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!!