Monday, 30 April 2012

Right Choice for me

Bit of a surprise but well pleased. At least we'll have a team that's well organised. Not the people's choice...

but I reckon he'll do a great job. At least the players will be able to understand him! Strong rumours that Harry had issues with Trevor Brooking (who was on the panel) linked to incidents involving Billy Bonds? Not that that would influence their decision you understand. Hodgson has vast experience both at club and international level. He got a rough deal at Liverpool with King Kenny sat in the stand (34 points behind UTD and 5 home wins this season!)

All he has to do now is win every game. I'm sure our wonderful press will be very understanding!!!

BIG game tonight. Don't support either but I am a Lancashire lad born just down the road. I can remember watching Best, Law and Charlton plus Bell, Summerbee, Young etc. Even went to Wembley in '69 with my cousin Derek (a big City fan) to watch them beat Leicester 1-0 with a goal from Neil Young...I was behind the goal and can see it now. Great memories.

Tonight we have a player who can refuse to play for months, letting his Manager,team mates and supporters down. He then decides to come back, gets welcomed as a Saviour and all is long as they win the League.

What a great example to the kids. So, what's the moral of the Story?

If your good enough you can do whatever you like and get away with it?!!!

Floodgates are OPEN!

13c today...SW wind...Migrant flood on the way?

GET OUT THERE...when you can of course...

Sunday, 29 April 2012


Strong indications that migrants have been stalled this year due to the weather patterns. This is definitely backed up by this report!! Hoping to join in the fun (reasonably) soon...

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Real Feel

As you're aware I'm not very mobile at the moment. I like to be out in all weathers usually and have a positive outlook on things. Looking at tomorrows forecast it looks like I won't be missing much!! Better next week...allegedly! Those poor birds...


9am 10am 11am 12pm 1pm 2pm 3pm 4pm

Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain Rain

Temp (°C) 6° 6° 7° 7° 7° 7° 7° 8°

RealFeel® -3° -3° -3° -2° -2° -1° -1° -1°

Precipitation 65% 65% 65% 65% 65% 63% 64% 64%

Wind (km/h) 40 NE 40 NE 40 NE 40 NE 40 NE 39 NE 37 NE 34 NE

Humidity 87% 87% 86% 86% 86% 87% 87% 87%

UV Index 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Cloud Cover 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

Dew Point 4° 4° 4° 5° 5° 5° 5° 6°

Friday, 27 April 2012

That time of the year again...

Lots of information here including latest news. Just bought a Swift call CD, as I've got a pantile roof.
Hoping to attract a breeding pair...don't tell Louise! Can you help?

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


Ramires (right) is congratulated by Juan Mata

If ever there was a victory carved out with sheer GUTS...this was surely it!

Plus getting rid of...


The Crucible

Really enjoying the Snooker (apologies to all workers) at the moment. Haven't watched for years but due to my enforced situation the viewing is bringing back many memories. Lots of past greats on the commentary team...Steve Davies, Dennis Taylor, John Parrot. I love our long established traditional tournaments/venues.

Started watching with the advent of

"For those of you watching in black-and-white, the brown is next to the blue"

in the seventies. It was the platform for Steve Davies to launch his fantastic career. Great players and dramatic matches followed throughout the seventies with some amazing characters. None more so than...

Like many flawed geniuses in sport he found it hard to cope with age...

A brilliant Anecdote
"When he attempted to qualify for the world championship in 1995, Higgins lost to Tai Pichit, a former Buddhist monk. Yet for a moment in the 12th frame he was suddenly brilliant again. Having reached 103 in a break, he asked the referee, John Williams, to move. Williams refused to do so, pointing out that he was not in the line of sight. "You're in my line of thought, though," protested Higgins"


Sunday, 22 April 2012

NO Sleep...but spirits lifted

Big issues in having to (try and) sleep on my back...can you? Still, seems it's been hammered in OK and very little lets get on with the road to recovery.

3 Swallows (72) seen from the bedroom 5am...lifted the spirits.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Avocets at NDC

Well, I'm out, and I got gripped off! 2 Avocets at NDC this afternoon. I received the information from Russell Slack (cheers pal) but I was unable to attend in my present condition.
Apparently they didn't hang around...

Friday, 20 April 2012

A great Memory

The above photo was taken I reckon around 1972. My sister unearthed it from my Mum's collection. It features Bibby and Baron's (my Dad's works) second team. A great bunch of Blokes who weren't very good but loved their Cricket...and I enjoyed fetching the ball for them. It feels the right time to post this.
I miss you Dad...

Intro - Six Million Dollar Man

Re-built and hopefully out tomorrow...


Being a captive audience and trying to keep the grey matter exercised, I've been reading quite a few of my fellow "Bloggers".
They come in all styles. Witty, informative, controversial, and some are a bit rude! You take your pick and YOU obviously dip into mine of which I thank you. It's very encouraging you know!
Why do I do it?
Well. I like it and that's surprising as I'm not the best at making notes or keeping diaries. Maybe I'm a "techno" after all!
Building up a Blog list is interesting. Whether it provides local interest or great memories from places visited.
There are some excellent Birders out there. Some make you feel like you are there with them!
It also fascinates me that they come from all walks of life but share a love of Birds.
ALL Bloggers obviously share opinions, we don't always agree, but they have the right to air them.
So, that's my view. I hope I can continue to provide some entertainment for you for as long as you find my Blog interesting...

BIG BIRD in the US

Strong case...

We just got the following e-mail from Bret Whitney of Texas.

Eric Gyllenhaal

Sent: Thu, Apr 19, 2012 4:44 pm

Subject: Elaenia in Chicago

Hey Aaron, Nathan and amigos,

                    I’m Bret Whitney, down in Austin, Texas. A friend just sent me a bunch of photos of your bird. It’s a perfectly typical-looking adult White-crested Elaenia (Elaenia albiceps chilensis) in plumage wear fitting for the season (see below). The photos are super and probably are enough to establish the ID, showing the long primary extension, lengthened central/rear crown feathers. What you need to do to lock it down is get a recording; even a single-note call would probably be sufficient to eliminate the only other realistic possibility, Small-billed Elaenia (E. parvirostris). Small-billed has a pretty long primary extension as well, but not as long as White-crested and its crown is rounder, lacking longer feathers in the central/rear-central part of the crown; and it almost always shows a stronger eye-ring than adult White-crested in April. Take a look at the attached Elaenia plate I’m using for my upcoming field guide to birds of southeast Brazil, painted by British artist Brian Small. Upper left is White-crested, upper right Small-billed, lower left Olivaceous (E. mesoleuca), lower right Highland (E. obscura sordida). The plate isn’t quite finished yet, but it should be helpful for you, especially if you imagine the wings, for example, looking somewhat worn, like the bird you found.

Both of these elaenias are common birds in southern South America, White-crested being primarily Andean as a breeder and Small-billed being more widespread as a breeder all the way east to sea-level in southeastern Brazil south into Argentina. More importantly, both of them are long-distant austral migrants that depart their breeding areas Jan-Feb to undertake massive migrations north and east, the more dramatic being that of White-crested, which moves north through the eastern Brazilian mountains and, to a lesser exent but still regularly, through the lowlands mostly east of the mountains along the coastal plain. We think the entire population out of the Andes probably takes this route. The birds move through southeastern Brazil Feb-Apr and then swing north and west to move through northern Amazonia before swinging back south to breeding areas Sep-Nov.

You guys found an austral overshoot in Chicago! This is very much in the same pattern as spring Fork-tailed Flycatchers showing up in eastern N. America. Your finding of this single bird in Chicago makes me imagine that there are likely many other White-crested Elaenias scattered through the eastern US right now; people should be on the lookout for them, especially around any fruiting shrubs or trees with smallish fruits.

Feel free to post this message anywhere you want, and get in touch by e-mail if you have any thoughts or questions.

A fantastic record, guys, and you did a super job of documenting it -- now try to get its voice recorded!! You can pull up recordings of both of these from the Macaulay Library on the Cornell Lab or Ornithology website or from There are also some good reference photos to look through on the Brazilian photographers’ website (this site is truly awesome for the number and quality of photos on it, always worth studying!).

Good birding,
field guides
live to bird <> bird to live
LSU Museum of Natural Science
Honorary Research Associate

More Texas. Can you tell I've got time on my hands?!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Black-necked Grebes at North Cave

Great shot from Rich Willison taken today...

Try this for a taste of why Texas is so special and why I'll return there again one Springtime!!!


...over times yesterday. Just had a peep. Sleep deprivation and anaesthetic my excuse!

Anyway I've got internet access and I'm not going anywhere soon, so I thought I'd write a few Blog posts on other topics. Hope you find some of it interesting...

There are a few things left over from our summer holiday to the States that I'd like to share on the Blog, if only to record for posterity.

Battle of the Little Big Horn

Charles Marion Russell - The Custer Fight (1903).jpg
"The Custer Fight" by Charles Marion Russell

Being a child of the 60's I grew up in the era of Western films (which I still love). A famous battle has remained in my memory, and when I realised the site was in reach, it just had to be visited. The ranger that gave the graphic account to us was brilliant. A retired History teacher who made you feel you were almost THERE!

Custer was a brave man and a veteran of the Civil War (which also fascinates me). However his bravery spilled over into recklessness and he underestimated both his position and the strength of the Native Indians led by Sitting Bull and the legendary Crazy Horse. This resulted in himself and his men becoming cut-off from the other Regiments and ending up tragically on "last stand hill".

It was a moving experience to actually visit the site having watched the film(s) as a young boy. This probably being the most famous.

So here I am...

                 Moving, fascinating but in no way glamorous. Just an inevitable consequence of a young country being developed. The native people always get a rough deal...

Belated Indian tribute

"Custer was genuinely sympathetic towards the Indians plight, and opposed the Grant Administration's Indian policy. He spoke out against the abuses suffered by Indians on the reservations, which proved an embarrassment to the administration and, as depicted, was regarded by many of his superiors as a trouble-making glory seeker. He also said that if he were an Indian he'd fight the encroaching white expansion, which is repeated in the film"

Ironic indeed...

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Last in at 12.15. Out at 4.15 (well, that's the first I new about it!). Thanks again to everyone who wished me well.
Probably in till Sat/Sun. Then a slow but steady recovery.

Cuckoo reported at NDC yesterday per. John Heton.
Looking at my records my Cuckoos were VERY were right Phil.

Got ma boys round tonight to watch the match. Hope it's a good one... with no diving!

1-0!!! Drogba?


Sat in my room waiting for my turn...bit peckish now! Thanks for the support everyone, it's really appreciated.
Just surfaced at 3.30, feel great!

Monday, 16 April 2012

At last!

Op confirmation today, you'll be pleased to hear...but not as pleased as me! I go into the Nuffield, York at 7.30am Wednesday. Happy to have another re-surfacing, despite all the rubbish in the press. Same surgeon as last time. I've had no complaints in the last 8 let's DO IT!
Birding...and Posting will obviously be curtailed for a while, although I might share the odd thought via Louise's Iphone from my hospital bed.

Spent an hour down ND this afternoon...all was quiet except for a distant Buzzard. However I couldn't help bur reflect on my "OSPREY moment". Just goes to show, if you persevere for long enough you have a good chance of being rewarded...

Hope to be out Birding again (fairly) soon...

Sunday, 15 April 2012


At last. I've only waited 26 years! After reading about the sighting last night, I went to bed thinking it had probably moved on...probably?

Woke at 5...that was it.

Painkillers taken and off I set for "the Duff". Arrived on site at 6.30. As regular readers will know, I consider myself an optimist, but I was stretching it this time. Bud was having a sniff around while I scanned the Carrs with my bins.
Then, out of the trees it came, on a crisp clear Spring morning, soon it was hovering over the pool, catching a fish on the first attempt, then resting to eat it on this fencepost...

Realistic  view!

I texted quite a few locals to let them know it was still present and then started to let the feeling sink in that I had finally seen an Osprey on my beloved Patch.
Yes, I have a coastal cottage now BUT North Duffield Carrs will always be special to me and I will continue to bird here as long as I live.

I was joined by Elaine (Hi Tim, if you read this, hope you are well) from the village, plus Arnie Cowan from York. Shortly afterwards Vince and his mate arrived (sorry, can't remember your name!). We all enjoyed prolonged if distant views of this superb raptor. My number 1 wish bird for the site. No 147.

Not bad at c800 yds!

Eventually the Crows forced the Osprey to take flight. Still, we were then treated to a superb aerial display before it drifted off up the valley...

Those damn Crows!

Gull-like profile

So, my gamble paid off...YES!!!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Slowly but surely...

We had a drive down to Patrington Haven this afternoon where I added Swallow (111) to the Patch year list...

Still issues on the Hip front...never mind!

Just found out that an OSPREY lingered from mid-afternoon till early evening at Duff. No-one could have foreseen it sticking, but I'd have twitched it (with Louise) if I'd have known. It would have been a Duff LIFER!!
Never mind...again!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

An eventful day!

Had a look down the potential Sand Martin colony site this morning. No sign of any but 2 more Wheatears...

Great setting

a bit closer
Also had 3 Sand Martins flying north just before I left.

After lunch I had a ride up to Rimswell (another Wheatear was seen on the way on a manure heap). I like this site and reckon it has lots of potential. The usual stuff on the pond and a nice group of 24 Curlew on the Carrs plus close fly-by views of a Barn Owl.
I then decided to try a couple of sites around the village. It was then I heard a familiar sound of Spring...two notes...

Cuc-koo x 2 (110)

Flight profile of 2nd bird

I gave Phil a text, he soon appeared and within 10 minutes we'd picked one up in a nearby bush...

My earliest record ever by 10 days.

(More) eventful bits...
  • Buddy going AWOL on the cliff for a while. He's now worked out how to get down on the beach. I found him back at the car!
  • After a long discussion with my Surgeon I've decided to wait for the results of the blood test before choosing my hip resurfacing/replacement.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

My last!

Out with Bud first thing on the cliff top. There it was...

Received an e-mail from Caroline in the village informing me she'd seen 2 Canada Geese flying over the village shortly after I'd left her yesterday evening! Scarce bird around these here parts...

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

More exploring...

Making the most of my days before my Op I decided to try a few more local sites. First up was the YWT site Hodgson's Fields. I obviously couldn't explore it but I did have an impressive flock of c85 Curlews and my first LBB Gull (108). Reckon it will be good for warblers and migrants as it virtually backs on to the Easington Gas Terminal!

On the way back for lunch added R.L.Partridge to the village (69) and Patch (109) list. As I rested the old joint (violins?) a pager message had me driving down to the coast. "2 Cranes heading south from the Aldbrough/ Grimston area!" Heading my way? Alas no, but it was still stimulating scanning north over Withernsea in know how it is. I did however pick up my village LBB Gull (70).

A while ago I had a conversation with my neighbour Walt, a grand old chap of 75. He told me that years ago he knew of a Sand Martin colony close by. I checked it out today and it looks promising, I even saw a couple of birds briefly lingering over the site.

Migrants still few and far between here...

Monday, 9 April 2012

Stranger than Fiction

Weather forecast was accurate today...unfortunately. Still, undeterred I ventured out and the day started well with great views of a Barn Owl by the cliff path.

I then decided to have a peep at Rimswell Pond, highlighted by Phil in a conversation last week. The pond is viewable pretty much from the road and will be worth checking, as any decent body of water would be this close to the coast. Whilst having a scan, I picked up a Buzzard (106). The bird was in view for a good 15 minutes but at no time did it come close, as can be seen by another of my legendary images...

Other "good birds" seen in the area included a group of 25 Curlews, a couple of flushed Snipe, a Shelduck and the BIG bird...a couple of Canada Geese (107)!!
Checking my records this is the first sighting I've ever had, having never seen them at Spurn? Another nuance of establishing a new PATCH.
Phil arrived in response to my text but there was no further sign of the Buzzard.

Went home for some lunch then had a ride up to Hilston where Phil had seen this Wheatear...

Courtesy of Phil Jones

As I clambered out of the car I saw a gull flying south along the cliff top...GLAUCOUS GULL!
The exact same thing happened the last time I visited this site with Phil!!!

So, even though the weather WAS lousy, some good stuff was still seen.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

...and so it begins. Bluethroat (white-spotted)



The first quality bird of the Spring arrived at Spurn today in the form of a stonking White-spotted first!
I should have seen last years bird but was lazy. Anyway, arrived and soon got chatting with Adam Hutt and Nathan Pickering who helped us get "on" the bird which performed superbly, perching frequently in full view and was even heard singing at times...another first!
It was interesting (but obvious) that being just down the road the admirers were sparse but I have to say it did give a more relaxed feel to proceedings.
Also saw at least 4 Wheatears including this cracker...

...but no luck with the Black Redstart that had been seen at the point. Caught a glimpse of my mate Vince amongst the ever increasing group of admirers as we made our way back to Holmpton.

Bubo Patch list

I've added a Bubo PATCH list link as a quick reference for yours truly. If you're really bored you can view the species I've seen this year?!
Again, these active lists can be found under my profile...

It seems "the gull" has moved on...Yorkshire?

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Thayer's Gull

Made the trip to Lincs late morning (yesterday), brought back a few memories as I used to live in Scawby, near Brigg many moons ago. Found the site...and the throng. Luckily the bird was around and I got good flight views before it drifted off. I then went down to the Country Park for a while where I bumped into Andrew Kinghorn, nice to see you again pal.

Gave it a while but no joy, so I returned to the original site but by now the crowd had dispersed and the familiar and understandable "what to do and where to go" scenario ensued. I decided to find a likely spot and scan. The pager proved decisive again (it also lowers the stress level) as around 2.15pm it was relocated and showed well to all.

Unfortunately as I tried to get my record shot it decided to hide behind two other gulls, so I managed an even worse image as it departed the scene...

The wire is pretty sharp!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Family visit

We took my Mum to Spurn this afternoon to show her around and I had a look for the Great Grey Shrike. Lovely afternoon, no Shrike but enjoyed seeing her enjoying the sunshine. We did have great views of a SEO and I managed a year tick...Lapwing (55).

Tempted to try for the "Lincs Gull" tomorrow...

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


Gale force winds and horizontal rain here. Hence NO seawatching!!!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Change of the Seasons

2 new birds for the village today. Arriving was the long awaited Chiffchaff (67), two actually. This was followed shortly afterwards by my first Fieldfare (68).

I've added a Holmpton year list Bubo link to show my progress throughout 2012 in case you're interested? All Bubo lists are active under my profile.

Wind in the North tomorrow. Time for a seawatch...

Monday, 2 April 2012

Out Newton and Beacon Ponds

Second Sand Martin at Out Newton today (Little Owl showed again at Model Farm) and added Little Egret to my life Beacon Ponds list...

Wind picking up, temp going down!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

PATCH Boundaries stretching...but not too far!

Another glorious day here (not forecast). I decided to have another "reccy" of possible local sites that have potential. I'd spent a bit of time exploring the north of the area...granted with obvious limited walking...and driving come to that!
Still I thought I'd have a look at some sites along the Humber. Skeffling first but found a dead end way too far from the flood bank. Next it was Welwick, better luck here as I managed to find a spot which was a short walk to the Humber. This is going to sound a bit clever...but never mind. I was hoping for Marsh Harrier (103) for the "THE PATCH...guess what...

He was a good half a mile away

Blurred lady

Gave Phil a call and he soon joined me in watching these fine raptors. After we seperated I finished off with a quick look at Patrington Haven on my way back. I saw both birds again from here although in a different spot. They covered a wide area using the thermals. Then I set the trip counter... 7 miles back to Holmpton, the same distance as Holmpton to Spurn! So that's it, it really is this time.

So "THE PATCH" now includes the above sites as well.

Total Sites
Spurn Area
Out Newton
Patrington including the Haven
and anywhere in between!!

Species seen in this area over many years...257.

Footnote: In case you're wondering (which you almost certainly weren't), I HAVE been going down Duff when I can but with the drought it's been hard work. Managed to squeeze the year list up to 45. Still, just needs some rain...