Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

TENGMALM'S OWL - the journey

No hitches early doors. An hour to Leeds on a boneshaker then another 6 to Aberdeen on a superb Virgin flyer, arrivibg at 5.10. Definitely the quietest compartment I've ever travelled in. Made conversation with an intelligent lady which helped pass the journey. A fascinating conversation. She'd certainly led an interesting life!

A short walk across the Mall from the Station and I was in the Ferry Terminal. After a brief wait we made the less than salubrious plod through the car deck to the main area..

Having had Weetabix for breakfast and a pastry at York, it was time for dinner...

The bird was active before dark and hopefully will be roosting in view tomorrow morning. Let's hope it's a dark night...if you get my drift!!!

Monday, 25 February 2019

TENGMALM'S OWL - Ressurrected!

Twitching is not for the fainthearted!!!

After a week of on-off sightings the Owl was found again this afternoon...after much searching. Incredible really, as it was over a mile from the original site!!!

Some Henry Kissinger style negotiations have enabled me to at least have a crack.


Management is driving me to Hull...then train to Aberdeen...and Ferry over to Shetland for Wednesday morning. Forecast looks favourable BUT it could obviously take some finding especially as there won't be that many there. At least it sits out in the open on occasions.

Time will tell...

Saturday, 23 February 2019

TENGMALM'S OWL - Aftermath!

So, no sign again this morning. My potential travelling buddy is on site and I'm praying it turns up for him and his brother...and the rest, some of which are still travelling. Been there..,know the feeling!!! Not pleasant.

Is it over? Who knows!

Having been Captain Sensible on this occasion (believe me it was hard) at least I scored MEGA points on the home front. As mentioned many times before I've "got away with murder" for many years for which I am eternally grateful, so when the good lady says has to be no.  Another of my Dad's sayings...

"If the Queen's not happy the King is in trouble"! (or words to that effect).

She's right of course but boys will be boys...just not this time. In the past I've beat myself up over poor strategy, this time I had it sorted, I just couldn't put the plan into operation.

Detached thumb ligaments isn't ideal...

Guess I could always draw a TO on it! Ironically it's called a BLOCK!!!

Roll on Texas...

UPDATE: 9.20 !!!!!! MEGA Shetland TENGMALM'S OWL again Mainland
That's the game we play....tough sometimes...

Thursday, 21 February 2019

TENGMALM'S OWL - A Cathartic post

Seeing as I'm laid up I have time to post some reflections...

I woke this morning to the news the TO was back, after the storm, in the same location! IF I'd travelled I WOULD have gambled on last nights Ferry and would be looking at it NOW!!! (Cue Violins). I CAN assure you I'm STILL as keen as the next twitcher...and always will be...BUT some things ARE more important and my present circumstances prohibit travel. Let's just leave it at that.

Tough one, especially considering it's an Owl and it's almost certain to be seen.

I know of some chaps who turned around yesterday on negative news. Another tough scenario. Many congrats to those who gambled or are travelling today and beyond. No sour grapes here I can assure you. I'll get the next one!!!!!!

In such circumstances my mind inevitably travels back to similar (thankfully not many) occasions...


To name but three.

Each bird has its own unique set of circumstances. The WW arrived when I was on Scilly and Louise was happy for me to leave and travel to the Outer Hebrides to try for it. I didn't.

The TBW arrived just after I'd cancelled our booking for our holiday on Shetland due to my leg. I'd have seen it on our first evening.

The PG Tips was missed by minutes at Spurn. You've probably heard that one!

Rarity value or experience? Both preferably. The first of the three would be my choice considering my strong bias towards the New World. The other two are frankly...rather boring IMHO.

Got me thinking about "Type of twitch". As you can see I have a "Rush Birds" list. The twitches that have been the most...exciting. In fact I've just had another look. I guess I'm happy with the order "Pop Pickers".

Even though I've place it at No 3 my solo AMUR FALCON twitch will take some beating for adrenaline rush. I guess the NIGHTHAWK and CLIFF SWALLOW have an element of nostalgia built in but were truly exhilarating moments I can assure you.

As previously stated I came into the game fairly late, opening with a GREAT BUSTARD dip!!! So from a lifetime perspective I was quite a few down from the start. Never bunking off School cost me many from 1990 through 2011 as well as holidays abroad. I'm still dipping them lol! I guess I'm an Everton rather than a Manchester United/City. As my Dad used to say..."There'll always be better, there'll always be worse".

There...I feel (slightly) better. Adding to this my plane crash I consider myself very fortunate to still be enjoying this wonderful hobby/ fact life at all!!
There'll be another...

Wednesday, 20 February 2019


Well, it's happened!

Spurn '83 and all that.

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to pass. My (latest) injury plus a lot of "other stuff" going on at the moment means it's a "No No". Not much luck at the moment!!! The bird showed brilliantly all day yesterday but no sign at dawn in atrocious conditions?

All the VERY best of luck to those that have travelled. Back to historical eBird recording for me...

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Productive walk

Has a nice stroll down Snakey late morning in the wonderful February sunshine.

I'd looked for my Partridges many times from the car with no luck. Inadvertantly flushed both today! Result! (P.76, H.35).

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

NDC Raptor fest!

The hoped for Noah's flood didn't materialize today. It's always last to flood but I thought the recent wet spell may have done the trick.

No matter, it was a bright afternoon and the view was as special as ever...

Throughout the afternoon I enjoyed prolonged views of an adult female and two juvenile Marsh Harriers and a very lively juvenile Peregrine...

I added Shelduck, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Dunlin, Snipe, Fieldfare, Redwing and Bullfinch.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Fresh Air!

Clocked up 4 miles today with my mate. Felt good.

We started at Easington Beach were an hours vigil failed to produce any sightings of the wintering Shore Larks.

After lunch we visited Kilnsea Wetlands were I paid my first visit to the new hide. A definite improvement. I couldn't locate the Green-winged Teal unfortunately.

Things were going well!

The day was saved when I did manage a brief view of the Black Redstart (P.74, S.39) at the North end of the Gas Terminal. The bird flew down onto the beach and wasn't seen again in the next 45 mins. It looked in cracking plumage, so a return visit will be made.

Rising water levels mean a visit to Duff will be the order of the day tomorrow...

Monday, 11 February 2019


Made it to Cornwall by 4.30am and grabbed an hours sleep. Another 90 minutes found me at the National trust car park at the Lizard. the southern tip of Britain. Extremities and Rare Birds eh!

It was still dark but a few cars were starting to roll up. The one next to me contained Dan Pointon who I'd last seen at Bempton... again involving an Albatross twitch. We were hoping for better luck this time.

We made our way down to the watch-point and set up our gear...

By 9am my dream of a BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS shearing through the surf was starting to fade...slightly.

By 11 I needed a stretch and some refreshments, so I walked back to the V70 and bought her down to the cliff car park.

I reckon around 50 intrepid hopefuls had made the trip but by now some were leave.

Time for a much needed kip. Risky I know but unavoidable under the circumstances. I figured I'd hear the commotion if something occurred!?

I was back in the game by 3pm and gave it till 5 but it wasn't to be...again. Got back home at 1.30am after completing 940 miles

Obviously a difficult species to connect with...but I'll keep trying. Three sightings definitely made the trip worthwhile. At least it's in the North Atlantic and hopefully will turn up again this year. Bempton would be nice Trevor!

Saturday, 9 February 2019


In 1987 I was a novice Birder stood on the end of Filey Brigg when a shout went up..."Albatross"!!!

I didn't see anything BIG.

There was a returning bird for many years at Hermaness in the Northern Isles but that was way beyond yours truly with a young family.

A couple of misses at Bempton relatively recently. One when I was on the Outer Hebrides and the other when I was working, mean I still haven't seen this species in Britain.

I now have another chance!

A bird was seen off the Lizard on Friday afternoon. It was then (surprisingly) seen again this morning AND late afternoon!!!

Obviously lingering/roosting.

After a tough week I'll be driving down tonight... fingers crossed...

Saturday, 2 February 2019


As stated many times before I follow the "official line" but don't necessarily agree with it!

We now have another example of this.

The BOU have just decided (after 32 years) that a bird that toured Norfolk and Northants between 1986 and 1988 has been deemed worthy.

I saw the bird in Northants in February 1987 in my twitching infancy.

Do I feel any satisfaction? Not really...but I'll take it!