Sunday, 13 September 2015

Scotland trip report!

From these glens and scars, the sound of the coot and the moorhen is seldom absent. Nature sits in stern mastery over these rocks and crags. The rush of the mountain stream, the bleat of the sheep, and the broad, clear Highland skies, reflected in turn and loch form the breathtaking backdrop against which Ewan McTeagle writes such poems as 'Lend us a quid till the end of the week'.

Venue: Scotland
Time: April
Team: James (Hull City), Joel (White Shite), & Mark (Hull City).
Targets: Pub, Slags, & Crested Tits (in that order)
Car: Vauxhall Astra (blue)(navy)
Luggage: New Socks (warm, 3 pack multipack) hand luggage, a car, a small bag of Sniffter, Optical aids. The optical aids were for recreation only.

Day One, underlined for importance.

Left Hull and L**ds/Sheffield at a staggering 02.00am, met at Boston Spa and drove right the way up to McMcDonalds for Mccoffee refreshment at Aberdeen.  The party then went and looked at the truly remarkable Harlequin Ducky that was just mooching about amongst the coke cans and smack heeds of Aberdeens Seaton Park.  Its diving action was pretty cool.  James brilliantly found the Harlequin Duck by shouting "What the fuck is this?  It's got some fucking white on it's its, like, head!" as he's a right sweary cunt.  James held his arms aloft, shouting obscenities. Joel commented that 'he's right it's just here!' And there it was indeed, a fucking lovely Harlequin right before our very eyeballs about 10 yards away.
'What in gods name is it doing?' hollered James and he was right to ask. Just what in gods name was it doing in this picturesque urban park littered with lovely wildlife, green belt beauty and skinny betattooed smack rats. Nice though. Also nice was a Dipper that was stood on a branch. There is no more I can say about this.

Mark then drove very calmly to the Yythiyan estuary and it IS spelt like that.  Nice place.  Idyllic.  Not bad.  Eider, Barwit, Swich, and Joel picked up some simply wizard summer plumaged Long Tailed Ducks but alas no King Eider that had been present.

If ye could see ye way to lending me sixpence, I could at least buy a newspaper.
that's nothing much to ask anyone.  Ewan McTeagle c.1970

Onward.  Portsoy.  White-Billed Diver territory.  Two crazy old gentlemen were already there looking, alas to no avail.  Mark then immediately claimed a White Billed Diver at 10 mile range with just 8x magnification bins based on the way it was holding its head because he is fucking brilliant at birding and that.  Honest.  Joel then super scoped it and confirmed it. We picked up 4 and a couple of Great Northerns and a single Redthroat.  Going well.

This is where it started going wrong.  They were equipped with sites but made the mistake of underestimating Scotland when not armed with proper local knowledge.  They all expected to roll up at Caperwatch and see Capers.  Look in the trees and see Crestie and Scots X.  Look up Cairngorm and see Ptarmigan.  Immediately.  Its not that easy. They soon found this out and generally chased around a bit and saw not a lot else.  They checked in the hotel and went to pub.  The party had a quiet night of a slack 12 of Scotlands finest McTennents and washed it down with a curry at Aviemore's finest (only) Indian curry establishment.  Take note would be travellers, we found out that the waiter here does NOT come quicker if you shout "Nutcase" across the restaurant whilst beckoning, for some strange reason.  What is up with waiters up here?  The discussions were blurred.  Joel thought James was mad.  James giggled with his face in his curry.  Mark commented on how few slags were out.  The less said about chilligate the better.  Some conversation came up about how we thought James was going to behave at Caperwatch the following morning and how probably some old dear called Enid would be disgusted at us stinking like a brewery whilst talking far too loudly about Football and slamming the hide flaps and so on.  James disputed this.  The curry house was okay. Just okay. 'Nutcase' then wouldn't order us a cab the awkward twat. James and Joel pondered that this was only because Mark had shouted 'Nutcase' at him several times during the evening.  James and Joel may have been right.  Mark was not concerned in the slightest. They all walked to the digs. Curry house: 6/10.  Onward.

Day 2.  In bold for effect.

Up at 5 for Caper watch at Garten.  A Caper was just out of view but on a camera.  "Where the fuck can we see it from?" Joel shouted at the kind men who run Caperwatch.  "Enid", who was a very small elderly lady, then approached Mark and Joel and said "Why do they put the hide here when
there's a Capercaillie over there out of view?".  She had a point, a very warped point I might add.  Still drunk from the night before, Mark and Joel could not even be bothered to tell "Enid" that they had to put it somewhere and that the Capercaillies can be seen anywhere.......etc.  Also at Caperwatch was Paul Wicker the Tall Vicar. This man was well spoken and strolled around the place with his very long legs asking random people anything they've ever known about Capercaillies. Mark wanted more booze. James likewise. Joel did not comment. 'Twas 7am after all.  We left and went back to the digs for breakfast: 9/10. Very nice. This break almost made any one of us legal to drive. Almost.

Cairngorm.  Much to James relief there was a train up to the top (funicular - a fun train) which meant he didn't have to die on a ski lift.  They "scored" Ptarmigan straight away from the restaurant.  Better, back on track.  The team commented that they liked Ptarmigans. 

Oh gi' me a shillin' for some fags and I'll pay yet back on Thursday,
but if you can wait till Saturday I'm expecting a
divvy from the Harpenden Building Society.

Went past Harpenden on the way home!  But that's for later on.  They saw 2 Ptarmigans at the top then 3 more on the way down.  Cairngorm atop: 2, Cairngorm descent: 3.  We also spoke to some people.  These people lived around here so we deduced that these people were locals.  They gave us a site for Cresty, time was starting to press sort of.  We saw Cresty at this site and even found one nesting.  Not bad at all.  On the way up we'd seen a likely looking lay-by from where we could check out the local loch, a loch which was good for Black Throats apparently.  We said we'd stop on the way back.  Mark was driving and didn't see the lay-by approaching and Joel only saw it late.  'In here' Joel called, pointing to said lay-by. We were almost past it.  James was snoozing bolt upright in the back.  We will never make the turn off now.  Mark calmly slammed everything on, flicked the back end out and made the unlikeliest of turns.  During this, the bolt upright snoozing James then FLEW past Marks rear view mirror and ended up horizontal and certainly wasn't snoozing anymore.  James lay rigid for three or so minutes until we all got out of the car.  James mumbled something about not being killed or something which was neither here nor there to Mark or Joel who simply ignored his mutterings and found a Greenshank no less!
I haven't got a clue where we went after this but again, we fucked about and saw not a lot after this.  We then went to the public house where we intended to make up for the calmness of the previous night with some proper drunken antics, we discussed the days events, drank McTennents and Brandy, and had a Chinese style meal that we paid for in the shop and they wrapped it up and let us take it out to eat at a place of our choice.  We ate at the hotel and Mark probably spilt it over his pillow. Aviemore Chinky: notaclue/10. Mark was too drunk to rate this. Mark cannot vouch for Joel or James's coherence at this point so we have no rating for this establishment.

If ye could see yer way to lending me sixpence I could at least buy a newspaper,
that's nothing much to ask anyone.

Day 3.  No fancy editing for effect.

Up at 5 for Caperwatch again!  Shite.  Again.  No sign whatsoever, even fucking Enid and Paul Wicker had given up!  So we went up tarn to try and see Black Grouse.  The driver (anon) of our car then proceeded to do a "line" of Columbia's finest on his/hers bank card whilst speeding and at least four times over the limit, while the passenger steered the car from the passenger seat at 6 in the morning up a mountain.  I am not sure how many laws were broken in this escapade but at least it perked the driver up he/she said later allegedly. This may or may not have happened.  Mark was then confirmed as driving and once again nearly missed another turn, a right-hander this time but again screeched and calmly careered it around the corner.  For a split second Mark thought about pulling the handbrake and flicking it round for added drama but we (the people at Q@Spurn) think that if he did James would've simply died right there on the spot.  No clutching of heart, no hands around the throat as if he couldn't breathe before keeling over, he would've just died on the spot. Just expired.   We again retired back to the digs for the complementary breakfast: 9/10 again, albeit at a different hosteleria. These ratings mean absolutely fuck all to you (the lone reader) as you don't even know where we were staying. I'm not telling you either.

Mark's landscape shot.

At this point we had only had a very feeble attempt at Scots X and no one seemed bothered!  We went west.  Go West.  For Eagles.  Easy?  Again, no.  The long trek to Skye was indeed a long trek.  Once on Skye Joel got onto a Goldie.  Marks brakes were again tested and came through with flying colours.  The Goldie, an adult, simply flew about above our neeps (that was a good joke) and showed very nicely, very nice indeed thank you. It was joined by a Raven which was simply trying to put it off its business.

As usual the afternoon was quite disastrous, chasing all over the Isle of Skye looking for White Tails, alas to no avail.  We headed to Portree as this is the largest town for accommodation, lager drinks and restaurants.  Tourism is surprisingly massive on Skye, its quite incredible the number of visitors it gets.  Joel sorted some digs and we were off into town.  Several drinks later and Mark had seen a Thai restaurant signage earlier in the piece. Alas it was nowhere to be found so we found ourselves in a curry house again!  Excellent!  Although it wasn't that excellent.  The waiter stopped serving us and started to close the place around us without anyone calling him Nutcase or anything. We were the only ones in but it was only half ten on a Saturday night!  Youd have thought theyd want the business.  Mark even tried to purchase Brandy in a panic that there may be no more alcohol that night and they still turned him down!  Joel's balti looked like a leucistic chicken tikka massalla and was, in his words, 'Shite. Like Leeds'. Back to pub (thankfully) for nips of brandy and more chilligate discussions.  The three explorers spoke of colourful, varied subjects, some too deep to discuss whilst pissed up including Third World War, Glorious Five Year Plans and, inevitably, women's tits.  Curry munching: 4/10

To ma own beloved lassie, a poem on her 17th birthday: 
Lend us a couple of bob till Thursday. I'm absolutely skint.
But I'm expecting a postal order and I can pay you back as soon as it comes. Love Ewan.'


Day 4:  Boating and driving.  (Courier Italic)

From the harbour in Portree there are 'wildlife trips' which include the very probable
sighting of White Barn Door Eagle.  Two members of the crew went on this trip whilst the other member bought far too much fudge and toffee.  The two members enjoyed okay views of a juv White Tail and the female watching on concernedly.  A Great Northern and a few Black Guillemots and not a lot else really but worth it.  Now.....the drive home.  SIX hours after setting off we were.......still in fucking Scotland!  Jesus Holy Mary just how big is this country?  Another three hours after that and we were all home safe and sound due only to Marks sensible driving and cool navy Astra car.  Mark and James "relieved" the boredom of the long drive by reciting McTeagle and nothing can quite match the huge sweep, the majestic power of what is surely his greatest work: 'Can I have fifty pounds to mend the shed?'.  Us here at Q@Spurn are not sure whether Joel thought this "hysterical" recital actually relieved or indeed added to the boredom of the long drive.

Can I have fifty pounds to mend the shed?
I'm right on my uppers.
I can pay you back when this postal order comes
from Australia.
Hope the bladder trouble's getting better.
Love, Ewan.

Sponsored by Q@Spurn birding tours.  Our tours operate all seasons and only cater for alcoholics.  Anybody wanting to come along must bring their own Class As.  Q@Spurn reserve the right to call a halt to any birding at any time of the day to go on the piss.  Here is a selection of this years tours:

Scottish Highlands on uppers and downers.
Pilled up tour of the Broads of Norfolk.
The brothels of Prague (non birding tour)
Paralytic seawatching in Cornwall (August)
Shetland slag-fest (October)
Scilly on crack (fully booked)
Brandy, Es and whizz one nighter at Filey (in association with Lee Evans)

Perhaps James or Joel erm....or Mark.....might like to add their take on the trip, either email Q@Spurn birding tours or just put something in the comments like you usually do!

Its only taken 5 months to publish!



Monday, 5 January 2015

Part 2 : weekly round up.

Now that was SURELY the longest pause betwixt a weekly round up? I am the worstest blogger of all time. So where was I? Yeah, so Tuesday, somewhere back in Octonauts, I went to Donna Nook, that's right. And the 'that's right' at the end of that sentence was not a phrase correcting myself, I was doing a Mick Jagger voice as I wrote. Yeah, that's right.

You've just read that like Mick Jagger haven't you?

Anyway, blah blah blah, Arctic Warbler showing fantasmogorically well, Long Eared and Short Eared Owls, blah blah, Yellow Browed, Barred Warbler, blah blah, flyover RedThroated Pipit, blah, great day, blah blah blah.

Wednesday and Thursday. 15th& 16th Octagon. As a birthday treat god bestowed upon me a Spurn tick: Upupa Epops! But I was on Sammys when another was loafing around Kilnsea (Pallid Swift). Darn it. I also saw Izzy Shrike (my 2nd at Spurn), GG Shrike, LEO and a couple of cracking Rough a Legs, one of which was right above me at the end of Peter Lane with a couple of Commons. It was one of them days, stuff everywhere but after the Rough a Leg I headed down to the gate to wait for the Pallid to fly south. It didn't. Darn it.

I have been to other places but I can't remember where. Oh yeah. Donna Nook again where I looked RIGHT AT some Taiga Bean Gooses just in from the bean fields of the Taiga region. Bean Gooses eat beans. Magic beans. Barnacle Gooses eat Barnacles, but Greylag Gooses do not eat Greylags as that would be simply crazy.

I then watched a Blyths Pipit near Pugneys Country Park which was nice. Then a FUCKING LITTLE BUSTARD in a stupid field in Fraisthorpe. Which was even nicer. Fraisthorpe beach is a nuddy beach. If you like being nuddy outside, you're ALLOWED to go there and get nuddy - outside. So, if you're a closet person who likes getting nuddy in public, simply go there and get nuddy and be free, FREE! Skip along the beach, nuddy, and laugh uncontrollably, it will make you feel a lot better if you're into being nuddy.


Not fin actually. 2014: never forgotten.



Friday, 17 October 2014

Week round up, part I

Well, what a week. So far.
Let's begin with Sunday, although that's sort of last week. I was up and ready and 'waiting on news' before going out. Shameful, I know. A Radde's has been showing on and off at Flamboro. Okay. I'll go there then. I hate Radde's Warblers. Skulking liddle bastards. Why the flip do they sit deep in cover? Well? Apart from being warm? Oh, and safe from predators. And their probable chosen foodstuff is more numerous in darker, damper confines. So, APART from that, why do they not show themselves?  Bastards.
I arrived. There was a man. He was from York. He was called Alex. He told me he birds Whitby. He was hidden in a hedge. He was looking for the Radde's. I do not like long sentences. As I can't concentrate for long periods. I was here for a stake out. I was expecting maybe an hour and half which should be hyphenated. Alex, from York and Whitby, after one and a half minutes (which also should be FUCKING hyphenated) stated 'it's there, bottom left'. I turned a bit to the right as instructed and looked at a Radde's Warbler! Jesus holy Mary mother of god.
I then had a chat with Brett and counted some Pinkies going south. 82. A girl then arrived with a box of chips! This is an amazing day! She then left with Whitby Alex from York to eat chips together on Flamboro head. This is truly a breakthrough moment in birding.

Still, it was good talking to Alex and Brett. Brett is a proper good bloke.
Not that Whitby Alex from York isn't of course.
And thanks for calling the Radde's, it saved me one hour, twenty-eight minutes and thirty seconds from my predicted timescale. How's that for proper hyphenation?

Monday. Clag, shit, rain and norf easters meant only one thing : I'm about to get wet at Spurn. I got wet at spurn. I didn't see another birder til 11 o'clock and he was in a sensible hide! Right, where the fuck is everyone? 'Well the sea should be good today so they must be doing the sensible thing and sea watching from a nice, dry hide' I said to myself far too loudly which startled a goat-type animal nearby. He had been eating grass, I could tell.
What now? Well I did a bit of seawatching then succumbed to the thought of the bushes being all mine even though I was gonna get drenched. A Lesser White at Cliff farm and a possible Sibe Chiff in the church was all I could muster and fucked right off home before a couple of things were found late afternoon. At this point it was ME that was sat in a warm, dry house drinking cold lager flavoured drinks, HAHAHAHAHAHA, the laugh is on you now that you've all had a great seawatch, waited til the rain stopped, and gone out and found a Bluethroat and a few other goodies........oh, hang on.....

I will (might) tell you all about Tuesday and Wednesday tomorrow.

Jesus walks into a bar with his disciples and orders 13 glasses of water while winking at his mates.....


Monday, 22 September 2014

A Day in the Life

I read rare bird news today oh boy
About a lucky man who found a Shrike
And though the news it said Woodchat
Well I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph
He put his shutter speed too low
He didn't notice that the light had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They'd seen this Shrike before
Nobody was really sure if this was a Woodchat at all!
I saw the film today oh boy
It showed the Shrike looking like a Masked,
A crowd of people turned up anyway 
And I just had to look
And consulted a book
I'd love to seeeeeeee thaaaaaaat Shriiiiiiiiike....

Jumped up, got out of bed
Dragged a sponge? across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up I noticed I was late
Found my scope and kicked a cat
Made the car in seconds flat
Found my way inside and had some coke
somebody spoke and I went into a dream

I read the news today oh boy
A third for Britain at Spurn Point, Yorkshire
And though the crowds were rather small
They had to count them all
Now they know how many twitchers it takes to fill Hull City Hall
I'd love to turn you on

Lyrics by Q with a little help from my friends Paul, John, George, Richard Starkey. 
And Mr Sting. 


Saturday, 13 September 2014

Rio bastard Ferdinand rant

Is it just me that is sick to the fucking back teeth of Rio Ferdinand fucking exclusives in the papers? He's a cock. He's a fucking manc cock who has bigged  himself up throughout his shite career. His goal celebration tells you everything. Someone else scores. He runs the full length of the pitch, thus arriving on the scene later and jumps over the top of his stinking manc team mates and all the photos in the fucking press show that bastard splashed all over the back page. He looks like Plug out the Bash Street Kids. And he's on coke. There, I said it.

Rio Ferdinand exclusive: Man U let me go to QPR.
Rio Ferdinand exclusive: My story about Welbeck going to Arsenal.
Rio Ferdinand exclusive: I do a piss in the morning. 
Rio Ferdinand exclusive: Who gives two flying fucks about what I think exclusive.

I'll tell you what fucking Ferdinand, fuck off you fucking mancs bastard you fucking stinking twat. If you fancy your chances I'll meet you anywhere and give you a proper kicking you stinking mancs bastard. And he played for them stinking white bastards too! Fuck me, can you get any worse? He might as well go and play for Jihadi Beheading XI just to complete the set. 

There, I said it.
Excellent rant.

1 Curlew. 


Thursday, 11 September 2014


I've found a patch. Sort of. I was wasting time as the kids were asleep in the back of the car and Fats wasn't leaving work for another 20 minutes, the conundrum being : children asleep : 7-8 minutes from home : by the time I got home it's nearly time to leave to pick fats up : may even wake children in process of going in 'home' : ergo, pointless trip home, : ergo, may as well wait around here (here being St. Andrews Quay just off the A63 in Hull). Hang on, I have binocular aids with me. I'll have a quick scout round the bushes near Mr Chu's the chinese restaurant in which I saw Two Jags Prescott once which is a top celebrity story I think you'll agree. I 'birded' from the car and viewed only two bushes! These two bushes held 3 Willow, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Greeneth Fincheth and 2 Robins. Okay. And? Well it gave me enough in 7andahalfminutes to warrant a return next morneth with more time.

Next morneth, more time, although only halfanhour:
5 Willow
1 Chiff
6 Whitethroat
1 Reedeth Bunting
1 Lesser Whitethroat
1 Reed Warbler.

Now this isn't bad. The 'patch' is on the side of the Humber, I think liddle blighters fly south, see an expanse of water and ditch down for a bit. I actually had my phone in my hand after viewing the Reed W in a few short bursts. The first few times I saw it, it was in Elders, scurrying down branches and it looked short winged! The jizz and the habitat (there were a million rushes right next to the Elders it preferred) said 'not reed'. I honestly thought I had a Blyths even though I hadn't seen much of it, I had upto now an acro that wasn't behaving like a Reed and I was about to ring for backup and run through a few features. Then it showed well and sat on a rush and it appeared to be a Reed Warbler. The short wings now had a fairly standard 'long' primary projection, the supercil stopped at the tiny eyeball...... I am shit. But you know when something's not right? Well I just had that feeling.

In Henley I saw this sign:

What do you do if you only what a small rug?
Nicola called me stupid.
Maybe I am. Maybe I am when it comes to unstreaked acros anyway.

I will continue to check my little patch, especially as there's easterlies right now and clear weather.


Thursday, 28 August 2014


We're darn sarf. Henley to be precise, camping. It is porsh rarnd har. £4.40 for a pint of piss-flavoured Fosters?! Gordon Bennett! (James) Gordon Bennett (jr) was a newspaper magnate around the turn of the century. Did you know that? I aren't telling you anymore about him as it is a) uninteresting b) pointless and c) if I tell you lot you'll then know as much as me.
I ataken (atook) the children and Fats to Woburn to the safari park (that is) there. It's actually the first time I've seen tigers, alright not "tickable" tigers but tigers in the flesh all the same. Tigers are brilliant. FA cup finalists and in Europe? Ha.
That was a good joke.
The park held Black Bear, Giraffe, Lion and Zebra amongst others. There was a tiny deer at the side of the road which didn't look well as someone was attending to it. The guy turned 'round. It was Louis van Gaal!
"Fawn ill?" I asked.
He said "don't you fucking start......"
Hahahahahaha. Ha.
That was a good joke.

Right. This is a birding blog. Right? Supposedly centred roughly around Spurn. Right?
Well here's some bird bits. Right.
The campsite holds Red Kite, Willow, Chiff, Blackcap, Treecreeper, RN Parakeet, Green Wood, and an Egyptian Goose with one good arm. Pheasant, "Mallard" random ducks, one of which Ruby has befriended and has named it, rather preposterously, "Friendy", and several other more dull species than the ones I've already highlighted.
And now a Spurn bit. Just for you.
I went to Spurn last week, alas with children. They like it though. I managed a seawatch of some description and observed the following species in varying numbers:
Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Your Tern, Right Tern, As Tern, Gannet, Common Scoter, Eider (5 north - important figures)....and other stuff as well. Med Gull betwixt Kilnsea and Easington, etc. What I did see though was a Grey Partridge with one young opposite Kilnsea Wets. Evidence of breeding! Successful breeding! I had a conundrum:
a) Do I report this? or
b) Is it lame to report this?
In the probability that it is in fact b) lame to report this, I sort of forgot to report this. Poor observatory skills. Again.
I atook the girls to see Alan's Little Owls. Alas, to no avail. I had promised them Owls, tiny Owls. Cute Owls. Tiny, cute, bald, baby, beautiful, bald, baby Owls yet I could not deliver. Poor parenting skills. They cried all the way home and through the night although that may be due to me downing 14 pints and singing "We're by far the greatest team...." at the top of my voice whilst stood on the dining table with only some ill-fitting socks as attire. EXCELLENT parenting skills!

A toast! Here's to holding them to only four......