As of February 14th, I'll have a nice juicy three months off work to indulge in some serious county ticking... I'll also have the company of a 6 month old little girl. Christ knows how I'm gonna combine the both but I'm gonna give it a good go. I've got the weird 'kangaroo style' carrying pouch, the top of the range, hooded, gortex covered, polar bear fur insulated rucksack thing and a four wheel drive, rugged, all weather, cairngorm tested pushchair. I've also got myself one of those snazzy chunky Nissan Qashqui things to transport us to & fro locations. It'll be an adventure I'm sure...''
So February came & went pretty swiftly didn't it. I didn't actually manage that much birding during the month (a lot less than I expected certainly) what with beginning my paternity leave on Valentines Day - I'd inexplicably underestimated what it would involve & how my birding time would be reduced. I only managed to add three birds to my county year-list during the month, the first two falling on the same day, at the same place. February 9th I was at home minding the baby when I began to get calls & texts. I was feeding Isabela so ignored them initially but after one too many missed calls, I checked my phone to see that Wayne Collingham had found a Gannet at King's Mill Res, my old local patch & just a swift 10 minutes drive away! I quickly chucked some sort of coat thing on Izzy & strapped her in her car seat, grabbed my gear and spanked it down to the res. Ditching the car, we ran (well I ran, carrying Izzy) to the apron in front of the sailing club and immediately locked on to the adult Gannet bobbing about on the water, like some huge albino, bath tub, rubber duck! After a very enjoyable half hour of watching this beast (seeing such a maritime creature flying around very urban habitats is always incongruous), the weather took a turn for the worse so I decided to stack it (purely for Isabela's sake I might add) but minutes before we left, Paul Naylor picked up a Kittiwake flying around amongst the B-h.Gulls virtually over our heads! Class, King's Mill currently rivalled Bempton in terms of sea birds, sort of, maybe... Ok it didn't but it was bloody exciting and I left pondering at what stage on my journey home that I'd get the phone call to say a Puffin had dropped in. That didn't happen & I spent the rest of the evening having some RJ (Rouge Juice = Red Wine). The Gannet was only the second one I'd ever seen in Notts and only my 3rd ever in an inland county.
|The montage above was taken by my none birding mother (Michelle Dunn)|
|This stunning image was taken by Mike Hill|
|And a rather shabbier effort by yours truly (mobile phone papped).|
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With the reappearance of the Glossy Ibis in the Lowdham/Gonalston area, I took the first opportunity I could to go and add this bird to my Notts year-list. The 9th saw me up & away early doors and on site by 7.15am. Initially it was a bit daunting as I wasn't too sure the exact location of the bird and there were no other birders about either! After a bit of grubbing about, creeping along hedgerows & popping my head over, clambering up trees (I didn't clamber up any trees actually but if I had to I would have done, I like to climb a tree every now & again, makes me feel young), peering into fields I eventually located the bird, snaffling around a muddy flooded corner of a field, about 20yds away from me. It was feeding away busily, quite unconcerned about me perving on it. It was such a relief to connect after missing it on its only other visit to the county this year on January 5th.
|Glossy Ibis (S.Dunn - mobile phone papped)|
|Hoveringham's 'super railway pit'|
|Woodlark, Budby Common (S.Dunn mobile phone papped)|
|BNG, undisclosed site (S.Dunn, mobile phoned papped)|
|The Chief, Isabela & I on our March 14th stroll|
|Chief Brody looking pleased after accidently disturbing 3 Jacks.|
|Izzy bags her first Notts Garganey @ Eakring Flash|
Tuesday March 25th, I didn't go birding, I forgot to feed my dog & neglected my paternal duties - instead I wrote this blog post for all of you to peruse, 'cos I'm good like that.
Hope you enjoyed it.
Now, which room did I leave the baby in.... and where's my dog????