28 October, 2011

Dedicated Patchworker or Filthy Twitcher?

A brief post before I collapse - hopefully I'll get back to it later.

Another day without sleep today - I'm a masochist, I know... But before that... Wednesday saw me in town doing Things That Needed To Be Done, so I took the chance to bash the Harbour gulls - 36 Herring, 1 GBB, 1 BHG, plus 2 Shags, a Moorhen and 70+ Feral Pigs... None of the Herrings even looked slightly unusual, either.. :(

Ok, this morning I was at the Nose for sunrise, with a strange feeling of promise in the air [plus quite a chill] [and a very pretty sunrise]. 'Maybe a cute little warbler might be lurking? A Pallas' even, or a Radde's or Dusky?' Thus I thought. [[Those psychic powers need polishing, methinks...]] The whole accessible area I did check diligently, high and low, but only one warbler did I uncover, and that a male Blackcap, who showed me his vent. Uncouth bird, must be a german ;) Goldcrests and Bullfinches showed well [the latter with the aid of some fieldcraft - not bad after a night shift!] but the only bird of real note flew over low - another Woodlark! This time going north. Also a continued [and mostly too high to see] passage of finches, Skylarks and Mipits - with the odd group coming in low enough to count. Siskins were the most numerous seen, but Chaffs dominated the calls by a long way. Thrushes are starting to reappear too, Song and Blackbirds so far.

I got home and saw that, oooh yes, the adorable little Pied Wheatear was still up in Gloucestershire [or whatever its called these days.... Cuba, isn't it?]. I'd been eyeing it covetously since it was found and had planned a filthy twitch... BUT - Dusky in Exmouth! Darn news services, why couldn't they leave me in blissful ignorance??? Another Lifer, [one with history, too] and in Devon. BUT with a paucity of details, it might be like the last super warbler found there - seen and gone... What to do?

After brief agonising, I decided that a Wheatear on a roof beats a Warbler in a bush. [Boom boom]. Too frazzled for playing hide and seek with an apparently mobile and elusive [[oh, those words, see the terror they strike in a filthy twitcher's heart...]] warbler I went to Oldbury-on-Severn. Yep, chose a nice long drive on a busy motorway, plus navigating byways, having been up since mid-afternoon yesterday...

I'm still here. Ginormous M5 tailbacks survived, deranged drivers avoided, rest stop taken [[like the signs tell you to ;) ]], lanes successfully navigated, bird picked out before I even set foot off the Severn Way*... The Pied Wheatear is an utter star of a bird, much prettier than the photos suggest, the sunshine really brought out her best. Plus she knew exactly how a rarity should behave; poses, varied behaviour, and moving so each group could get a good angle. Five stars.

Kudos is also due to the Thornbury Yacht Club for freely allowing the [admittedly not vast] horde to wander over their property and stare at their roof.. :D

[[*Almost as good as the King Eider - which was; Get Out Of Car. Raise Bins. Tick.**]]

[[** I do the bird a disservice, as though finding it was easier than a very easy thing, he later came out of the water right in front of me {as I sat by the wall huddled out of the wind} and showed off the intricacies of plumage not visible at range. Very worthwhile and needed a few hours of getting cold to see.]]

Odds on the Dusky still being around tomorrow......?
[[Hopeless, really he is...............]]

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