Tuesday, 30 June 2020

RFF 2&3

I thought I'd pop a few thoughts down while I wait for the bird to fly...hopefully?

I came down at dawn (I know...unusual) but wasn't rewarded for my "effort" in 3 hours!

After a kip and a trip to Tesco I returned early afternoon. Nice to meet up with Phil and his lady friend who'd popped over the bridge for a look.

This time the bird was on show, albeit distantly...

 Handheld phonescope at 100yds

Maybe I can add something else later?

I can!

After a futher two hours of watching the bird resting in the tree...

...there was a kerfuffle as the small group of patient admirers started to disperse towards the ploughed field. I drove up the road passing the group and parked on the wide verge at what I considered a reasonable distance (c50yds). The bird was sat in the field. The group then reached my car with some passing it. Guess what...the bird flew off. I then heard some chunnering about my car from people well beyond it!

As said recently...opinions eh..

Anyway here's the ground shot that I managed before its untimely departure...

A lovely bird and my favourite plumage for this species.

Monday, 29 June 2020


I decided it was about time I tried to SEE something...instead of all this pontificating!

Louise had a hospital appointment in Hull (which went well) so on the way back we detoured to Cherry Cobb Sands, west of Keyingham to try for the lingering female Red-footed Falcon. The strong wind and frequent showers meant we failed to connect in an hours vigil. A few familiar faces were noted including Stuart Griffiths and John Harriman.

I may try again in the morning.

So, no pic. Instead, here's a rather smart Duck from Texas 19...

Cinnamon Teal, Santa Ana NWR

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Swift movement

Lots (precise term) of Swifts moving South the last couple of days. Always the chance of "a rare" amongst them, although the spectacle in itself is unmissable!!

A walk with Louise revealed a surprise breeding record in the Village. Herring Gull chick on a local chimney stack! Nice.

Today's memories from the annals as I trawl my Blog sightings...

  • The Cliff Top Pond which gave me my only Water Rail record 15/9/14. Sadly no more...

  • My DUSKY THRUSH twitch which could well qualify for my top ten "Rush Birds" on reflection? Click on the "red bit" as per usual...

Friday, 26 June 2020

Profound Opinions?

As we're deep into breeding season when birds are better left alone, I thought I'd post a few more thoughts on...opinions.

We all have one right...and we're entitled to it. You're entitled to mine!

You only have to look on Twitter/Facebook (I really try to limit my participation to bird news) to see the seething vitriole that can be spouted forth. Frightening really and a sad indictment of certain sections of the population. The other side of the coin, thankfully, is informed and balanced input plus humour of course!

Here am I daring to pontificate about numerous topics on my little Blog. If you're reading it...I'm genuinely flattered. Hope you're still with me Tim...despite the new format?

Last word/s on the "travelling to twitch" topic. It 's (still) amazing (at least to me) how people view things so differently. In a nutshell...people will justify their movements to suit themselves. Hypocritical behaviour abounds in this scenario...as in many others. It seems the British public can be trusted!!!?

This is how busy Brighton beach was today
My idea of hell...anytime!!!
Keep your distance?

No sports crowds, no concerts attendance but the above is...allowed! Two words spring to mind, (actually there's a few more that I refuse to use on here).

My problem is this. The good people who adhere to the "advice" end up feeling like...mugs. Albeit safer mugs. This applies to "the Tern"...last mention promise. I'm certain some twitchers would have loved to have dashed across to Ireland to see it...but didn't for reasons already aired. Some did and many endorsed their decision. "Go on chaps...fill yer boots" or words to that effect. There you go...or rather they go!

Thing is, the bird is breeding and will remain well into next month when restrictions will ease. Followers will know my mantra..."ASAP". I guess it depends how you define possible?

Tomorrow ABA Big Year Birding...

Wednesday, 24 June 2020


Scorcher today...very nice indeed. The "Beast from the East" seems a long way away...thankfully. Nothing of significance to report bird-wise locally.

Still enjoying transferring my Bird Recorder records to eBird for posterity. I've only got 33 years of records to move. I may overlook the odd Blue Tit record! As I trawl through my sightings, some great memories are re-kindled. A couple of examples...

  • 2010...My British List stood at 471. I as well pleased with that total. I wouldn't have predicted another 51 species in the next 10 years...diminishing returns and all that.

  • A prediction from the same year. I've since seen 4 of the 5 birds. My speculation regarding CAPE MAY WARBLER miraculously came to fruition in 2013. BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was another dream addition in 2016. Feel free to click the links for the full story. So, only PARULA to fall. I'm confident I'll get a chance, hopefully on St Mary's whilst I'm in residence!

More (predictable) online fun regarding "the Irish Tern" I've aired my views. Entitlement is strong...but sometimes misguided...

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Irish Tern - Beyond the Pale

Nobody is keener or more determined than I am (or at least I like to think so) when it comes to twitching a MEGA...of my choice. However, "The Tern" in Ireland at the moment involves a journey, that as far as I'm aware...is illegal? As previously stated...I'm a British twitcher and that has saved me a few quid over the years! So the current target is moot. I do find the current trend to split hairs...sorry birds...thinner and thinner is getting tiresome, despite the "appliance of science" (now where have I heard that before?). So speaks the grumpy old fart!

I never get into specifics regarding individuals decisions, especially on forums etc...it's a free world and people are free to make their own choices. They must also be ready to face the consequences! Not that some will care. I wouldn't want to upset anyone...would I?

To be honest when all is said and done it's a futile race to...nowhere! I enjoy the "thrill of the chase" but trying to "win the league" is an area shaded with grey.

I've always been competitive but with twitching it's best to choose your races...and this definitely isn't one of them in my book. I will enter a few in the future...hopefully...

Monday, 22 June 2020

Decisions... Decisions!?

So, my long anticipated BAIKAL TEAL addition to my Yorkshire List (I saw the accepted Minsmere bird) has bit the dust! It has been deemed unworthy by the "ten just men".  The Flamboro' bird (with wing damage) was accepted? No evidence of captivity on the Spurn bird. Granted, it did linger but it also travelled North (and came from the south) and eventually left for parts unknown. Other long(er)-staying wildfowl examples can be found.

Wildfowl provenance is always controversial but are the decisions consistent?

Historical records of certain species are also being retrospectively admitted i.e. FALCATED DUCK. Maybe this record will be reviewed...someday?

Someone has to make a decision and opinions on that decision will obviously vary. Vested interests can fuel that opinion... as mine does in this case! Even if I'd have seen the Flamboro' bird I would have deemed this record...just as worthy.

Inconsistency dilutes the value of "The List" for me. I won't mention the Chinese Pond Heron...whoops, I just have!!!

It's a game...

There's a funny Tern in Ireland at the moment. It's mating with a Sandwich Tern?
Some will travel no doubt. I won't be one of them. Not interested in the bird and don't "do" Ireland. Just Britain for me...that's big enough!

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Tawny Owl - breeding evidence

This juvenile flew past our lounge window and landed briefly on a distant wire. It was 10.10!

Friday night flit MEGA

I see the ASIAN DESERT WARBLER has departed. One of many Rare Birds shy of the weekend. Like many things in life...no justice. The usual debates on-line regarding travel and distancing...yawn...

On the bright side, I guess many will have connected that might otherwise not have done so, due to the current situation...which is something. Some of the less scrupulous amongst us seem to wallow in the mis-fortune of others. I'm not one of them.

Dipping the RUPPELL'S WARBLER of Sept '92 at Holme, Norfolk...still stings!

Locally the Song Thrushes in the lane are on their second verse. Lovely to have three in earshot. I also had a brief visit to the lounge window...from a male Bullfinch!?

You may have noticed my lack of activity lately? We have one or two domestic issues to sort out at the moment. At least they've occured at a convenient time of year. I enjoyed a wonderful few hours today with my two sons and my grandson by the Humber Bridge for Daddy's Day. Quality time.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

"What a Beauty"?

We all love birds...right? It doesn't matter if it's the local Blackbird (which I adore) or some far flung waif I may have travelled a ridiculous amount of miles to see
(hopefully). However, some birds are definitely more impressive than others, I think we would all agree?

Some of the "little brown jobs" are extremely desirable but it's "rarity value" that's the motivation here...surely.

I admit to having a chuckle at some of the comments, as the umpteenth pic of the latest star appears on one of the social media outlets. "What a beauty " or "It's a cracker " being a couple of the more widely used phrases.

I'm sorry but not all rarities are "Crackers" or "Stunners". In fact many are pretty DULL!!!

How about..."great addition but underwhelming" or "Not sure what it is but I'll see what's decided".

To each there own but...call it as it is...a touch more realistic?

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Mid-Summer MEGAS

Well...getting there! Breaking news yesterday evening!!!

20.02 ASIAN DESERT WARBLER, Holy Island, Northumberland. Male at Half Moon Slack

I have two records...

14/10/1991 Flamborough Head, South Landing

7/5/2000 - Spurn NNR, Sammy's Point

A late blast of rare warblers...wait...and there's more...

As I write...

13.05 GREEN WARBLER, Fair Isle


There'll be another...in fact, there seems to be more recent records. Dare I suggest more of the Phylloscopus family being scrutinised more closely...and ID'd?

Sunday, 14 June 2020

New layout - mixed reviews!

Blogger is changing (doesn't everything eventually) so I decided to pre-empt this forced alteration by re-designing things to fit my more senior status!

I obviously like it but "one man's meat..." and all that. There's also the phone/laptop aspect. More and more sites are leaning towards being "mobile friendly". Blogger is available in both formats (you probably knew that). I've always been a small font man...double tap and drag always useful on mobile. So, you have a choice... in fact you have three...don't read it...Nooooooo...


A VERY strange Spring has resulted in some interesting late records. I've been a good lad with just one brief evening visit to Spurn for an insurance Greenish Warbler. Us twitchers have " got away with it". I remember 2015...WELL! See left hand column "roll of honour".

P.S. I also need to reinstate HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL

Thursday, 11 June 2020

The Wind of Change

Following on from my change of status I've decided to change the look of my Blog (you may have noticed!)

I've always been a "less is more" sort of chap and I wanted a more simplyfied (like me) look. Hope you approve? While I'm at it I'd just like to thank all visitors to this site whether long-standing or recent. My three figure daily stats keep me plodding on! I am eternally grateful...and flattered.


I made a quick visit down the road yesterday evening to take out some "insurance" regarding a problematical phyllosc. The Green/Greenish/Two-barred...Greener? Warbler complex can cause headaches, even amongst "the experts". I joined a VERY small group of locals (not too close, you understand) and eventually enjoyed clear, if brief views of the said bird. It struck me as pale and brown rather than rich and green. It didn't appear to be a particularly well marked individual. Granted the light was poor and the bird was wet. Another "in depth" analysis...lol!

Odds on the same bird was trapped this morning at Kew and confirmed as a Greenish Warbler. I wonder if any DNA was taken? I never give up...

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Village tick!

...and a long overdue one at that! Again, courtesy of Richard. Acting on his tip off I made my way down to Old Hive and eventually heard, then saw my first Sedge Warbler (L.178, Y.103). Obviously, my new status means I'm "available" more which helps my "connection rate"!

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Count yer Blessings

Again more reflections/virtual Birding...well, I can't find any decent birds at the moment! Hopefully you'll find some interest here?

Looking at my British List whilst transferring records to eBird it suddenly dawned on me what quality I've been lucky enough to see recently. Since October 2018 I've added the birds below. Not bad!!!

WHITE-RUMPED SWIFT - Hornsea Mere 14/10/18
GREY CATBIRD - Lands End 16/10/2018
TENGMALM'S OWL - Mainland, Shetland 27/2/19
PACIFIC SWIFT - Hornsea Mere 10/8/19
BROWN BOOBY - The Lizard 3/9/19
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO - St Mary's, Scilly 16/10/19
HERMIT THRUSH - St Mary's, Scilly 29/11/19
STELLER'S EIDER - Papa Westray, Orkney 3/3/20

I've said it before, (in fact I've probably said most things before by now) it's important in my view to appreciate, yet not dwell on the past. However, reflecting on these recent additions to my British List they are most definitely records to savour!!! It's all to easy to just get dragged along as the years go by, longing for the next "tick". Some of the birds above are particularly poignant. I'll pick 3.

TO  For its almost mythical status and in particular the connection with Spurn...if I dare mention that!

HT  A long anticipated "grip back" after my poor strategy regarding the Porthgwarra bird of  2013. To finally connect on my return from the UAE and on my beloved Scilly was especially sweet...

YBC Just had to be after some previous bad luck over the years including being "stuck" on Scilly when the Porthgwarra (again) bird of 2014 showed up. On reflection I've elevated this bird to No 2 on my "Rush Birds" list. As well as its significance it's just a beautiful bird and thankfully, it was a healthy one!

It's also worth mentioning the 2 MEGA Swifts which both turned up at Hornsea Mere. Very convenient indeed! The SE was more of a relief/endurance test than a thrill, satisfying nonetheless. This period was probably THE most satisfying period of my twitching for many reasons. Have to say I'm content now, sure I'll chase birds in the future depending on species and circumstances but that little chunk of beauties will always have special significance in my book.

The twists and turns of twitching will always hold a fascination for me...

Sloooow days

The weather has taken a turn for the worse ...as we enter "Summer time"!  I think I can (fairly) safely say...Spring is OVER!?

June 6th...a landmark day in Rare Bird Folklore...and World History!!!

1990TREE SWALLOW -  First for Britain on Scilly. Before my time.

2007WHITE-TAILED LAPWING -  I remember leaving hastily after School with a rather eccentric Science teacher that I hardly knew. An eventful journey including a large traffic jam at Appleby on the A66 due to the fair. We made it eventually though.

2008CITRIL FINCH -  Out of reach on Fair Isle...since added.

2011WHITE-THROATED ROBIN -  Arguably the craziest twitch of all. I ended up being invited to stand on a transit van roof, peering into the Doctor's garden! Unfortunately the windscreen couldn't cope with the weight...not just mine!

I'm still virtual Birding at present. Many great memories being enjoyed from the armchair. Definitely a period of reflection for me. I've saved a fortune...

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Whitethroat IN the garden

Just a line to record the fact. A VERY unexpected species to actually enter my modest yard!!!