There's a few episodes I need to 'write-up' but to save time I'll bang them all in one post. So, where do I start. After the already published Rufous-tailed Robin incident, I think the next adventure involved a snazzy lickle heron in Nottinghamshire (I say 'think' because even though I habitually carry a notebook, I never can be arsed to scribble anything in it).
It started on Friday 28th October with a text mid-afternoon from Phil Locker asking 'Do you need that for Notts?' - A frantic search ensued for the pager and after reading the message put me on a downer for the rest of the day! There was no way I could get away from work there & then and getting to Attenborough after work was almost impossible! I spent the evening at home in a somewhat stressed mood. The next morning, saw me on 'The Bridge' at Attenborough before it was light and within seconds, out of the gloom a small heron shape flew out from beneath the bridge and away! Yep, that was it but did I see it in Notts or Derbys! My fears were soon washed away however as the star of the show soon reappeared and gave it some proper mincing in amongst some reedy weed stuff on the right side of the border. A short while later, a couple of fishy men arrived and despite being politely asked to fish elsewhere, completely ignored us & the presence of the bird and deliberately flushed it! Yep, they were cunts alright! Anyhow, a few minutes later during the ensuing verbal battle between the birders & gnomes, the Squacco (that's the first time I've mentioned its ID I think) was picked up flying high to our right, over the main reserve (in Notts) and away down the river. Wanting some more time with it, we headed off in an attempt to relocate it. Twenty or so minutes later, with the group of birders now spread out all over the place, I received a call from Alan Clewes. He was in hysterics and demanded that we come back to 'The Bridge' pronto! Initially thinking that the bird had relocated back there, it soon transpired that something even more eventful had just occurred. Allegedly a couple of late coming birders had arrived at 'The Bridge' and after hearing of the 'Fishing Gnomes' selfishness, had confronted him, gave him a bit of the old Alex Ferguson stylee 'hair dryer treatment' and then proceeded to launch his fishing trolley into the drink! Class! Sadly, the ruckus had halted when we got on scene and the only evidence of said events were a shifty looking bloke shuffling away and the lovely red wheels of aforementioned trolley bobbing up & down in the stream -
With more and more Squacco spotters arriving on scene, we decided to have another attempt at locating the bird, and following a brief in-flight view by Dan Martin, I relocated it grubbing about on the edge of a channel behind the sailing club, much to the pleasure of the many rapidly turning sour faces, although viewing here wasn't the most comfortable -
The Squacco Heron constituted my 247th species in Notts, following the proper rules, making up for missing the last one in the late 90's.
I did manage a pic of the creature but it was pretty shite so I've been kindly given permission by Rich Collis to use his image below -
Right then, what was next...
I'm struggling to recall the next event although I know I had this shortly after the Squacco
Ah, I remember now, the next event was a trip to Spurn, East Yorks, for a very obliging Isabelline Wheatear on Saturday 5th November. Unfortunately, there weren't any controversial incidents and all in all was a rather mundane episode. I can't recall any other interesting birds here other than the Izzy and a single Snow Bunting. Once again I managed to rattle off a few shots of the bird but only one came out worthy of even considering looking at
Below, Lord Archer comes face to chest with the tallest birder in the world, Martin 'Thuglife' Smyth
Snapping ASBO, ASBOette, ASBO & Thuglife ASBO
The next installment was a trek North East for a Greater Yellowlegs in Northumberland on Sunday 13th November. With Mikipedia being the designated driver, we set of with some trepidation but thankfully we arrived unscathed at Hauxley NR and made our way to the hide. Rather expectantly it was crammed full of geriatrics and a bloke from Cumbria and despite trying to wiggle wiggle wiggle to the front, it was impossible to see the bird. We evacuated and luckily found another much smaller hide, where we were greeted by a pair of lovely pensioners who ushered us inside and took immense pleasure in pointing out the Greater Yellowlegs and it's Grey Phalarope escort just yards from the flaps!
Below, Rob Capewell got this cracking IPhone shot of the pair -
And my not so cracking HTC phone image of the 'Legs' -
For a few minutes, us four midlanders had the birds to ourselves and soaked up the serene scene but as expected, we were soon suffocated by the loser's from the other hide and I made a quick exit. As regular readers know, I get as much pleasure from watching & papping the crowd at such events as I do from seeing the bird so while my companions had a Yellowlegs overdose, I hung about outside, smoked some fags and papped some twats! I love it!
Can you spot the tripod? No, me neither!
'The Snapper' and I, looking unruly!
Our next destination was Greatham Creek, Cleveland, where our target was a Semipalmated Sandpiper that had been present for a few days. Although it had not been reported today, we were pretty confident that it would still be around. Within minutes of arriving on site, we had located it, and although distant, it was another nice addition to the day as were a couple of Short-eared Owls and some rather vocal seals.
And so, that brings us to this weekend, 19th & 20th November. as I sit here in the lounge typing this, I'm currently witnessing (and hearing) a young brat outside on the street calling his mate a 'toilet wipe' - Nice! My regular birding companions are up in Northumberland again(!) having a look at a Orange bellied Charcoal faced Redstart, a bird I really couldn't muster the enthusiasm to go and see. Apparently we'll all be dead before we can add that bird to our lists, and yeh, I know it's a nice bird, but if I/we can't tick it, I may has well go to the zoo to see some nice birds!
Philistine, me? Never!