. Leaving at 9pm. Managed to fill the car. Wish us luck! Full (hopefully successful) story on return...

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Exciting times!

L.T. STINT gone. Massive rarity but not a bird to get the pulse racing...Little Squint? SANDHILL you're talking! Everything crossed for a Saturday connection. In the process of filling the car. Be a great pull back after the similar timed Orkney bird of '09...surely not the same bird? I was considering a rather extreme attempt for the NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH on Saturday. The thought of the spew-bucket and the drive there and back plus a very limited 4 hour window didn't inspire!

Looks settled?

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Local/National Stuff

2 cc Marsh Harriers still being seen regularly down North Duffield Grasslands! a supporting cast of Buzzards.

The MEGAS just keep on coming. 3 birds now available that I need. If only I didn't work...but then I'd have no money!!! I'm tempted by the WATERTHRUSH but the LONG-TOED STINT would win...if it stays? SWAINSON'S will have to wait till October...on Scilly!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


I'm saying nothing!!!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Scilly status...last comment

I've just read LGRE's comments on Scilly. He makes some fair points but for me it's more than just rarity hunting. It's a special place to which I will always return. While I'm still teaching it will always be half-term week when I can meet some old friends and share a story or two. The fact that Louise also loves it is a big bonus!
Yes, it's getting more expensive, but what isn't? I maintain that birds will always turn up here. If there's less people going, never mind...there's more chance of yours truly finding something!!!

SOLITARY SANDPIPER lurking around the Dump today. Memories of the bird I saw in 2000 which remarkably stayed 30 days allowing me to connect on it's last day and my first!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Just because I feel like it!

First track on the radio this morning. Billy Joel prefers it apparently. The Maestro!

Spurn...great weather means few birds (usually!)

Despite the dodgy forecast we faithfully journeyed to the sacred patch leaving home earlier than usual (8am) due to our new addition, who came with us for his first outing to the coast.
The weather was fantastic as we departed and hopes were high, as always. The day remained glorious which unfortunately meant that few migrants were seen. We enjoyed the walking however including a trip to Beacon Ponds...

looks like the Med!

Buddy was introduced to the sea...

The rain only arrived on the way home. It all proved too much for the young lad in the end!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Scilly...not what it used to be (2)

I've been going to the Isles of Scilly since 1991. I didn't go every year in the early 90's due to family commitments. I did a 2 day twitch in '96 connecting with a female Black and White Warbler and American Black Duck on Tresco and an American Buff-bellied Pipit on St Mary's. The massive bonus was hearing that a Little Bustard had just landed on the Lizard Peninsular!!! After that I was hooked.

The last few years I've kept hearing many people say that it's had it's day? Not for hasn't moved as far as I know! True it needs the right weather systems but in my opinion they have and will occur again, and they will produce quality today...

Hope there's something left for late October...

New Birding Buddy

Start 'em young!

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH!!! Missed the Portland bird (14th - 17th October '96) due to work and this one seems destined to slip by also. Ah well, another one for my retirement list. Maybe it will hang around...some chance! Longest stayer of the previous 8 was 13 days again on weekend? Always optimistic!
Probable/presumed? A difficult ID. Surely not one of these?

Louisiana Waterthrush

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Big Hawk Down...the Duff

Bumped into Arni Cowan this evening. He told me about his Goshawk sighting although he didn't see it tonight. I'd been down with junior for an hour. I had a ccMarsh Harrier and 9 Golden Plover south.

Watching Billy Connelly on Route 66 at the mo...different class!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Scilly...not what it used to be!?

Buff-breasted Sandpiper 8
Spotted Sandpiper
Baird's Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper 4
Citrine Wagtail
Woodchat Shrike
Aquatic Warbler 1/2
Ortolan Bunting
Lapland Bunting

In the last couple of days...

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Things are hotting up!

The remnants of the Hurricane seem to have brought a few things across the pond. Star billing goes to the GREATER YELLOWLEGS...genuine this time! Luckily I'm old enough to have seen the Rockcliffe bird in Cumbria 16/10/1994. I'm sure there will be a lot of Birders praying it sticks till the weekend!! My pal Haydn's thinking of making the trip Friday, hope it hangs around for him?
Scilly is also scoring well with a Red-eyed Vireo heading the cast. Hope the weather and the birds continue to stay favourable...till I get there!!
Closer to home a possible Sooty/Bridled Tern in Co Durham...hope it's a BRIDLED!!! I could make it after work...

Sunday, 11 September 2011

One good tern...

Finally made a trip to see something elsewhere. Took Louise to Langlands for lunch taking junior with us!

Then onto North Cave Wetlands for hopefully a view of the juv Black Tern. On arrival it was nice, though not surprising, to see Gary Dayes who told us where to go to view the bird. He also told us an Arctic Tern was also present...bonus! Both birds showed well from the hide and I managed a few pics of my two new (site) ticks...sorry!

Also managed a cc Marsh Harrier at Duff.

Strong winds are a comin...