Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Wet my Lips

First Quail (102) heard today from the GS Hide...

PAUL SCHOLES 1994- 2011

Following on from my Football summary, today I'm paying tribute to another great who's just announced his retirement.

Paul Aaron Scholes, born in Salford, a one club man (I'm not a Utd fan). Scorer of all types of goals including many headers and incredible volleys. A total controller of the midfield with an almost force field type presence no matter what the opposition (Mark Hughes had a similar gift as a target man).

Mis-used by many England managers especially Erickson, who's master plan was to play him wide left, expecting him to do 100 yd runs along the touchline in 100 degree heat!!! This finished him off for me...he'd had enough! What a waste, as we've had the Lampard/Gerrard fiasco ever since...

I mentioned some of my personal greats over the years, I have no hesitation in placing Paul in this category. People like Bobby Charlton and Ray Wilkins are better qualified to comment than I but I can only endorse their sentiments.

The thing I loved about Paul was his quiet unassuming nature, no big ego here, just a total confidence in his own innate ability which commanded total respect from both team mates and opposition. OK he can't tackle but nobodies perfect!

To me it's a pity last Saturdays game couldn't have been a fitting finale to a brilliant career...again he could have made a difference...

So that's it, he's gone. We'll never see his like again...Thanks Paul, it was a pleasure.

Wayne Rooney "The best I've played with or against"

At the risk of overkill...just watched Sir Bobby Charltons tribute...class!

The legend - Paul Scholes

The volley against Villa takes some beating!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Damp Squib?

The weather seems to be reflecting the Birding scene at the moment. Could this go down as the quietest Spring on record for Rare Birds? Still time though...

I have a passion for US birding and have added the ABA blog and a birders (John Vanderpoel) Big Year 2011 blog (summer plumaged GREAT KNOT today!) to my Blog list. My friend Sandy Komito holds the record with an amazing 748 species!!!
Here he is (incredibly) with John in Anchorage 2 days ago!

Sandy on the right

I can't see that ever being beaten as he did it in an El Nino year and had access to Attu which as far as I'm aware no longer exists...access that is...not Attu!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Football...The Best?

Watching the most one sided European Cup Final ever last night got me thinking (dangerous I know!). I've been hearing for weeks that Barcelona are the best team ever, and last night did nothing to harm that claim! Technically brilliant but as an entertainment, I'm not so sure...excitement sadly lacking. However a lot of "experts" I've heard are under 40? So there has to be a leaning towards the more recent players/teams. In this internet age it seems everything has happened in the last 15 years!

I must balance this by stating footy fans of more advanced years than I are better qualified to comment than yours truly...

Anyway, here's my tuppence worth...feel free to move on!

For me the key word is team and there is no doubt Barca have a tremendous team spirit. The manager must take a lot of credit for this. Bob Paisley won 3 with Liverpool!
Team understanding is everything...ask Brian Clough's bunch of mainly misfits who won it twice!!!

He never bothered about the opposition because he knew his players would cause problems with their style of play. Not sure what Utd's style was last night?

They also have fantastic individual players especially in the midfield "engine room" where the game is won and lost...Xavi and Iniesta against Giggs and Carrick...no contest!
Scholes and Keane might/would have sorted it in their pomp? I'm a Scholes fan in case you hadn't noticed and he could (still) have definitely made a difference last night. A Keane type would have stamped their authority on the midfield and unsettled Barca...it was far to easy for them to pass around Giggs (a legend but not the player for that role last night, I'm afraid) and Carrick (too slow and lacks presence).
Oh...nearly forgot...and they also have a world great in Messi...23 by the way!

What about tactics though? Both Barcelona's and the opposition...

Barca's pass and move style tires the opposition out mentally and physically. Seven players have come through their academy bringing with it an almost telepathic understanding.
Therefore, to counter this the opposition have to keep the ball under pressure, ...Utd didn't/couldn't!

To their credit Utd tried initially to attack and ruffled their feathers for a short while but it soon became apparent that Barca's far superior ball retention would wear Utd down...and crucially destroy their confidence and demoralize them!!!

Like so many English club (and national) sides they gave the ball away to cheaply.

In a nutshell...the opposition always seem to have so much time, and our teams always seem so rushed? It beats me why our teams are so jumpy on the ball as the days of the crunching tackle are long gone? I wouldn't say the Spanish lads were that intimidating...physically!

The 70's Liverpool side was the only English team I've seen who could dominate the best with their pass and move "high energy" style.

Until our teams find a way to relax on the ball and have a clear way of playing which they stick too we'll always struggle against the very best.
Let's face it, Utd stole the '99 final simply with a desperate last gasp effort after being totally outplayed by the Germans.

The Best?

Di Stefano

Just one point about Messi. Fantastic player BUT he doesn't have to worry about being kicked up in the air which has to make a difference. Dare I suggest that should make you more relaxed on the ball!
Pele was kicked out of the '66 World Cup and he was a strong as an ox!
Best had to hurdle Chopper Harris's tackles amongst others!
etc etc...

I'm not saying that was right but that's how it was...and it would make a difference in comparing today's players.

Real Madrid
Bayern Munich
Nottingham Forest - simply because of where they came from...and where they've returned too!


Personally, I don't think you can compare players/teams directly from different eras. However most countries seem to have had a golden period either at club or country level...our country must be due!!!

So, that's it...but what do I know, maybe nowt.

But that's what I believe...

My personal favourites

Player - Pele 643 goals in 656 official appearances! 1087 goals 1120 total appearances!! Magic!

Club - Liverpool 77 - 84. Superb dominating and tough unit.

International Team - Brazil 70. Check out the Pele header and the 4th goal in the final!
Although the 70's German team was pretty special led by the Kaiser...I had a grudging admiration as a lad!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Might have helped them keep the ball!!!

First holiday outing

Out locally this morning and finally managed to connect with the Redstart, thanks to a little help from a friend. I'll be down the Duff this afternoon hoping to add to my 101 total...possibly one of these:-
Little Egret
Green Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Common Tern
...or maybe a Lifer!
...got to be optimistic!

BIG game tonight. Just hope it's exciting and not a chess match? Oh and I'd still have Scholesy playing...they need to keep the ball.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Fan-tailed Warbler - Arizona

Fan-tailed Warbler - Arizona  by bonxie88

Fan-tailed Warbler - Arizona , a photo by bonxie88 on Flickr.
A touch of the USA rarity scene. This US MEGA was seen in Madera Canyon, Arizona on Wednesday...a bit brighter than our European counterpart!

Made it!

Another half-term over! Looking forward to plenty of Birding and Footy plus a bit of gardening. Hope we get some decent weather...for rare birds and gardening...

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Time's running out...

Preferably at Spurn!

The month end is approaching. We all have our theories about weather patterns and rare birds. They don't always pan out. Here's hoping there's still something in the wind winging it's way to Britain. The above would do very nicely indeed...

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Had enough of this...

Time for things to calm down now, especially as I have next week off...

Monday, 23 May 2011


Couldn't resist! Surely not?

Sunday, 22 May 2011


We made the trip to Filey today to try for the RUSTIC BUNTING. A smart male has to be worth seeing, right? We arrived about 10 and tested the facilities at the Country Park cafe. Jack Whitehead was behind the counter and there were quite a few birders present also enjoying some refreshments, including Frank Moffat who apparently found it...nice 1!
We then made the walk to the lane but couldn't see anyone? The pager informed us the bird hadn't been seen/reported since early morning. As we turned we bumped into 3 birders one of whom informed us that he had seen the bird around 10! We joined him and made our way back down the path. Within 2 minutes we were enjoying good views of the bird on the path...a right cracker!
It was nice to see Tony Dixon again. We had a good chat, catching up on stuff. He told me he was going to make Filey his "patch" and we both remenicsed over the place, saying how few rare birds it seems to turn up these days? Not like the good old days...cue violins! The wind was getting stronger so we returned to the cafe for lunch. Gary Taylor arrived for a bit of lunch and after a brief chat we left for home...and the Footy...
Seems like the bird wasn't seen again after we left...

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Doing the rounds

Sightings more challenging now. Still, enjoyed prolonged views of a hunting Barn Owl plus a brief glimpse of my one note Cuckoo!
Got a call from Haydn around 9 informing me the Redstart was still singing on Skippy (Skipwith Common). He'd also had a couple of Spotted Flycatchers in a favoured spot. We had a good walk round checking out both sites but no joy for yours truly. Also got a call from Russell Slack (cheers pal) ..."Spoonbill at Wheldrake"! My first thought, yes, you guessed it, did it fly over NDC? I like to think I would have spotted it during my 2 hour stint? No, I didn't go. Just checked my records, my only LDV sighting... Wheldrake 21/5/1990!!

Not sure of tomorrows plan yet, partly due to Survival Sunday...bring it on!

Sometimes on the way to work I get a decent bird sighting...maybe a Barn Owl or a Buzzard. To put things in true global perspective, consider this

Friday, 20 May 2011

VERY Busy Week!

Last week for our Year 11's (a good year) so things have been hectic, this coupled with extensive play-off action has resulted in posts being few and far between! However, I definitely haven't lost my enthusiasm for Blogging. Also, things are very quiet both locally and nationally? All is not lost however, as we still have plenty of time for "good birds" to turn up...hopefully starting this weekend. I've got a week off from the 27th so I reckon I've got a fair shout of connecting with something special.

Might post some music later...

Monday, 16 May 2011

Still picking 'em up!

Poor weather this evening and things to do. However a brief visit enabled me to add another year tick in the form of a tuneful Garden Warbler (101).

Sunday, 15 May 2011

How can anyone miss one of these? I did!!!

Barn Door

We left for Spurn slightly earlier this morning due to my decision to stop at the wild bird cafe at North Cave for a sausage sarny instead of eating at home. As we pulled up we saw Richard (Willison) and Gary (Dayes) with a couple of mates in situ at the table and chairs. After breaky we said our goodbyes and continued to "Mecca".

After another brew we had a run up to Easington to try for the Tawny Pipit. We started to make our way south but the wind was strong and there weren't many people about...plus Louise didn't fancy it! To be honest I wasn't that bothered myself as I'd seen a couple at Spurn before. We returned to the car and decided to have a drive up to Easington to try and get out of the wind.

We'd only been there 5 minutes when a car pulled up beside us, it was Barry Spence who informed us a WHITE-TAILED EAGLE had been seen over Hornsea Mere and was now heading south!!! Back in the car and back towards the warren (this could have been a mistake...in the form of that wonderful sense...hind-sight) where we bumped into Andy Roadhouse (thanks for posting the report pal). After a chat he left saying any further sightings would be put out immediately...good stuff. Maybe I need a radio?

So, what to do or to be more precise, where to stand and wait? I was fortunate enough to see the Burton Constable bird (7/11/99) so it wasn't a Yorkshire tick. I decided I'd like to try and pick it up myself so I positioned myself out of the wind at the end of Beacon Lane. I had a great view north along the coast and over the Gas Terminal and could pan further west. I was passed by a chap from Pontefract (again my poor memory for remembering names has kicked in...apologies). We kept looking. Then we noticed he seemed rather agitated and was pointing west. I still couldn't see anything so we decided to follow him.

Ten minutes later we reached him as he stopped to view and he then told us the dreaded news that the WTE had just disappeared into Lincs! I would obviously have loved to have seen such a magnificent bird. The only consolation being the fact that the views were apparently distant. I would of course, have expected it to fly right over my head! This it apparently did for Richard Willisons nephew Mark and Tony Martin at Hornsea!!

I should have gone to Sammy's...

Saturday, 14 May 2011


Weird year. Seems to me (wrongly) that things have settled down into breeding mode and yet there's still plenty of time for some rare excitement! Saw a Lapwing chick this morning being guarded vigilantly by a responsible parent. Also spotted a Linnet (a much overlooked/ignored species...at least by me!) carrying nest material, always nice to see. Swift numbers continue to increase with at least 100 birds hawking over the reserve. Quail and Corncrake sightings on the coast now, here's hoping something makes it to NDC...optimistic as ever!

Friday, 13 May 2011

We're back!

Gremlins in the system! Anyway, obviously fixed now. Tried for the RRS at Bank Island last night. Russell Slack was there when I arrived and he told me the bird had been seen by Craig Ralston but he'd been looking for 25 mins with no joy. I was joined on the viewing platform by a Mr Downes (apologies, I forgot your first name) who told me he was a friend of my pal Barry Bishop, small world. Pete Piringer and latterly Chris Gomersall arrived for a session. I gave it till 6.30 then my awaiting Sainsbury's curry proved to tempting. the bird wasn't seen again...

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


I'd tried to find this bird using both guides on 4 occasions with no luck. Id looked at a lot of Coots!! I decided it was time to try my number 1 lead. We drove north then west to the Odiel Estuary. This area is at the western edge of the Cota Donana and Iwas looking forward to birding the area and hopefully seeing "THE Coot".
I needn't have worried. We pulled up at site 2 of the Gosney guide, I got out of the car and scanned the gravel pit...first coot...

Monday, 9 May 2011

Fat lady?

I'd just arrived back at the car with thoughts turning to the Liverpool game (3-0 up in 15!) after a fairly uneventful session when I heard a Cuckoo with a sore throat. Much scanning ensued and I managed to grab this record shot...

Bit closer!

Work tick! - chatting to my year 7's around 9.30 when a Barn Owl floated across our "house locked" school field.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Cuckoo...Ton up!

Made the 3 figures tonight with a brief sighting...

As mentioned previously, I had no luck with rare Vultures in Spain...seems like things have livened up!

A Good (Little) Tern needed?

Once again, as I have for the past 25 years I trudged down Beacon Lane this afternoon to view these wonderful birds...

A special Yorkshire breeder. Nearly every year despite the vigilant efforts of the staff and warden the mortality rate is very high. Various methods of protection have been employed...to combat the various types of predator, be it Crow, Kestrel, Fox etc. I'm sure this matter has been discussed many times by the people concerned. It's such a pity for the staff and especially for the birds that all that effort is virtually entirely unrewarded.
Also, if this trend continues we could eventually lose this species as a breeding bird, which would obviously be a tragedy. Nature must take its course...of course, but couldn't it be bent a little more to ensure a successful breeding season?

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Time for some Music

We went to another Soul do last night. Great atmosphere and some superb sounds. Inspired me to post a few more of my favourites. Here are 3 crackers from a tremendous Motown duo. One's that good I've posted it twice. Both no longer with us, Tammi taken so young...

Ain't nothing like the real thing
"This piccalo is so beautiful. What an accompaniment to the melody. We could never fully reproduce this great stuff now because the accoustics cannot be duplicated. It was in a cottage-like house or garage-like building and a lot of musical spontaneous experimenting. These guys were true geniuses. Comparable to Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Brauhms and Handel all gettin together and jammin classics"
Says it all...

Tammi Terrell - Ain't nothing like the real thing

Marvin and Tammi - Ain't no Mountain High Enough

Check out the dancing!

Tammi and Marvin - Two can have a party

Perseverance pays off

Down Duff again around 5. I'm determined to put some good shifts in this month even though my patch resembles the Sahara Desert! I have 2 puddles left that can still attract new birds...hopefully? I was mulling over the possibilities (as we all do) in the Geoff Smith hide, when I heard an unfamiliar call. Over puddle number 1 flew a Greenshank (99) calling constantly. One brief circle and it flew off down towards Garganey hide and puddle number 2 were it appeared to land. So, armed with camera (which I had to retrieve from the car...yes, I still haven't rid myself of the habit) I quickly made my way down. Using my commando, stealth like technique, I crept into the hide for a peep and...the bird had continued on it's way!

Still, another example of a bird that makes a brief appearance...you have to be there...right.

Off to Spurn tomorrow..hoping for a BIG one...as usual.

Northern Bald Ibis

Holiday highlights cont'...

16th April -  Zahara de los Atunes
We'd been down the coast road from Barbate to Zahara de los Atunes on a few occasions on our way south, and I'd had a quick glance in the fields adjacent to the road, but hadn't seen any evidence of the NBI that were released in the area in 2004 and are breeding in the area this year. So I decided to give it a good go this morning while Louise had a lie in. As I approached Zahara, just as dawn broke, I noticed a couple of likely contenders decending from the ridge to the east of the road. I parked the car and scanned the field with the bins...BINGO!
4 birds seen

These birds were not seen again despite being looked for on more than one occasion. Okay, re-introduced but still VERY rare...


Thursday, 5 May 2011


At last. maybe it's not too late to refill my patch before the end of Spring? Now there's optimism for you!

Plenty of Swifts back now, saw c10 above the local Spar in Bubwith...great birds, welcome back...please help them...

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

North Cave Wetlands

Had a mosey over to NCW this evening hoping to connect with the 1s Caspian Gull. No joy but had a good chat with Gary Dayes and Andy Gibson. Hope to see them again soon at Spurn when we're all looking at that MEGA!

Nice sprinkling of Avocets plus Yellow Wagtail

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Not so Swift...for me at least!

Brief visit this morning with Rocky...a quick scan...SWIFT! (98). My latest ever arrival date for this special bird. Got a text from Andy saying he'd had a few Cuckoo records, none for me yet.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Here and there...

Decided to take Louise for a run out to North Cave Wetlands late morning. The wind still blew, so we hit the Wild Bird snack bar for sausage and bacon sarnies...strongly recommended and VERY reasonable! As we finished, the box alerted me to the fact that the Collared Pratincole was still present in Immingham...why not?
An hour later via the Humber Bridge we arrived to the sight of the bird hawking over the water...very smart indeed.

Had an hour this evening. Not much to report and still waiting for my first Swift!

Sunday, 1 May 2011


Any day with an Eagle sighting is a great day. I had a few great days in Spain.

12th April - Tarifa/Los Barrios Area
I had several attempts at trying to locate 2 rarities...Long-legged Buzzard and Ruppell's Vulture. I tried all the recommended sites but to no avail. Viewing across the strait was always misty and very windy (east), sometimes foggy and I saw very little evidence of migration during my visits.
On our way to the salubrious Los Barios tip in search of "The Vulture" I was fortunate enough to grab this shot of a STE...


The following day we decided to head for the mountains to try and get away from the incessant wind! We first visited the Ronda area...very nice. We then moved onto Puerto de Los Palomas...

Finally we decided to try a site for BONELLI'S EAGLE along the Via Verde near Coripe (Gos page 34).
We'd done a lot of miles on winding roads and I wasn't sure about visiting this location as we had a long drive home...I'm glad I did!

On his Throne

Spent a magic hour with a pair of these enigmatic birds...Dreamlandos!!!

Thanks Dave...