20 December 2010

Scope Packing Rambling

The following is a very brief load of nonsensical rambling bollocks based on my own random ponderings of Sco-Pacs. It's a pretty weak affair which I've aired merely to vent my own frustration (I've tried Sco-Pac porn but have been met with 'currently there are no results that match your search') - Anyway, please don't read if easily bored, a UEA bumboy, one of them cunts who will attempt to pull me up for having an opinion or one of them cunts in birding who spout shit on TwatForum - you know what types I mean!

Sco-Pacs - those tripod X rucksack contraptions that are now extremely common place on the birding scene. They're bleeding everywhere. At any twitch nowadays you'll inevitably witness a plethora of birders (and i use the term Birders very loosely) adorned with a tripod with a rucksack attached. That's basically what it is.

If you're unlucky enough to share your patch with other birdy enthusiasts you'll quite possibly know someone who owns one. This year I've been foolishly attempting to (not)see 300 species of bird in Britain and on reflection, I honestly think that the non sco-pac wearing brigade are now the minority, although I have to add that the stereotypical 'beginner birder' was the fundamental culprit in this survey.
On my last visit to the British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water in 2009, I was pretty stunned to see and bear brunt to the Sco-Pac revolution within the confines of the jam packed marquees! Why on earth would you feel the need to proudly exhibit your 'scope atop your tripod, on your back, within the stuffy, birdless, birderfull enclosures of a giant tent (with your bins draped around your neck too - What's that all about? Do you do that when you go shopping to Morrisons?).
Sadly I have a few birding brothers who also feel the need to traipse around with their gear strapped to their backs - A telescope is made to be combined with the eyes, which are on the front of the human body, not the back! I've often enquired into the need for the Sco-Pac with them and their response has invariably been 'cos it's easier(?) to carry and saves me the pain of carrying it balanced on my shoulder, ya know, the tripod leg digging into my shoulder bone innit'. This I can very slightly kinda agree with but only if you're trekking the length of three Blakeney Points, blindfolded. One of my example arguments is what if whilst out birding, say at an inland reservoir, your trusty Sco-Pac strapped to your back, when in the distance, thru ya bins, you pick up a Skua shaped bird bombing across the sky. By the time you've unhoisted your 'pac from your back, checked to see if any unfortunate souls are within 'bashing' distance (yeh, like that happens) and extended the legs, the target could quite possibly have done one and that self found patch/county/British(!) tick opportunity has gone! - This, combined with the cost and that you look a proper cunt wearing one (YES you do!), ensures that the Sco-Pac has not featured on my precious list that I sent to Santa this year!
NB. I have been reliably informed recently by my contacts on the inside that there is to be a FaceBook campaign within the next 6 weeks to make Sco-Pacs 'Kool'. Apparently, the master plan is to get all birders aged between 14 & 34 to carry a Sco-Pac by April 17th 2011!

I personally wont be joining said campaign, I'm more interested in joining the campaign to get a song entitled 'Use my Arsehole as a Cunt' by Kunt & the gang, to No.1 in the charts by the end of 2010!

Below are an handfull of losers who I've 'papped' this year...

19 December 2010

A quick catch up

Considering I haven't 'blogged' on here for over a month, and the fact I'm bored with FaceBook and the missus is watching Scrooge (for the 73rd time), I thought it only right that I put finger to keyboard and briefly spout some nonsense about what I've 'done' since the Amerian Bittern trip.
On November 13th, I travelled with Archer up to Hollingworth Lake, Manchester, for that Pied-billed Grebe. At that point in time, my interest in this year-listing malarkey was taking a very steep nosedive and I wasn't that bothered about going but a few words of persuasion from Archer got me motivated and off I went. Arriving on site, we got among the crowd and soon I was enjoying decent views of only my 2nd PBG (287).

The next morning I met up with Archer & Devvo (Rich Collis - the middle aged Doncastarian Chav) and after abit of a bish, bash, bosh on Beeley Moor, Derbyshire, we eventually 'booted up' the Richard's Pipit (288). It was on this eventful trip that Devvo was sworn into the ASBO massive...

On the 20th November, myself, Mikipedia, Archer & Rich Challands made an early morning trip to Long Nab, Burniston, North Yorkshire in the hope of bagging Desert Wheatear. Suprisingly, other than Devvo & a couple of shady 'Aviarazzi types', we were the only sad, cold losers on-site! Unsuprisingly, the target had f*cked off overnight and we had to settle with a bit of piss-poor seawatching.

We then gave in to Mikipedia's craving for food and headed to Flamborough for some grub! The day got worse with the discovery that the Headland Cafe had shut up shop for the winter! Brief compensation came in the form of a Merlin tanking it in-off (289). The decision to go hunting for a 'golden arches' was soon made but as we travelled down the A614, news was relayed to us that a Black throated Diver was present at Swillington Ings, W.Yorks, some 70 miles away! Regrettably this would be a much needed year-tick and like proper sad bastards we headed inland! An hour (and abit) later, we arrived at the location, and after a '6ooyd walk' (more like a mile & half - thanks youth!) clapped eyes on the bird (290) - Nice!
The next morning, the same crew, minus Archer, caned it down to Rutland Water and swiftly knocked Lesser Yellowlegs off the list (291).

At this point, with 9 birds to go I was pretty confident that I'd hit 300, no issues! The next day at work I banged my last two days holidays in for the 29th & 30th November giving me a nice four days weekend coming up! Unfortunately, some snow casually arrived on the scene and hid my car from me for the duration of that aforementioned 4 day break!

The following weekend (4th & 5th December) was also shagged by the weather so I remained at home and subsequently discovered a healthy swarm of Waxwings loitering on our street in Tibshelf, Derbys.
On the evening of the 5th, I decided, with a heavy heart, that with just 6 remaining 'birding days' available for me during December, I would not be hitting 300 this year! The 11th & 12th were spent doing ridiculous xmassy type things like shopping & partying so we now come bang up to date to this weekend. On Saturday 18th I decided to do the patch (King's Mill Res', Notts) and realised just how shit (and unbelievably cold) patching can be, the highlights being 13 Teal, 10 Gadwall, 3 Wigeon, 1 Shovelar & a very obliging Water Rail that was trying to keep warm by cosying up between a Redwing & Blackbird!!!
Today, Sunday 19th, I again did KMR (with Mikipedia) and not suprisingly saw sweet F.A apart from quite possibly a record number of Common Gulls (too cold to count them but estimated to be over 160) and two Willow Tits at the feeding station in the car park. A sweep of fields nearby at Penniment Farm produced a very pleasing feeding flock of c150 Skylarks and 7 Grey Partridge. To finish of the morning, we, for some reason unbeknown to me, twitched a flock of 30 Waxwings at Pleasley NR, Derbys!

That latter episode kinda makes me think that's the end of that for this year...I may write an end of year review, I might not, just depends how pissed I get in the next week or two. I might try for 300 next year too.......Hang on, it's only quarter past nine, I'm not that pissed, am I??

9 November 2010

Recent activity...

Yeh it's been a while since I updated this but with other more pressing matters taking the front seat of my life during mid-October, I didn't really get out and about. Highlights are pretty much restricted to the last 7 days. Last Tuesday (2nd November) I made a pre-work visit to King's Mill Res' in order to bag the 1st winter drk Fudge Duck. This bird represented the second of this species I had seen at my former 2nd home (the first being in November 2002 which was sadly seen to be wearing some shiney silver jewellery around its ankle).

Above - Mikipedia giving the motors precarious position some serious thought.

With the news of the American Bittern in Cornwall showing well near Wadebridge, I begrudingly decided to head down there overnight on Bonfire Night with Mikipedia and Stoke reprobate Phil Locker. Before first light saw me slamming my motor onto a 45 degree muddy grass bank and trudging aimlessly in the dark towards the tower hide at Walmsley Sanctuary. Despite arriving at the hide in the pitch black we were already too late to get front row seats as the hide was already packed to capacity with the usual geriatric numpties sat debating the latest episodes on Birdforum and the cost of their recently purchased waterproof attire! Anyhow, during the next hour or so, we managed to squeeze ourselves into the wooden box and aquired a few decent scope views of the target (284) as it stealthly strode along the ditches. Sadly, the volume of complete and utter twats in the hide forced me & Mike to evacuate back to the motor to recompose whilst Locker endured a further 45 minutes of viewing. We then headed to short distance to The Lost Garden of Heligan near Pentewan where we duly handed over an extortionate £10 to enter and fairly quickly snapped up the Green Heron (285) as it paraded in front of the in-awe Joe Public in 'The Jungle'! Once again, boredom quickly set in so we decided to do one back to the Midlands via Exminster where, after a bit of work, we managed to snare ourselves a pair of cool Cirl Buntings (286). A pretty rewarding yet knackering trip (for me at least). I arrived back in Notts at c5.30pm and headed directly to a Bonfire Party until around 10.30pm when I finally retired to bed after being awake for 41hrs.

Above - Phil 'The Lobbster' Locker showing off his recently purchased package!

11 October 2010

Spurned but jammed!

Upon hearing that my 'arch' year-listing rival had cleaned up at Spurn on Saturday, I decided that I best head over to the peninsular on Sunday (10/10/10) and bag myself a piece of the action! Foolishly I had also been roped into a 'Rouge Juice' fuelled evening of debauchery on the Saturday evening so the chance of me crawling out of the pit early Sunday morning was in the balance! Thankfully, my alarm managed to rouse me and despite only having 3hrs kip, by 6am I had collected Mikipedia and was cautiously heading towards the coast. A necessary 'Golden Arches' pit-stop and an even more necessary stop for paracetamol ensured that our arrival in the 'birding zone' was later than we had wanted. Anyhow, instead of heading straight to the peninsular, I made a somewhat fortuitous decision to drop in at Sammy's Point and within minutes of exiting the motor, we were met by ex-Notts birding veteran Ian Smith who nonchalantly muttered that a Pallas's was knocking about a few hundred yards away. We scurried along the coastal footpath, clambered under barbed wire and began scouring the scrub for the target. A good 45 minutes passed and in that time I experienced quite possibly the largest fall I had ever been amongst! Goldcrests & Robins numbered in their thousands with slightly lesser numbers of Siskins, Bramblings & thrushes screaming thru overhead. Soon the Pallas's Warbler (282) was located some 70yds away and showed extremely well for some 20 minutes! This was c10am and high hopes were kicking in! We soon found out that Archer was bagging all manner of class up in Cleveland but despite our best efforts to dig out some rare & scarce, the best we could muster in 6hrs was a Great Grey Shrike, Ring Ouzel and a host of Redstarts, Chiffys etc...oh and a self found 'possible' OBP which I had to let go due to the brevity of the views - call was spot on tho'!
Getting bored and tired, we retired to the Crown & Anchor and as the day started to come to a close and thoughts of heading home quickly started to fill my head as I sat in the car, the inevitable 'late-in-the-day' Spurn surprise hit. A chap came cruising thru the car-park and declared that a Radde's had been snared next door at Kew & was about to be released! Thank f*ck I hadn't done one 20 minutes before! Soon after we were being treated to stunning in-hand views of this striking Phyllosc (283). A pretty rewarding end to an exciting yet frustrating day!

Above & below - Radde's Warbler being paraded to all & sundry!

Back in the groove?

Having not done any birding for over three week (due to a combination of factors), Saturday 9th October saw me lazily lounging at home, surfing the net and quaffing copious amounts of coffee! I was casually browsing Adam Archers recent tall stories (these being somewhat reminiscent of an ornithological equivalent of some shit Tolkien would scribe - pure fantasy!) when it suddenly dawned on me that the chunky brummie had moved considerably ahead of me in the Bubo listings! With not enough daylight available to muster an assault on the coast, I decided to hit Draycote Water and snare a bit of Yank Duckage for the year! Collecting 'Hugo a Go-Go' (AKA Mikipedia) from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, we caned it down to deepest Warwickshire.

Upon arrival we headed to the last reported area along Hensborough Bank but after nearly an hours searching, we failed to locate the bird! Thankfully, a birder on a bike came trundling along and informed us that the bird was showing well in Toft Bay. We immediately headed back to the motor, caned it around to the main car park and walked at pace down to Toft. En route, Dave Hutton gave us the heads up that the bird was showing pretty well and within 15 minutes I was watching my 7th (sleeping)UK Lesser Scaup (281). Although not the best way to kick start a flagging year-list attempt, it certainly got me back in the groove...

Above - Duck Soup!

Above - Sleeping Lezza Scaup!!

22 September 2010

Lord of the Jynx (Torquilla)

This evening I received the following snippet of info. A pretty well known British Birdin' celeb' has been giving it some proper smack induced story telling on a 'Home Counties' Birdin' Yahoo Group (please note, to avoid the threat of (im)possible legal action, I have refrained from giving the authors name -

''This really has been one of the birding events of all-time in Buckinghamshire - such a well-loved, well-enjoyed and cripplingly-showing rarity(?). Once again, I ensured its safety until dark, making sure it roosted safely in its chosen Beech tree for a fourth night (a bird such as this could be a sitting target for a local Sparrowhawk). It flew to roost at 1915 hours and kept on feeding until just seconds before. It must be really heavy by now after consuming so many ants. As darkness fell, it was another calm evening, although quite cloudy, with a light SSW wind - pretty ideal leaping conditions - but not as ideal as the last two moonlit nights.''

To be honest, the above is pretty sad! It's like something bleedin' Tolkien would write! One wonders if he knocked one out and gave it a secure circle of salty water to protect it from demons and goblins! I have visions of this particular character dressed in some middle earth garb, armed with a bow & arrow, furtively keeping watch for marauding Sprawks from the depths of a small Hawthorn bush, eye(s) darting left, right and...left! All said & done tho', credit where it's due....

15 September 2010

The year-list hits 280.

Above - Coton Lakes, Warwickshire - Leach's Oasis!

Since my last load of incoherent drivel on here, I've managed to add another four species to my list of birds seen this year...

  • Arctic Warbler - Holme, Norfolk - (277)

  • Western Bonelli's Warbler - Bempton, East Yorkshire - (278)

  • Wilson's Phalarope - Gibralter Point, Lincolnshire - (279)

  • Leach's Petrel - Coton Lakes, Warwickshire - (280)

Below are a series of images of characters 'papped' during the above excursions:

8 September 2010

Starting to lose the will...

Tuesday 7th September saw a juv Red-necked Phal' (274) arrive at Draycote Water in Warwickshire, so after work, I caned it down there and added it to the year list! A small swarm of 6 Black Terns (275) were also added (146 mile round trip!). Wednesday 8th September had been booked as an holiday off work due to promising weather conditions & in the anticipation that something a bit good would turn up. Early morning saw me at my least favourite local Derbyshire hot-spot, Ogston Reservoir, collecting Little Stint (276) for the year. A glance at the pager revealed the continued presence of an Ortolan Bunting at Spurn - tempting but with it's supporting cast already under my belt, I decided to hang on a little longer and see if anything else was discovered by the guys at Spurn or even Flamborough so I headed up on to Beeley Moor in search of another species that had eluded me this year so far. It was while eagerly scanning the moorland rocks and fence posts for my quarry that news of a Red-throated Pipit & Red Breasted Flycatcher had been located at Spurn. I gave the moors another 40 minutes and then decided to head up to Spurn. Minutes later, another message announced that the Pipit was in fact just a Tree Pipit but the Fly' & Bunting were still showing! I left Derbyshire and headed NE anyway but as I left Hull and started the last c20 mile, the pager declared that there was no further sign of the Flycatcher! Hmmm, two down, one to go, surely the Ortolan would still be present, it had been showing all morning in the same spot apparently! Arriving at Spurn at c3.15pm, I headed straight towards the narrows but at the Obs. I was informed by 'The Gatekeeper' that the Bunting had gone missing and hadn't been seen for a few hours!!!! I decided to take his advice and not hand over my three gold nuggets and instead parked up at the Canal and tried to dig out some migrants for myself - A lone Pied Flycatcher was the only bird I saw! Stood all alone with the wind gently nudging the grasses and bushes, a milky sunlight giving the area a strange sepia colour and no other humans within sight, one would perhaps think that it was a scene of magical bliss but on the contrary, it was confusingly eerie and depressing so I Headed to The Crown & Anchor area to find civilisation! Cliff Farm held two Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Redstarts, 3 Garden Warblers, a Whitethroat & a Blackcap! Thrilling stuff eh?!

With thoughts of home starting to insidiously slip into my mind, I made one last incongruous concerted effort to bag something good and decided to have a look around Sammy's Point in the vain hope of relocating the RBF. This area was a little better for migrants with c15 Redstarts, 10+ Spotted Flycatchers, Wheatears and Garden Warblers but alas no RBF (A further disappointment came in the form of a pager message as I arrived at Sammy's saying that a Barred Warbler was about to be released at Crown & Anchor car-park, the exact spot I had left some 5 minutes before!). Feeling pretty dejected and f*cked off, I headed home. As I hit the M62, I dropped 'Definitely Maybe' into the CD player and with just me in the motor, nothing to rush home for and needing to calm down, I took it steady for once! £40 worth of fuel down the bleedin' drain! The final kick in the balls tho' was to come when I got home, a cursory glance at the pager revealed a message stating that the Ortolan was still present around Post 47 at dusk..........the pager hit the wall...at pace!

Sammy's Point at dusk...so f*ckin' what!

5 September 2010

Saturday 4th September...

Really can't be arsed to write a load of drivel about another utter dogshit day in the f*cked up county of Y**kshire so i'll keep this brief - early morning at Flamborough: dipped Olivaceous Warbler, meagre compensation gleaned in the shape of two year-ticks - Barred Warbler (272) & Rosefinch (273). F*ck all else. Drove to Grimston: dipped Booted Warbler. Arrived home to discover a Great Snipe had been found at Spurn.

The biggest Barred Warbler twitch in history??!

Rick Moranis (of 'Honey I shrunk the kids' fame) looks pretty confused after the shout of Barred goes up only to reveal a House Sparrow!!

Even Tony Christie had had enough!

August Bank Holiday Weekend (part two)

...After Saturdays events, I chose to spend the Sunday at home and give my neglected other half my undivided attention. There was nothing doing in the UK to tempt me away and I swiftly squeezed back into the good books! Weather conditions were however looking good for a sea-watch so Monday morning saw Mikipedia and myself being battered by a very brisk northerly at Cley, Norfolk! Very quickly we decided against this option and headed to Sheringham to join the throng of birders in the shelter. Meeting up with Joe Ray & Matt Meehan, we gave it a good couple of hours but despite other birders in the shelter claiming to have seen all sorts of goodies, we only scored with an handful of Bonxies and Arctic Skuas! With news hitting me like a bleedin' steam train that a CITRINE WAGTAIL was being watched at Ogston Res', Derbys, AN EIGHT MINUTE DRIVE FROM MY HOUSE IN TIBSHELF(!), I was inevitably getting itchy feet and considered heading back to the midlands there & then. But with the bird already into it's 3rd day of residence and Mike's reassuring words that 'it'll be there when we get back, it's a banker!'' we decided to stack the seawatching and head back to Cley in order to bag ourselves a Short-toed Lark. The 300yd walk along Blakeney Point from Cley Coastguards was in reality a 1/2 mile slog! A few birders were milling around looking for the bird but it hadn't been seen for a while. Some came, had a brief 5 minute scan and then left, some hung about and wandered around the area the bird had last been seen in an attempt to put it up, some just had a bit of a kip and others just casually chatted amongst themselves, appearing to be not that bothered if they saw the bird or not. For me tho, I wasn't ready for giving up, I wanted to bag the bird and bomb back to Derbys! After a while, not sure how long, our attention was drawn to a bloke, waving his arms around and gesturing for us that he'd got the bird! We ran, well walked fast, over to him but again, the bird had flown and had been lost to view. Very quickly, the enthusiasm abated again and after a further hour or so, I was about to do one, having had enough of waiting/searching but with a very casual last scan east I picked up a very pale lark flying back onto the shingle ridge about 600yds from us! We once again 'walked fast' over to the spot where the bird had appeared to land but before we could locate it on the ground, it flew again and headed back onto the marsh south of the bank! One intrepid birder ventured over the channel and again put the bird up but this time it flew further south and lost to view. With only flight views gained, I really did want another look but with the Citrine Wag appearing on the pager, I opted to leave and head home...Two & half hours later we were at Ogston! The bird had been last seen c45 minutes prior to our arrival. Feeling pretty confident that it would show again (not!), we gave it almost two hours but alas there was no further sign by 8pm! Mike HAD to get back home to get some work done so the curtains were drawn on a pretty disappointing weekend.
The next morning, I arrived at Ogston at 6am and had another hour or so searching in vain for the Wagtail but as is beginning to become routine, there was no sign of it! To top it all off, Wednesday morning I received a letter from 'The Law' informing me that one of their kind boys in blue had gatzo'd me Saturday morning in Hull doing 51mph in a 40mph zone on a dual carriageway! On reflection of the weekend, that guy was a lot better than me at being in the right place at the right time!

Above - A sea-watching Blakeney Hobbit utilising Joe's knee!

31 August 2010

August Bank Holiday weekend (part one)

''It's a bank holiday weekend, nothing ever seems to go wrong..'' sang the Mod band 'Seventeen' in March 1980 - Well, I can tell you this, They were a tad mis-informed 'cos August BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND 2010 saw a fair few things going wrong!! Early Saturday morning (28th August) saw myself, Mikipedia & Archer (collected from Potteric Carr, S.Yorks - Make of that what you will) at Spurn attempting to bag ourselves something along the lines of a Barred Warbler. Unfortunately, the weather had somewhat different ideas with an extremely gusty westerly keeping the majority of the birds well hidden deep amongst the foliage. A Spurn 'Belly-Buster Breakfast' was consumed at the cafe at the point and with our guts rammed, we headed out deep into the point dunes to try and find some scarce! Inevitably all we managed was a poxy Black 'n' White Flycatcher Sp., a Lesser Whitethroat and a Short Eared Owl which incidentally was flushed by the sound emanating from Mikipedias arse! We then headed back to the Obs area to do a spot of Seawatching. Nothing much was doing until a freak storm blitzed its way south and convinced a juv Hen Harrier (269) to come in-off and depart west (reports of a juv Montys that day refer to this bird!). A couple more hours of seeing sweet F.A (and watching Archer once again get seduced by the 'sandman') had the desired(?) effect and forced us to depart, Well an early return would defo put me back in the good books with the missus!! We booted Archer out the motor at Potteric and set off on the short drive home. Now it's at times like this, after a pretty wank days birding, tired & hungry, needing at least a bottle of 'Rouge Juice' and desperately trying to get back in the good books with the other half that you really don't wanna be hearing Mikipedia reading out the following message to you ''probable Kentish Plover at Eyebrook Res!!'' - Now me and that particular species had issues and if there was one bird I wanted to nail (apart from Liz Hurley) it was f*ckin Kentish Plover! Considering the bird was a mere c60 miles away I mentally prepared myself for a dash down to Leics should the next msg regarding it be a positive one! Well, the minutes passed by with no further news, I dropped Mike off at Kirkby and with a chilled out 'c'est la vie' attitude headed home...
Less than 4 minutes from my front door. I heard the pager go 'beep' and with only the Notts/Derbys/Leics channel set to do this, I had a sneaky glance at it and F*CK! There WAS a K.P at Eyebrook! Now to cut a pretty long and laborious episode short, I got the go ahead from the 'boss' (perhaps a bigger shock than the bird to be honest), re-collected Mikipedia and screamed down to Eyebrook! On arrival, we were met by fellow semi-yearlister reprobate, Al Northern who got us straight onto the target! No issues! A smart juv KP bagged at pace (270)! F*ck you Kent! F*ck you Sheppey!
We hung on for an hour or so, collecting our 2nd Pec' Sand of the year, and then retired home after a pretty mashed up day! Below are a few pix taken during the day (in reverse order) - As you can see, insomnia clearly doesn't affect my companions!

23 August 2010

Semi-Peed off...

Sunday 22nd August, mid morning, saw myself and Mikipedia (AKA The Marquis, Mike Feely) heading towards Alkborough in north Lincs. The West-Midlands Botanist, Archie Archer, was meant to be joining us but again cried off at the last minute, this time giving some lame excuse about a ceiling that needed a lick of Dulux and that we were going far too early (how wrong would he to be with that comment?!). Anyhow, we arrived at Alkborough Flats just after lunch (undoubtedly collecting a speeding fine on the M180 en route) and proceeded to scan the 'flats' for the Semi-P' Sand. Unfortunately after a good three hours of seeing mainly f*ck all I got bored and decided to do one home! Now here's where the bit of luck kicked in - Approaching Scunthorpe, my well trained & primed McDonalds radar located a gleaming 'Golden Arches' towering above the horizon and feeling a bit peckish I inevitably headed directly towards them! A good 20 minute feed was had before we proceeded along the M180, M18 and M1. As we approached J31 of the M1, Mikipedia informed me that the Semi-P had turned up at Alkborough! W*nk! I was in no position to turn around tho' as I had promised my other half an evening of food, drink and cinema. Approaching J30 however, at around 5.10pm, that sound that you don't really wanna hear when you've set a date with your missus began to fill the car! Mike then read out the message - ''MEGA SHARP-TAILED SAND at Patrington Haven''. Now being less than 10 minutes from Tibshelf, my missus at home pacing up and down awaiting my return, my clothes all ironed and the film at the cinema only an hour away from commencing, I had very little choice but to go straight home. Unfortunately for her, I kinda exited the motorway at J30, did a half circuit of the junction and re-entered the M1, heading back north. Now if we hadn't had that MC. Donalds stop, I would have been at home and would never have been able to escape! Lady Luck, you've got beautiful breasts, Mwah! x
Right then, we arrived at Patrington some time around 6.30pm, ran, jogged then walked the track east to the bank where the assembled birders were gathered and got stuck in! There were an awful lot of birds out there, mainly Dunlin and Curlew Sands (267), and despite the best efforts of quite a few twats to get us on to the wrong bird, namely several Dunlin, we eventually located the target. A few seconds of obscured viewing was cut short when the whole flock got up but luckily, they quickly settled and this time the Sharp-Tailed Sand (268) landed on a very small sliver of mud with two Dunlin and gave distant but decentish views for around 10 minutes. At around 7.15pm the flock again took to the air and I decided I'd better get back home to attempt to salvage the evening/my relationship! As we reached the motor, we found out that the bird had headed out on to the Humber and had been lost to view! Sweet!! The looks on the arriving birders faces as they read that message on their pagers said it all! Anyhow, it transpired that my 'arch' year-listing, albeit, friendly rival, Archer had decided after all to head NE and was currently NOT seeing a Semi-P' at Alkborough. He remained until dark I hear and was last seen climbing over the safety barrier half way along the Humber Bridge...

Sharp-Tailed Sand roosting and the assembled throng (centre bird)