Sunday, 27 December 2009

Guest Entry

Today is the first of our guest entries where we ask a reader to contribute a diary entry from their notebooks.
Dave, 43, is a lorry driver and gives us a fascinating account of his trip to Spurn in October 98.
Dave, over to you.


Alright.  I started early.  Got in my lorry before dawn broke.  I put my binoculars in the glove compartment but I had to take out yesterdays chip wrapper and a copy of Razzle first.
Got out on the road, just as we like it.

I'd been out on the road for about half an hour and I'd already had a 'copy' with another trucker from Hartlepool, breaker breaker one nine for a copy!  I love saying that. I decided to pull in just off the M62 near South Cave.  Parked my lorry up and had a kip.
When I woke up I got out of my big lorry to find that Denise's Diner had opened which came 41st in 'Trucking Monthly' magazine's top 100 greasy spoons survey from 97.
I took my Daily Sport out of my arse pocket and ordered a tea and a breakfast.
The breakfast came in good time and only the knife was dirty, the fork was nearly spotless, happy days!
I'd ordered the 'Lorry breakfast' which is just what blokes like me want.  2 Bacon, 2 Sausage, 2 Eggs, beans, tomatoes (tinned, not grilled), Black Pudding and this one at Denise's comes with both fried bread AND toast!  Now you're starting to see why us truckers like it here at Denise's!  £3.50 the lot.  Not bad eh?  They do takeaway too.  Finished breakfast and back on the road, just as we like it.

Put Chris Rea on the cd player.  He's great to drive to, brilliant he is.
Down the motorway and a Kestrel was hovering at the side of the road.  Nice that.  Real nice.  I didn't know they hovered though.  Nice that.

Nearly through Hull now, on the road, just as we like it.

Stopped off at Hedon Road Cafe, 10th on the top 100 so a must visit for anyone passing in a big lorry.  Coffee this time, plus a 'Medium Brekkie' they call it here.  I prefer it when a cafe calls it a 'Breakfast' and not a 'brekkie' cos I think it sounds common.
Anyway, the cutlery was quite clean and my brekkie came in good time.  2 Bacon, just 1 Sausage, Beans, 1 Egg, and 2 Toast.  I think here you get the option of either fried bread OR toast and also the option the have scrambled egg instead of fried which is a great option to have.  It's up to you!  Good that.  That lot came to £2.80 which isn't bad.  Everything was cooked nice and the tablecloth was the bog-standard "Red-checked Square" for any of you tablecloth listers out there.  Finished that, out on the road, just as we like it.

Just pulling into Patrington and I realised that time was pressing on, so I didn't take the turn off to Spurn, I stayed on the Withernsea road.  On arrival in Withernsea I met up with some other truckers.  I parked in behind their 'cabs' as we say in the trade. I took a step back and viewed the 4 big lorries all in a row.  "Hey lads, we've got ourselves a convoy!" I shouted.  Everyone thought it was really, really funny, especially 'Rubber Duck' whose real name is Kris.

We went into Alan's Quality Grub (AQG to the lads) which came in at 68th in the Truckers Monthly survey but I think it should be a lot higher.  As we walked in a Black-headed Gull was hunting for scraps outside. Nice that.  Really nice.  A dinner special consisted of Mash, Steak Pie, Peas, Gravy and 3 slices of Bread and Butter. Lovely.  The butter melted as you put the mash and gravy in the bread, a really good sign of a good cafe.  Finished that and was back out on the road again, just as we like it.  Finally got to Spurn just as the themetune to 'Convoy' came on the radio.  Chris Rea had finished.  Funny that, we'd only been talking about a bit ago in AQG! 

Parked up in the canal scrape car park but by this time there was only about an hour of light left!  Bloody Hell!  I toyed with the idea of getting straight back on the road, just as we like it because by the time I hit Hull again the Chinese in town would be opening and I could have that in my cab on the way home.
No, that can wait for later, I'm here for some birding, so I'm gonna do some birding!

Drove the lorry upto the gate where you can look out over the Humber.  Wound the window down and got my binoculars out, magic!  I could just make out a Grey Plover feeding in the mud.  Nice that.  Really nice.  Then a couple of Dunlin came into view.  Then I had a little bit of a kip. 

All in all, a good day out, got home about 6 the next morning, there's some good all-nighters that just do takeaway butties on the way back to Leeds.  Been out for 24 hours solid in the lorry with about half an hour's top birding.  I'll certainly be visiting Spurn again and I'd recommend it to anyone.



Thanks to Dave, there.  A really good read with some interesting birds pointed out.
Join us again next week when our guest entry will feature another stereotyped proffession.

Look at this Proper Trucking

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Sunday, 20 December 2009

More boredom.....

Being on the mobile phone in our house is a random game of receiving a signal.  Stood right at the front window there's a chance of getting one, so there I was.....
Reader:  "This post hasn't started very well".
I realise that it's not the most interesting of entries yet but it may get better, stick with it.
Reader:  "No"
Fair enough.
Notice how I wrote "Reader" as in singular, not "readers" because there is only one of you.
I'm not bothered.

So there I was on the phone looking out of the window when a Woodcock flew up the middle of the road, about 2 metres off the ground, looking very out of place.  Crazy.

Easy this one.



And this one
Now here's one where the answer is not Woodcock,
so it's a bit harder.......
There's a prize if anyone gets it......



Slender....Billed.....Curfew.
Now that is DEFINATELY funny.




It's true, I really need something to write about.
Suppose I should go birding but I'm too busy.
I'm still bored, but probably not as bored as you after reading that.
Soon be Christmas.



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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Firsts for Britain.....

I think Fair Isle has accounted for nearly 30 additions to the British List, or something like that.  How many is it?  Please tell me. Or don't.  I think I read it somewhere once.  Or maybe I didn't.
So how many has Spurn accounted for?  I don't know......

Erm......Stilt Sandpiper. About 1954?  I could just look it up on the net, but I'm going to try off the top of my head, so this lot could be miles off!
Now then, Greater Sand Plover?  No, I seem to think that wasn't actually the first.
Penduline Tit?  Is that one?
I'm not even going to mention Demoiselle Crane (wankers), Mottled Swift (twats) and Oriental Cuckoo (not bothered didn't see it).
Marmora's Warbler?  No, I think that singing one in South Yorkshire was before that.  This bird, if I remember rightly, was found by the old dear that used to bird Spurn many years ago.  I tell you what, she was keen.  She was always in the field, bless 'er.  She always had a head scarf on, anyone remember her?  Anyway, I think it was her that found the Marmora's and asked for help to confirm the ID.

Spotted Towhee?  It was accepted as a western race and therefore an unlikely vagrant, so rejected on possibility of being an escapee.
Black Lark.  Black Lark I hear you say?  Oh yes mamma!
1985?  May, no April is in my head.

I came across the excerpt in Central Library concerning the finding of Britain's first Black Lark:

"Twas the early morn.  A soft mist had drifted melancholy south and out of danger.  I wandered along the peninsula, seven whores in tow, I was but a minute away from the mythical moment.  I strolled, then stopped. I lifted field glasses to beneath my brow and took aim at the wondrous creature that behold me.  It was black.  With strange magical white fringes to the feathers about it's person.  The bill was almost creamy, reminiscent of the chicken soup we'd had the whores serve up during last eve's banquet in Dunbirdin.  The bird stooped neath the weather most horrid and revealed a penis so bulbous and foul that we were in no doubt that we were, indeed, watching a male Lark" taken from The Memoirs of Barry Spence, 1975.







Seriously, I think Nick would be pleased to know it's now been accepted.  Rest in Peace.




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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Fregata!

Well I never.  Black-bellied Storm Petrel in the Severn estuary!  Fucking hell!!
The last few days have seen crazy bastard south-westerlies pounding our coastline and some big mega claims of big mega seabirds have been made, with this Black Bellied Stormy, a Masked Booby off Cornwall, and a Frigatebird sp. over Huddersfield!  Huddersfield?
Fucking Huddersfield?
I reckon it was a teenage girl's black straggly top from Dorothy Perkins with a white motif on the front that'd blown off the washing line in the gales!

25th November, Huddersfield, wind - SW Force 7, observations from 0915 - 1310.

3 Black headed Gulls
1 Girl's Fashion Top, south.

Now there's a possible Swinhoe's Petrel in Cornwall too!  Fuck me!  This is crazy stuff!
The Black-Bellied Stormy was seen initially by 5 birders who had good enough views.  I read on a site that at least one of these guys was "white-hot".  What a record.
They were joined by some more birders, 3 of whom are rumoured to be cross-dressers and today were all wearing striking little black numbers, one of which was a saucy off-the-shoulder cut.  At this point I must say that the choice of footwear was inappropriate (heels on Severn beach?) although they argued that would take style over function any day.  The marvellous large-brimmed hat that Roger was wearing didn't last long in the gales and was last seen off Pendeen in Cornwall going west and reported as a 'possible Swinhoe's Petrel'. 
Hey!  That explains these crazy sightings then! 
Let's look at the facts.  These mega seabird claims have only been made in the gales, yes?  What happens in gales?  Correct, fashion items of cross-dressing birders get blown away either from washing lines or, in Rogers case, out in the field!  So that's the Swinhoe's and the Frigatebird solved.
Sorted.  But from now on I think the likes of Roger should adhere to a more sensible style of birding/transvestite wear, because if hats, scarves and boob tubes keep flying about past headlands around the country, god knows what further claims are going to be made!


The Black-Billed Stormy Fregata was last seen surrounded by large gulls so presumably ended up it's epic journey from southern hemisphere oceana in the mouth of the Severn in the mouth of a Herring Gull.
A first for Britain, but a tasty snack for a Larid.


Black-Bellied Storm Petrel.
A new addition to the British List, if accepted, which it should
be because the finders are meant to be proper top birders.






...............

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Trailer trashed

Went to help my brother move a broken trailer onto a wagon.  The trailer was broken when some thieves stole it, broke it stealing it, so left it cos they'd broken it.  What bastards!

So, on Beverley Westwood loading said trailer onto said wagon when a Crossbill flew over.  Erm, west. Or is it south?  No, no, west it is, I've worked it out.  It was flying.  Just flying without a care in the world, flying off somewhere, fly, fly away tiny Crossbill, fly, little bird, fly.

Which could've read:

Beverley Westwood, 1 crossbill, west.

Or it could've read:

Piss off and die bastard Crossbills.  Don't come here and try and nick trailers that don't belong to you you fucking thieving bastards. No fucking wonder you're flying off west, come back here and face the music you twat.  Come on then, Crossbill bastard, come on, get outside then.  Let's fucking 'ave it, come on.


Not really sure which is the best.

I'm bored.  Can you tell?



So here is a drawing that I've pretended I've drawn of
a Crossbill but really I've just fucked about with
a photo that I've ripped off the net and monstered in Photoshop.
It's true, I really am that bored.



................

Monday, 26 October 2009

Fucking shite

Twenty fucking sixth of fucking October you fucking bastards.
"Why are you so angry Mr Quigley?"
"Fuck off"
"No come on, don't be like that"
"Fuck off and leave me alone Twat"
"Listen, there no need to be offensive Mr Quigley, just tell me what's wrong and maybe I can help you".
""I went to Spurn, alright?".
"And Mr Quigley was it bad?"
"I had a Robin-shaped bastard with a blue tail in flight at the top end of the canal"
"That's great, you've always wanted to find a Red-Flanked Bluetail at Spurn, Mr Quigley"
"I fucking know.  I stood there then thrashed the bushes, then stood there some more"
"Did you see it again, Mr Quigley, thus confirming Spurn's fourth record of this eastern gem?"
"What the fuck do you think fucknuts?  I STOOD THERE FOR FUCKING 3 HOURS AND EVEN SHOUTED ANDY THAT I'D GOT A POSSIBLE THEN IT WENT OVER THE RADIO THEN A FEW PEOPLE CAME TO FUCKING HELP AND FUCKING FUCK ALL CAME OUT OF THE BUSHES THEN EVERYONE DRIFTED OFF LEAVING ME TO IT, NO DOUBT THINKING THAT THERE WAS NO BLUETAIL!!"
"Oh".
"On reflection I think it looked very good for one, my description would be as follows:  Robin sized bird, similar build, only seen once in flight, seen only with the naked eye..."
"Continue"
"....from around 15 yards...."
"Go on"
Generally brown in plumage apart from a dullish blue tail, definitely not as bright as the previous week's bird but this may have been down to poor light....."
"Poor light Mr Quigley?"
"Yes, poor fucking light..."
"I see"
"I never got anymore on the plumage or underparts......"
"Okay"
"Will you stop fucking interrupting me.  For fuck's sake, I'm pissed off enough that it never showed again never mind you fucking interrupting me when I'm trying to talk about it.   Take THAT!  And THAT you bastard".  (picture me hitting you with a big stick in your minds).




..............

Saturday, 17 October 2009

RFB

When we were lads wandering around Spurn the conversation would often turn to 'the bird you most want to find at Spurn' and Red-Flanked Bluetail was always high on everyone's list, an unimaginative choice, perhaps, but correct all the same.  These days they are common as muck and not even worth looking at.  If I were told a Bluetail was 'just over there', I wouldn't even bother looking at it! I'd walk straight past.  They're that rubbish now that today there were TWO Bluetails at Spurn!  See?  Common as shite, fuck 'em.  Fuck Red-Flanked Bluetits whatever they're called!
Only joking.
Yes, Red-Flanked Bluetails may have lost their mystical, mega rarity tag due to both a westerly range expansion and increased population, but they're still top notch birds, yes?

So today, yes TWO Bluetails were found (the second not being confirmed until the next morning) the first time a site has ever held two in the same day they reckon. One had been trapped in the Crown and released in Little Hedge which is an area inaccessible to the public and only viewable form the canal, canal scrape hide or the road. 
So why the flying fuck was it released here?!
I'll tell you why. At the weigh-in, the bird was found to be light, so it was decided to release it in a place of solitude where it would have chance to feed in peace without being booted all over the place by birders wanting a look. 
Fuck that!
We shouldn't interfere with nature.  It CHOSE the churchyard as it's CHOSEN haunt and that's where it should've been released (we'd have got much better views).  It's like big Dave Attenborough getting his cronies to stop a lion killing a cute baby Zebra.
Exactly the same.
The Bluetail has overcome diversity to get to that car park, with several factors contriving to dump this little beauty on our shores, and it's chosen area to be unceremoniously dumped were the trees in the Crown car park.  A vagrant is exactly that, a vagrant.  It is just unlucky that it is way off course and may never actually get back on course so I say let it take it's chances!  Fuck it.
I asked Ivan Drago out of Rocky IV what he thought about it.  "If it dies, it dies" he said. 
At least we'd get better views before it did croak it!  Hahahahahahahahaha only joking.  It was a wise and educated decision to release it in Little Hedge and everyone saw it ( I think).

After half an hour, it popped out. Briefly.
Then it popped out again.  Briefly.
Then the lads in the hide had it bathing on the scrape. 
Then I had it fly into the phrags at the side of the scrape after which I never saw it again.  This one never showed the next day but the one down the point showed on and off for the next two days (amazingly this bird was found again in the trap some 7 days after last being seen!  Elusive?  Fucking right the fucker's elusive).

A Radde's Warbler had been trapped at the Crown also. I went for a quick look for it but couldn't find it.  A Jack Snipe and a couple of Brambling were about the best of the rest.

"I will crush you, Tom Selleck, whatever you are called" Ivan also commented.
Was it really Tom Selleck who played Rocky?  I didn't seem to think it was.
Not that I'm gonna argue with Ivan who incidentally, is Tony Drago's twin brother.
The snooker player.
Honest.




............

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Sprites

I wanted to see a Firecrest, they're good aren't they?  Good bastards.  There had been a couple of them knocking around at Spurn, with one lingering in the canal hedge.  Bashed canal hedge to no avail, in fact fuck all mamma.  One Robin and a distinct lack of birds in general.  The Mipits had stopped moving, mid October there should still be at least a few.  Then a couple of Reed Bunts, then an odd Greenfinch (a perfectly normal Greenfinch actually, not odd as in 'weird' but odd as in 'only one'), then the local teenage Goldfinches hanging around in a field racing a couple of Honda c50's around said field, 2 Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff.  There were things around but no numbers of anything, jut singles or doubles of several species.

A Pallas's Warbler ranging between the Church and the Crown car park showed extremely well in the garden of Kew Villa.  Fucking stripey little cunt.  Bit of an outburst there.

Stood in the Churchyard for about 45 minutes, my mind starting to drift towards the dead that lay before me and for a moment thinking deep poignant thoughts as to the flimsy unpredictability that is life, compared to the final, inevitable, very predictable fate that awaited all of these fallen souls and of course bequeath them.  Added to this the bittersweet irony of being laid to rest in the house of our Lord, safe in the knowledge that there is no Lord and life itself is spawned from the greatest designer of all time, evolutionary process.

Speaking of design and evolution, two species that are truly superbly designed then came to pay there respects above the headstones.  The Pallas's from earlier and 2 Yellow-Browed Warblers.  No Firecrest, but these 3 showed very nicely with 2 Goldcrest (pah!) and a Chiffchaff (pah!).

All hail the Sprites, the leaders of the Phylloscopus family and guardians of our souls in our final resting place.
2 Barred Warblers were representative of the Devil at the gates of Hell, although I'm not quite sure why.



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Saturday, 10 October 2009

Visible migration (viz-mig)

Local viz-mig going on near my house:

24 Skylark
3 Meadow Pipit
12 Greenfinch
30+ Goldfinch
c100 Pink Footed Geeses

What a very sensible post.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

No Bonxies

Zigzth of Ogdober.
It was quiet today.  Not much anywhere.  On land, 7 Tree Sparrows at the Warren were the contradictory 'highlight'.  I stood and watched the river for a while as Gannets were moving east, which is a bit unusual, some 25 passing in the ten minutes or so.  After the northerlies we'd just had, seabirds were relocating north and the now southerly direction of the wind were perhaps taking them into the Humber. So a look on the sea was perhaps the only chance today.  It wasn't.  It was shite.  3 Gannets.  Ducks though.  Parties of Teal were hurrying through, some of them even pissing in the sea the dirty bastards.  We've got to drink that.  Then some Common Scoter, nearly 13 of them (12) went south with a Velvet.

A gull flew in front of the scope.  So I followed it.....erm.....looks like a Med.  1st winter Med Gull.  It landed.  Although it landed with another one that looked exactly the same.  Two Med Gulls?
Then another Gull landed.  Adult Med Gull!  What the fuck is going on?  It's gone Med Gull-tastic here at Easington beach.  Then a Black Headed Gull landed then ANOTHER 1st winter Med Gull flew in.  Four Med Gulls, 3 1st winter and a smart adult.  On the beach.  The ducks carried on moving but little else apart from a possible Bonxie that was nearer Amsterdam than me and I need a new scope, it's not the best, so it goes on record as......erm....fuck all.  Off the record then.

Total number of official Bonxies seen today:  None.  Sorted.



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Thursday, 1 October 2009

The start of October!

After yesterday's pure fantasy and dreamscape vision of the Anthill Crane turning up at Spurn.........that's exactly where I went.  I was even checking fields from Patrington to Easington on the way!
Was I asking too much?!
Anyway, not surprisingly there was no Anthill Mob seen today but Dick Dastardly was seen going south..........ha............hahahahahahaha......very poor. 
[Reader:  you mean to say that you've built it up over the last two days, slowly changing "Sandhill Crane" to "Anthill Mob" just so you could do that joke?  Well I'm not reading this shite anymore, that's it.  That was rubbish, I mean I don't even know who Dick Dastardly is]

So no Sandhill Crane or 'Playa del Tor el Cranio' as they're known in Spanish.

Northerly windiness meant seabirds would be the order of the day and so it proved.  Before I arrived 8 Poms and a single Long-tailed Skua had passed along with Black-throated Diver, a final count of 189 Red-throats, Balearic, Manx and Sooty Shearwaters amongst big numbers of  more common stuff.  I'd missed the best of it but I still recorded 15 Red Throated Diver, many Kittiwake, single Sooty Shearwater, many Gannets, Guillemot and 2 Arctic Skuas, one of which chased a Kittiwake for a tiny morsel of food for ages, probably about 4 hours.  The energy expelled chasing the Kitt must've far outweighed the nutritional value of the scrap of food itself.  They should stop it. Gulls do it too.  I was in Sainsbury's car park only yesterday when 2 Herring Gulls started chasing another Herring Gull with something in its bill.
I shouted to one of them "Oi, do you not realise that the energy expenditure obtaining the food item from the Gull will probably outweigh the nutritional value gained from said foodstuff, not to mention that probability suggests that you only have a 1 in 3 chance of being the Gull that actually eats the food, you fucking stupid bastard".
An elderly lady stopped me in my tracks.
"People like you are a disgrace" said the elderly grey-haired old angel.
"Oh, erm, sorry about my language but I simply mean well-being to the birds and was using forceful language as I feel strongly about it" I replied.
"Oh, I don't give two flying FUCKS about your language, sonny, I mean it's a disgrace that your mathematics aren't up to scratch.  I think that the statistical data you gave to the Gull might have been misleading as it is surely less than 1 in 3 due to the fact that the Gull who has the foodstuff in its mouth is a clear favourite to finally eat the food.  It has the chance at any time" she said.
Perhaps she was right.
The tiny frail bespectacled lady then took her teeth out, dropped to her knees and said "do you want me to gum it for you, sonny?"
I had no idea what she meant and simply left with some shopping.



Meanwhile......................



....................back at Spurn................


..........3 Stonechat, Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, Yellow Browed Warbler was a cracker as ever, Barnacle Goose along with a Pink-foot in the Triangle, a Merlin flew surprisingly high over Beacon Lane, and a Hawfinch finally showed very well just as I was heading back to the car.  Not a common visitor to Spurn may I add.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

It's on its way....

Fuck my old boots it's exciting!  The Sandhill Crane on South Ronaldsey flew south yesterday and was tracked for some 40 miles on the mainland by a couple of intrepid birders until they lost it just north of Inverness the useless bastards!  Only joking, they did a great job and lost it when it flew inland.  So of course everyone is now hoping it will get picked up again on its mini migration south and its route mapped along the coutry with birders set south of the last sighting to hopefully see it continue.  So far it has not been relocated, but the info I've read on Anthill Cranes suggest that they travel upto 300-500 miles in a day when migrating so that would place it still north of here by roost tonight.  It will then continue its southward journey at first light tomorrow, passing through Spurn at around 10:00a.m.  Easy.  First for Spurn.  First for Yorkshire. 


It's even coming in to land at the point the american bastard.
Please no hats tomorrow at Spurn as hats are not allowed at Spurn tomorrow.





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Sunday, 20 September 2009

Tophill Low

20th day of the ninth month.
2 American Wigeons had been reported at Tophill Low, scene of the excellent jam-in on Britain's first Amur Falcon last October which caused quite a stir as it wasn't identified until after its departure.  The regions birders very unfairly getting a bit of bad press for not IDing it initially.
What happened was the bird was firstly called as a Red-footed Falcon, rightly so at first. It wasn't until much later on in its stay that the diagnostic white underwing coverts started moulting in and was identifiable as the first Amur Falcon but perhaps by this time the leading birders in the area had already seen it or simply chose not to see it! Okay, the photos later on are incriminating, but I bumped into the guy who'd taken the clinching photos and he actually felt bad about it.  He hadn't really looked at his shots until sometime after, fair enough, then he uploaded them to Birdguides after which someone with a keen eye spotted the features.
"Fuck em" I said, "It's really not your fault".
A certain 'big name birder' had even e-mailed him berating him for the episode.
Hang on a minute.
Bear with me here.
The photos (and others) were posted on Birdguides and other places, yes?  Correct.  And I'm safe in saying that this well known birder would look at photos of birds on the internet, yes?  Particularly rare birds, agree?  Of course, everyone does.  So I'll put a pound to a penny that the very same birders who were complaining saw the pictures and simply passed it off as 'just another Red-foot'!!!!!  Exactly.  They've done exactly the same thing that the naughty local birders and photographers had done, passed it off as a Red-foot.  Understandable?  Yes!  It'd been a Red-foot for a good few weeks by then.  Imagine being a birder who does Tophill regularly.  Would you stop and scrutinise this Red-Foot every day?  The 10th day in a row you'd seen it?  If it were me that had seen it every day for 10 days I think I would take the time to look at it if I was passing and if it were showing well but that's maybe about it.  Am I right in saying that?  Maybe?
Well anyway, fuck off all of you that missed it and played up fuck that all Yorkshire birders fucked the ID up.  There are loads of proper really good birders around here.
Amur Falcon?  Yeah I've seen one in Britain. 

Ahem.

There were 3 Buzzards over the car park as I got out of the car.  One had a bit of a nice arse and was looking good in a pair of hotpants.
"Fuck me, have you seen that sexy one on the right?" I asked the five or six that were looking skyward with me.
"Erm......I think that one's a male.  You can see a bit of a packet at the front between its legs" a middle-aged gentleman pointed out. Shit.  On further scrutiny he was right, the one in the hotpants DID have quite a packing-up, certainly a lot bigger than the average Camel's Foot that you'd see on a female in hotpants.
I felt sick.
I'd been checking out a bloke Buzzard butt!  Jesus, I'm never gonna live this down!
But then again, who would expect a male Buzzard to be wearing hotpants?  Not me that's for sure!  Perhaps he gets on the other bus?  Either way, I was either eyeing up a homosexual male Buzzards arse or a straight male Buzzards arse, shit.

Shamed and embarrassed, I retired to North Lagoon hide and looked for the Yank Wigaons, alas, to no avail.  But I did wolf whistle out of the hide at a female Shoveler and shouted "get your tits out" at her to prove my manliness to those around me.




...............

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Alan

Spurn looked good for action today and I was proved.........wrong!  Not really it was quite good.
Pied Fly, Snow Bunt, Restart, 3 Willow Warblers, just the one Lesser Whitethroated Sylvia Warbler, Wigeon, loads of Meadow Pipits moving, loads on the deck, there were loads on the beaches, there were loads on the landing grounds, there were loads in the fields and in the streets, there were loads in the hills, we shall never surrender!  4+ Wheatear, a crazy Whinchat, a Greater 'Pecker, 18,463,003 Goldfinches, a Hobby shot across Walker Butts gained height and went south out to sea, but then half an hour later another Hobby came back north which was probably the same one u-turning, again going through low over the triangle scattering the local Starling flock.
A Starling shouted "incoming!" and they all drew their belongings together and flew off into the mid afternoon sky panicking and shitting as they went.

A Red-backed Shrike reported at Sammy's Point, Easington.  I was about to head off homeward anyway so called in on the way back.  A decent crowd was watching from the car park so no walk required and there it was right in front of us!  Easy this birding (twitching?) lark.
Hang on.  Just hang on there, people.
This is no Red-Backed fucking Shrike!
"Erm......it's a Woodchat" I said to the people next to me.
"Yes, did you not know?"
"Did I fuck, Mrs!".
It had been correctly identified as I was traveling.  A bit of a surprise.  Nice.  It was an immature and was really showy, proper good bird.

Had a wander along Sammy's while I was there.  Immediately, a Snow Bunting walked out in front of me, very confiding with views down to 5 metres when it was joined by a Wheatear which was very very confiding.  It literally walked up to my feet to catch a bug.  A few more Wheatears and a Redstart was about it.

This was taken on my mobile phone camera which is supposed to show you just how very, very confiding the Wheatear was.  You're not bothered?  Well fuck you then, I'm going to show you anyway:


Can't you even see it?  Well at least try to look for it.


Look, it's there.  Is that any better for you?
I can't believe I've even got to point things out to you
on top quality nature photographs such as these.



Beautiful action close up shot.
I named my new friend 'Alan' which I think is a terrific
name for a Wheatear.  I've actually hand reared Alan from birth
which is why he is so tame, but now is the time to release
Alan into the wild, look after yourself Alan........goodbye Alan......



................

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Todays report from Spurn Point:

15th Zebdember.  Yesterday saw a good day at Spurn (here) and today was also good in the end.  It started off slowly, it was quite hard work with everything sitting down in the wind.  Nothing at all in the first hour so a change of tactics was required.  I ended up going very slow and focusing around areas of sheltered sunshine out of the wind.  A slow walk along the sea path past the borrow pit produced 3 Wheatears,5 Skylark and a Whinchat amongst good numbers of M Pipits.  then a really slow walk around canal hedge produced Lesser Whitethroat, Goldcrest, 3 Snipe circled twice (horizontally not loop-the-loop) before going south, a Snow Bunting on canal scrape along with a Yellow Wag, 4 Dabchick, 14 Teal and a Wigeon.

A Red-breasted Flycatcherer was found in the Church and then showed quite nicely in the Crown car park. A Spotted Flycatchererer was in the field at the rear of the Crown, several Redstart along the peninsula, a Brambling, and a Sparrowhawk.  I'd checked the Gulls in the fields betwixt Easington and Kilnsea and found nothing out of the ordinary but there was a good finch flock building up mainly consisting of Greefinchii and Linnets with a couple of Yellowhammer strutting their stuff.

There.  What a very sensible, bird related post with no swearing and no attempts at jokes, just how it should be!  A bit boring though.



.........

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Boots

Today saw the start of the Clipper around-the-world-face (boat race) from Hull and there were many viewing places with entertainment all along the Humber from Hull to Spurn.  With crowds drawn from far afield, the parking was restricted meaning I had to park at the Crown and walk along the canal then south of the Warren to an assembled crowd looking for the Booted Warbler that had been present.

It was windy.  Fucking windy.  If I were a Booted Warbler in this weather I'd sit really low in the bushes and only fly in short bursts but only when I really needed to.  And funnily enough that's just what this Booted Warbler was doing, can't blame the little fella.
There it goes!
A 2 metre burst of flight and a really really shite view of a sandy-brown pale thing.  It actually could've been a party-sized sausage roll wrapped in a brown paper bag that someone had just thrown but I didn't care!  Year tick!  Woooah!  Hang on a minute there.  What the fuck does 'Party-sized' mean?  They're actually SMALLER than normal-sized sausage rolls!  How does that work?  Not much of a party.  If I were to call something 'party-sized' it would be because it was bigger and better than a normal sized something.  Party sized things should be brilliant and massive!
"Here, Mr Quigley, there's a PARTY SIZED bottle of champers for your massive birthday PARTY" and the guy hands me a big, fuck off magnum of Moet that's nearly as big as me and the party really kicks off with people all lauging, getting wrecked and fingering the girls.  Now that's what I call party sized!
So when one recieves a party sized sausage roll and it's just a mini, bite-sized one, am I the only person that's slightly disappointed?
That's not PARTY FUCKING SIZED you tight bastards, go get a big, fuck-off sausage roll and give THAT to the kids and say 'Now THAT'S a party sized sausage roll' and see their tiny faces light up at the enormous meat and pastry treat before them.

Erm....
A Pied Flycatcher was near the Warren and the sea looked like there was going to be huge numbers moving as Gannets were streaming past in the Northerlies.  Absolutely streaming past and 12 Common Scoter were fooishly trying to head north into the wind until I'm sure I heard the one at the front shout "Fuck this!" and they rather sensibly turned back south.


The Gannet movement was a new record for Spurn with some 3633 recorded going south.  Jesus Holy Mary Mother of God!  As ever, keep up-to-date with the full totals here and not just read about what I can or can't be bothered to tell you what was at Spurn.
Facking Cockerney Face innit.




............................

Monday, 31 August 2009

feed the ducks......

2 Booted Eagles, 10 Spotted Flys, 3 Greenfinch doing a piss etc.........

You get the picture.  I actually left the island on 29th August.
In summary for those of you that thought this was a trip report (yeah right!) I suppose I best tell you some details.  As you can gather, this was a family holiday and I'd only gone off within walking distance of the hotel, so the impression I've given you is not perhaps fair as there are a couple of good sites on the island (you can find these on proper trip reports).  But generally, Menorca is quite devoid of birds in areas where anywhere else in the Med you'd find stuff.  Found some great habitat but found not a lot amongst it basically, even the regular species, there just weren't any numbers whatsoever.  Agreed Johnny knuckles must take some of the blame I suppose.

I did see a few nice birds though.  Bikini-clad with shaved clams and everything.  There really was a lot of fanny around.  My advice is that you tell your missus you're off birding, grab your bins, find a beach, hide among rocks, view the blart on offer and try to pull it's head off.  Magic!

Blart.



...................

Sunday, 30 August 2009

erm......again........

2 Booted Eagles, 10 Spotted Flys, 3 Greenfinch doing a piss etc.........





............

erm.....

2 Booted Eagles, 10 Spotted Flys, 3 Greenfinch doing a piss etc.........



............

Saturday, 29 August 2009

not much again

2 Booted Eagles, 10 Spotted Flys, 3 Greenfinch doing a piss etc.........



............

Friday, 28 August 2009

Not a lot....

Fuck all.

Fuck off.



.............

Thursday, 27 August 2009

A billion?

I haven't mentioned beautiful seagulls yet so far on this supposed trip report because I've only seen the usual shite.  Yellow-legged, LBB, no Black Headed  though, Herring, the usual, but today an adult Audiououoins Gull came and virtually sat next to me.  Audiououiouiouuouoions Gulls seem to be doing well and an expansion in their range is very much happening (they're getting a bigger oven hahaahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahhahahahahahahhahahahahahaha that was a good joke) and records from Britain are on the increase since the first record only a few years ago.

3 Blue Rock Thrush, Booted Eagle and 48 thousand million Spotted Flycatchers padded the notebook out brilliantly, well not really.  There must be loads of flies on this island to attract all these bastards that's all I know.

For all the pedants out there, I'm aware that a thousand million is a billion but I suppose it depends on which part of the world you live in, so fuck off.  In America a billion is a million million, whereas in England a billion is a thousand million, whereas here in Menorca a billion is calculated on the amount of tourists multiplied by the amount of Burger Kings there are on the island, whereas in Ireland they calculate a billion by the amount of potatoes they can grow in one small garden in County Down, whereas in India they calculate a billion by the amount of people they can cram onto one single train, whereas in Germany.......................etc....



The football special from Hull when City were playing
Oxford away.  It was only a league game but we had to get there......




.............

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

.....a host of golden daffodils...

After yesterday's basic mocking of the island as a birding destination, I thought I best at least TRY to see something, I mean how can I knock it if I've not even tried?

Today's totals:
12+  Spotted Flycatchers

2 Tawny Pipits (Johnny Knuckles and one of his cronies)
2 Stonechat (balearic island race)
3 Thekla Lark (balearic island race)
40+ Gliding Swift
Greenfinch
Goldfinch
Kestrel
2 Booted Eagle (balearic island race)
Peregrine
Sardies................
That's about it.
Fuck me, a cloud!  A cloud in the sky!  I wandered lonely as a cloud.............Wordsworth was right cos this was the only one in the whole sky.  Lonely.  Can you tick clouds?  Are they a full species?  If you can, I'm ticking it.  If you can't, I'm ticking it, fuck it.  Additional to previous totals:

1 Adult Cloud.  High, drifted east.



The next day a whole flock of clouds went over our hotel.
I celebrated by pointing at them wildly, so others in the area
could also look at them.



.......................

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Rock me Amadeus

Nothing much at the moment, mainly due to me getting up late but 5 Bee-eaters weren't eating bees which is very odd.
3 Black Kite....yeah whatever
2 Kestrel.......yeah alright
2 Booted Eagle.......so what.....but
1 Eleonora's Falcon livened it up doing a non-spectacular aerial display only due to the fact that it wasn't spectacular.  After that lot had gone an Egyptian Vulture drifted across and the Eleonora's came back for another fly-past. They fly very distinctly don't they?  It confused me for a bit to be honest but once I'd got to grips with it the flight for me was the most obvious feature, not that I'd call a distant one at Spurn on flight alone I don't think.

Fuck me, it's hot. 

Menorca is not a mecca for birding I must say.  In fact there's not much about at all, generally.  Of the places I've been probably only Malta had less general birdlife, only because it gets blown out of the sky and barbecued.  Anyone seen the film The Maltese Falcon?  It doesn't last very long.
hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha that was good joke....

There's always something that spoils the view.
I'm that bored I can't stop myself from writing stupid things
across the pretty pictures that were meant for this very serious blog.




...................

Monday, 24 August 2009

Heron madness...

Strange goings-on today.  6 Black Kites were up together on the hillside.  Nothing strange there.  But then 10 Grey Heron flying along the cliffs was a bit odd.  They appeared to be lost, not really heading anywhere, just flying around a bit.  They went one way, then turned and flew straight out to sea! It was obvious they were going off the island due to Johnny Knuckles ruling with an iron fist.

The Gliding Swifts that were hawking yesterday had all moved on, again because of Johnny and nothing at all to do with their natural migratory instincts.  But then the most amazing thing happened (sarcasm).  The Herons came back and now there were 13 of them!  Amazing! (extreme sarcasm).  If anyone has any explanation to these extraordinary ornithological events then please e-mail me.  No, ring me cos I need to know now.  Right now.
Not really, it was just 13 Grey Herons and it's a bit boring bird-wise on the island so I'm exaggerating most things if you haven't already realised.



..........

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Thick heads and Knick Knees

Even though I was still drunken from the night before, an early morning balcony watch produced 2 fly-by Stone Curlews which proved to be the highlight of the day. Gliding Swifts were up in numbers and hawking like no tomorrow.  Upupa epops flew across the main road.................

.................It was then.................that a tall, upright Pipit's silhouette appeared on the horizon.
The dust plumed.....
Tumbleweed, erm, tumbled like, erm, weed......
Horses reared up as the town fell into silence at the sight of the mysterious stranger about to ride into town....
The music went off in the bar where the Black Kites hang out and drink Bourbon....
A hushed nervousness fell over the town.....
Who is this tall dark stranger........?

Johnny Knuckles rode into town on horseback, dust swirling, Larks ducking for cover, bar tenders closing the shutters, tumbleweed rolling through the now deserted main street as everyone now knew what everyone had been dreading:  this was now Johnny Knuckles' town.

Nobody messed with Johnny from now on.   If a Shrike got out of hand drunk in a bar, Johnny would be the first to know.  If a Hoopoe started a gunfight over a game of cards, Johnny would step in.  If the gang of Flycatchers started making Moonshine again, Johnny would be the first one pissed on it.

I asked the local bookie about the outcome of yesterday's fight.  "Johnny won in the 6th"
Get in!  A tenner at 8/1 is £80 plus my tenner stake back is 90 quid!  I'll have to send a bourbon over to Johnny later on in the bar.

I decided to get drunk again.  Hey hey, I succeeded!



..............

Saturday, 22 August 2009

B R Thrush

An amble early morn outside the hotel into some interesting looking scrubland produced the ubiquitous Sardinian Warbler, 5 of the fuckers calling at each other, 2 Tawny Pipits, one of which chased of a Thekla Lark and the Thekla Lark shit itself and went and got its Dad and elder brother.  By this time the Pipit had been joined by his mate, perhaps the baddest meanest pipit of them all.  This Tawny Pipit is not like your average Tawny Pipit.  This Tawny Pipit caught cattle with his bare hands, was the meanest shot in the West and of course chewed chewing tobacco.  He goes by the name of Johnny Knuckles. 
Clint Eastwood:  "I'm looking for a Pipit by the name of Johnny Knuckles. Johnny, peering from under the brim of his stetson from a darkened corner of the room, bourbon in his hand, says in his gravelly voice "that'll be me...."

The Thekla Larks fronted Johnny and the other Tawny Pipit (the pipit with no name), a no-mans land separating the parties until Daddy Thekla shouted "get the Pipit bastards" and a big squabble ensued but I couldn't tell who won which was disappointing cos I'd had a bet on Johnny Knuckles winning in the 6th at 8/1.

A Booted Eagle, up on high, a Kestrel, lots of Gliding Swifts, a Spotted Fly, a Woodchat, lots of Swallows up on high, a Robin and then something flew towards me.
Whenever I haven't seen a Blue Rock Thrush for a while they always confuse me for a second.  This one flew towards me, "Starling" I thought for a split second, "Blackbird" I thought in the next split second, then it landed and it did that little curtsey that they do to introduce themselves. "Ah, Blue Rock Thrush, nice to see you again little fella".
I know what you're thinking,
has he fired six shots or only five?
In all the excitement I kinda lost count myself.


............

Friday, 21 August 2009

Male people, killer whale (Men Orca)

There's bound to be some good stuff back in Blighty.............cos I'min Menorca!  Hey hey!  It's not a birding trip, simply a family holiday but I will get out early on whilst everyone's recovering from the copious amounts of beverages and the eating of various seafood morsals.

From the taxi betwixt airport and destination: 3 Black Kites.
From the balcony in my hotel room:
1 Kestrel, fanny-tastic views of 2 Egyptian Vultures, minge-busting views of 1 Booted Eagle and lab-mashing view-bags of 3 Pallid Swift.  I think Pallid Swift glide a lot in a jizz-camparison-type-thing-comparison compared to Common Swift. 

Gliding Swift I now call it.  Them.



...................

Monday, 3 August 2009

First for Planet Earth discovered

Inter-planetary vagrancy is discussed on the birding forums all the time. Non-stop, people can't get enough of it.  A Bare-faced Bulbul from Neptune (the first Planet Earth record) has been discovered in Laos, a country near Australia.  This has caused quite a stir amongst earthling birders according to a report a Neptunian tabloid newspaper 'The Sun' ( you see, Neptune has a star that it revolves around which they also call the "sun", a bit like here on Earth except that our Sun revolves around the Earth).

Bare-faced Bulbuls migrate from Neptune in early August, post-breeding, and undertake an intergalactic journey that takes.............well, given that the nearest galaxy to ours is some 100,000 light years away and if the Bulbul were to fly at light speed..............it would take at least 100,000 light years.  Puts our shitty Arctic Tern to shame.

Now it seems that the power's getting stronger every day, I feel the strength, an inner fire....start again.  Now it seems that after leaving Neptune's atmosphere (oh what an atmosphere, I love a party with a happy atmosphere) the bird was blown off course by westerly trade winds and Atlantic depressions just north of Jupiter and hitched a ride on a (space) ship to rest somewhere near Mars and fly ashore safely into a jungle in Laos.

I like to scare deaf people by yawning.
Russ Pipit (Pechora's brother)


...................

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

L Y'legs

'Lesser Yellowlegs, Paull Holme strays, 730am, near the first island after the steps, has done quite a few pisses' 'Tinternet stated.  It didn't give any detailsas to how the bird had pissed, either squatting down like a female or up against the reeds like a male but I planned on finding out this very vital information.

I walked the embankment to where the bird had been showing.  Fuck me, the tide's coming in fast.  Father-in-law had been fishing at Spurn previous day and had said the tide looked like the biggest of the year, so perhaps I should've checked the high tide times.  After a short while checking the waders in the area it became clear that really I should've checked the high tide times.  The tide was flooding the mudflats and quickly moving the remaining waders to pastures new either to continue feeding or to roost.  This other guy and I started the long walk back when, with the naked eye, "that's flying interesting........THAT'S FLYING INTERE....." said I about a wader that had flushed up from the weedy area.  We got on it. "That's it!" excellent.  It flew across just in front of us, with us viewing from just below the bird.  We followed it until lost to view far to the east of us.



.............

Monday, 27 July 2009

Spurn

I'd bought a sandwich.  A girl nearby was looking hungry, so I decided to give her a bit.  I took my meat out and popped it into her mouth.  She chewed on it.  She chewed it a bit more, not too hard though until she couldn't chew it any more and just swallowed the fat.  In the area were a couple of dykes, and with it raining, their crevices were very wet and overflowing.  The sides of the dyke's wet valleys were surrounded with bush which looked very interesting to me.  I decided to have a delve into the dykes bushes and give them a good pounding.  If I'd have waded straight in I would have to go through the wettest parts first, so I decided to leave these parts 'til last and entered from the rear, taking them from behind.  I moved over the contours of the dykes mounds and soon found myself moving lower, I peered at the lovely looking moist area in front of me.  A Reed Warbler was the only thing of note and how did Julian Clary make a full career out of shit double-entendre?



..........

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Pratincole

Pulfin and High Eske?  What?  Puffin and what?  I've never been there before, where is it?  It's near Beverley on the Hornsea road?  Oh, I'm with you.  I parked where I was told to park, I walked where I was told to walk, I looked where I was told to look, and a Collared Pratincole was where it was told to be.

It was just sat there, doing fuck all, bored out of its tiny mind, totally pissed off with the torrential rain that was drenching its balls.  And cock.  But what a walk to get there, for me, not the Pratincole which I presume flew there.  The nice lady who helped me with directions said, ten, fifteen minutes walk. It was fucking miles.  And wet.  But still, I've been complaining about the lack of quality birds around (it is July after all) when all of a sudden, BANG! one comes along all at once.
Eh?

Presumably this was the bird from West Yorkshire which was seen at Fairburn and Swillington Ings where it was joined by 3 Whiskered Terns!  Nice.

It's been a good couple of months for Pratincoles in Britain, with a reported Collared (with white trailing-edge to the wing) being re-identified as an Oriental, a Black-winged being a longish stayer in Norfolk plus what was probably todays bird being seen at several sites around the country.  I think at one point all three species were present in England on the same day.



............

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Wind up

I do wind Nicola up.  There's a flyover in Gipsyville (a locale in the west of Hull) from where there is a factory roof viewable and this roof plays host to many gulls, usually with the sun at your back so in great light to photograph the many Gulls there including lots of Lesser Black-backs.

Drivingover the flyover with definate non-birding girlfriend, Nicola, I stated that the roof was indeed good for Lesser Black-backs.  We saw some. Lots.  I asked her if she'd ever sworn at a Lesser Black-back Gull.
"What you on about?" she replied.
"It's a simple question, have you ever sworn at a Lesser Black-backed Gull like called one a bastard or other?"
"No" she replied.
"Why not?"  I asked.
"I don't know what one looks like".
"So that implies that you MIGHT have sworn at one before but you didn't know it was one?" I continued to press.
"Suppose so." she said started to get rattled.
"So you may have sworn at one and not known it?"
"NO!"
"How do you know you haven't?"
"I just haven't, alright?" she said.
"Let me put it another way.  Have you ever had reason to swear at a Lesser Black-backed Gull?"
"No, I have never had reason to swear at a Lesser Black-backed Gull". she said.
"That's fine then, why didn't you just say that?"

So there you have it, Nicola has never sworn at a Lesser Black-backed Gull because she's 'never had reason to'.Fair enough, I only asked.

At that point I shouted out of the window and called one a cunt much to my hilarity and much to her disdain.



................

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Rejections.

Can anyone tell me why the Mottled Swift from October 88 was rejected by the BBRC?  It was seen (therefore identified) in Norfolk the day before being seen at Spurn for 3 or 4 days on and off, therefore independent observers from both Norfolk and Spurn had seen and identified this bird and, with the 'grapevine' absolutely nowhere near what it is today, I would suggest that the Spurn observers didn't even know that one had been seen the day previous, I certainly didn't know.

Amongst the observers at Spurn was a guy who had just returned from south of the sahara and enjoyed masses of experience of this species there.  He was sure it was this species.  The rest of the observers there were also confident.  I didn't have a clue!  I'd not even heard of it!  I take it it was rejected on ID grounds?  I understand firsts for Britain (and indeed the Western Palearctic) have to be very well described and documented but I'm sure this was very well described and documented.  I find this hard to take. I'm still not sleeping at night.  This is the one and only reason I drink just to at least TRY and help me sleep.
And the Demoiselle Crane.
Fucking Wankers, there I said it.



................

Monday, 6 July 2009

uPVC windows and Carpentry

Fitting windows (working), the customer lent me a radio as I had left mine on another job.  It was tuned to Radio 2 soI left it there, might as well.  During the day, up popped Karen Carpenter singing "....you're so vain, you probably think this song is about you......." to which I realised that it fucking IS!  It is about whoever she's singing about, so what is she on about?  "You're so vain".......she's having a pop at him (I'm presuming that the subject is male) about being vain for thinking that the song is about him!  It is, otherwise why is she singing it?  So by that rationale, he's not really vain for thinking that the song is about him because it is about him, so he's done nothing wrong.  Follow?  Or Kylie Simon or whoever it was.

At this point I changed the station in furious anger and listened to something hip, dude!

Actually, it's not much of a song if our Kylie started singing sense "you're not vain, because you're correct in thinking that this song is about you......." is not quite as catchy.  Sorry Kylie, perhaps you were simply utilising artistic license and I shouldn't be as pedantic in future when listening to lyrics from top tunes like the fucker you came up with.

Karen and Mr Carpentry



......................

Thursday, 2 July 2009

McPipit

Went to Spurn, I thought the wader numbers may have started to build upon the Humber.  The wader numbers had started to build up on the Humber.  Here are the numbers, but to make this shit at least a little bit interesting (for me, not you) below is a GRID! that simplifies the numbers into a phrase making it easier to read e.g. 'mega' = 1 bird seen, and 'shit common' = around 400 seen.  Get it?  Yes I know it's pointless and a bit shit but stay with it during these birdless summer months.

The GRID! :

Made up                   =  0 birds
Mega                        =  1 bird
Rare bastard             =  2-10 birds
Getting bored            =  11-50 birds
Fucking really bored  =  51-100
Not worth a shite       =  100-300 birds
Shit common             =  about 400

Knot                                -  shit common
Dunlin                              -  fucking really bored
Black-tailed Godwit         -  rare bastard
Yellow Warbler                -  made up
Redshank                         -  getting bored
Ringed Plover                   -  rare bastard
Herring Gull (not a wader) -  rare bastard
BH Gull (not a wader)       -  getting bored
Grey Plover                      -  made up
Curlew                             -  getting bored
Oystercatcher                   -  rare bastard

After cross-referencing the sightings with the GRID! you can clearly see that Grey Plover were unusually low in number (0) and today were just as common as Yellow Warbler (0) whereas Redshank were quite numerous (11-50).

I've read that back to myself and have decided to delete it cos it's all bollocks.
Hang on, if I delete it and re-write it you'll never know that I wrote that originally (we don't care I hear you cry) so I'll leave it in but at this point you need to pretend that I've deleted it.  Got it?  Right, start again.....

Went to Spurn, I thought the wader numbers may have started to build upon the Humber. The wader numbers had started to build up on the Humber. Here are the numbers:

Knot -  around 400
Dunlin -  60+
Black-tailed Godwit - 6

Yellow Warbler - 0
Redshank - 30+
Ringed Plover - 7
Herring Gull (not a wader) - 8
BH Gull (not a wader) - 18
Grey Plover - 0
Curlew - 15+
Oystercatcher -  4

Surprisingly no Grey Plover or Yellow Warbler.
Don't know which version is the best really.

On the way hometh, a dead bird on the road looked like a Cuckoo which finally led me to start thinking of other onomatopaeic like the Cuckoo, apart from the one on the road cos it was never going to "Cuck-oo" again I'm afraid.

Chiffchaff, there's one....erm....Peewit.......Curlew............erm....Kittiwake?  Is that one?  Erm....Yellowhammer, no that's something else about bread and cheese.  Hoopoe?
Pechora Pipit?  No, that's just being stupid.
But it would be a laugh if a Pechora Pipit really was onomatopaeic though and did call it's name......."Pechora Pipit......Pechora Pipit....." as it flew over an east coast headland.  I then reckoned that the call would be in a broad Scottish accent!  Don't know why.  Imagine it "Pechora Pipit.......Pechora Pipit.......fuckin bastad......Pechora pipit.........."

Barry Spence, former Warden of Spurn and former club owner, walks upto me near the gate.
"Barry, I've just had a Red-throated Pipit fly south", said I.
"Did it call?"
"Yes, Barry it did!"
"Can you describe the call?" asked Barry.
"Well it sort of sounded like, erm, Pechurrra Peeepit...."
"Ah, did it have a Scottish accent as well?" asked Bazza again.
"Actually, yes it did".
"Well, I think it was a Pechora Pipit to be honest, Red-throated Pipits call like this ' red-throaaaaaaaaaaated Pipeeeet' with a Scandinavian accent.  You'll need to fill in a submissions form and send it in"  Big Baz informed me.

Barry then did the strangest thing.  He turned and started skipping away down the road towards the Bluebell!  He just started skipping down the road!  Mad!  He didn't stop.He had to hold onto his glasses at one point he was skipping so furiously.  By now I had to follow him with my binoculars as he headed off up Beacon Lane and he skipped and skipped until he disappeared over the brow of the hill towards Beacon Ponds. 

What had got into Barry?

Had his head gone over my poor identification skills of ononatopaeic vagrant pipits that even give their identity away by calling their own name in broad Scottish accents?

I suppose we'll never know........

Whatha furk are yee looooken at?



...........

Monday, 29 June 2009

Very Important post....

Absolutely fuck all to tell you.  So fuck right off.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Father's Day

Father's Day.  The only day of the year when I'm allowed to do whatever I'd like to do due to being ruled by the iron fist of a female (Nicola)!  Not really, I wear the fucking trousers and I hope she doesn't read this or she'll kill me.

A Spotted Sand was found yesterday at North Cave Wetlands but being afternoon on a Saturday meant I'd already started on the lager flavoured drinks and couldn't drive.  Nicola can't drive and Ruby is only 22 months but can drive but sadly only her miniature pink car. I thought about this as an option but decided against it.  We'll go tomorrow.

Off we go, nicola and small child in tow.  The plan was simple: Spot Spot Sand Off Pop Pub (SSSOPP) for dinner and more lager drinks.The Sandpiper was a full adult spotty bastard but decided to fuck off high and south 10 minutes before I arrived. Bah!

I pondered it's journey here.  It's plumage and timing maybe suggests a non-breeding adult that surely must have arrived last Autumn, gone north, couldn't find a mate so fucked off south early in the year, passing through North Cave for a brief refuelling stop.

We went nearby for small child to have a wander around in the fresh air so I took them strategically just down the road where you can see the local Red Kites.  Very good.  Then went to pub for luncheon, alas, the fucker was ABSOLUTELY SHUT!  Shit.  We simply went home and masticated.  Which is very different to wanking.



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Friday, 12 June 2009

Bittern-tastic

Went back to Far Ings to see if the regular Bitterns had started giving regular flight views due to them regularly feeding their newly hatched offspring regularly.  They hadn't but after 2 minutes of sitting in the hide, a Bittern flew across right in front of the hide!  Fuck me, a Bittern!
Now, embarassingly, and you will automatically think "tart's tick" or "kid lister" after this next statement but I don't care.

Bittern is a lifer for me!

Truely truely shocking.  When people talk of bogey birds then this is mine, I've been to Far Ings many many times and other places that hold Bittern but never once connected.  I suppose I've never really set out with the direct intention of definately seeing a Bittern at a certain site at a certain time of the year which I could've done, so please don't e-mail me with sites and times where I would've seen one ages ago:

'Dear Q,  You should've gone to Potteric Carr on June 4th at around 7am, they always show then every year.  Hope this helps, Ian Black'. or

'Gillian and I were dogging at the A148 lay-by the other day when just as Gillian was clasping her tongue 'round a strangers ballbag, a Bittern emerged from the grass verge, much to our surprise!  Oh how we laughed at the comical sight of Gillian watching a rare Bittern with a ballbag in her mouth! Yours sincerely, Alan and Gillian Minge'



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Sunday, 7 June 2009

Time Machines

Now this is profound. Or maybe just a load of shite, I can't decide.
Science Fiction (Hi-fi) has always had "time machines" prominent in some stories.  I lay here, before you, proof that there will never be a time machine in the future!

If in 10,000 years time they'd finally cracked it and made a time machine that can drop in and out of space/time then WE'D ALREADY KNOW ABOUT IT!!  Think about it, someone would have definitely visited our time or our known history by now.  Most people go to work to earn money apart from maybe Mr John Hippy who cares not about money but only longs for world peace and a greener planet.  So most people are 'driven' by monetary needs, rightly or wrongly, agreed?  Okay, where was I?
Oh yeah, so if someone who is money driven and business-like owns one of these time machines, it's not hard to make money from going back to the past with prior knowledge of the future.  Get it?

If it were me, then I'd probably go back in time with sports results and bet on them, ala the sport's almanac in Back to the Future or even go video the birth of Christ, (whoever he or she may be) bang it onto thousands of DVDs and have an army of Chinese people selling them on industrial estates.  But if I had've done that, then someone else would've seen the money made and also gone and filmed the birth of Christ (alongside me) but then sold the DVDs a year earlier leaving me with thousands of DVDs that everyone's already seen and thousands of Chinese workers wanting their wages!
Then another businessman would pre-date the next business man, then another would sell his DVDs before him and Bethlehem would, in the end, be overrun with photographers and camera men! No wonder there was no room at the Inn!  It would end up in people having to sell their DVDs so early in history that they'd have to go back in time to video the birth, then have to go back BEFORE the birth to be able to sell their DVDs!  I then reckon the Virgin Mary would get hold of a copy of her future birth and think "fuck that, I'm not having the son of god there in front of all those cameras" and fuck off to give birth on the outskirts of Nazereth at one of her mates houses and the stable in Bethlehem would be surrounded with 1000's of cameramen and the Virgin Mary doesn't even show up!  The three wise men are pissed of, they've come a long way for this, but the Inn keeper's never had it so good and puts a quiz night on with free chips at half time!

I digress.

There would be guided tours from the future to see 9/11 as it happened and millions of future Hull City fans would swamp Wembley to see Dean Windass score the winning volley that put us up into the Premiership with tickets selling for millions of pounds because of future inflation and apocalyptic oil wars devaluing the pound and rendering it that a million pounds is merely a day's wage in 9625AD.
The Do-do would've been saved due to future hippies going back and preserving and breeding specimens and generally the course of history would be already changed and the huge number of different time-lines would not simply be able to co-exist, therefore heralding the collapse of the space/time continuum.

So there you have it, direct argument as to why there will never be a "time machine".
(note to the omnipresent Webmaster in the sky:  please upgrade my web status tags from 'birding nerd' to 'basic philosophy'.  Please.)



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Saturday, 6 June 2009

Coal Tits!

Whilst banging our lass from behind with my enormous penis for fucking hours and hours, I glanced out of the bedroom window. 
"Tits!"  I exclaimed.
There were Coal Tits hovering at the window trying to feed on tiny insect matter beneath the guttering.They then flew into the front garden.  Amazing.  Here's the final totals: Coal Tit..........2.

Who gives a fuck about this shite?  Does anyone read it?  Can you please let me know if you read it.
I wonder if any celebrities read it? Celebrities are allowed on the internet aren't they?  I wonder which celebrities follow the s(h)ite?

I've looked into it.  Apparently Snoop Dogg is a regular as well as the likes of Normski, J-Lo, Keith Chegwin and Wicksy off Eastenders.
If you are a top celeb and read this drivel please e-mail me to let me know.

I know what's going to happen now. All you normal non-celebs are gonna go on hotmail and set up bogus accounts to e-mail me from for a laugh.  I'll be getting fantastical e-mails from the likes of micheal.jackson@hotmail.com or sheena.easton@hotmail.co.uk saying she wants to meet me to find out if the first sentence of this post is really true.



It might be, Sheena...............


it just..........


might.............


be.



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Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Cream Crackers

How many cream crackers do you think you can eat in a minute without a drink?  5?  6 maybe?
Next time you have friends 'round entertain them no end by trying it.  It'll be the best party you've ever thrown! Or not.

Come on, how many do you reckon really?  6?  Fuck off no way, it's hard as fuck, you'll struggle to eat ONE! I bet you're all of to the kitchen now to try it! We used to do it when we were 15 at cider parties.
4 Swifts.

Cockerney rhyming slang.




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Monday, 25 May 2009

Hawking........

Barton.  Over the Humber Bridge.  Far Ings Nature Reserve to be precise.  We used to go here on bike in our younger days and saw such megas as Smew, Water Rail and even Long-tailed Tit. 
I mock.

In all seriousness this reserve has improved no end, with so much work and development going on that a few years ago it was given the title "National Nature Reserve".  Pretty good.

I came across this guy who I think is the warden.  I don't know why but I decided sub-conciously to speak to him in a highly exaggerated American accent!  No, I'm not sure why either. The short converation went something like this:

Yankee Me:  Well Hi there, man.
Warden:  Oh, hello.
Me: "Are the fucking Bitterns feeding their liddle babies yet man, giving up regular flight views?
Warden:  "Erm....not quite yet, the wet winter has set them back a few weeks but it should be soon, hopefully.
Me: Woooooaaaaah, that sure sounds like fun right there man.
Warden: erm..............yes.....
Me (starting to really go over the top): fucking hell man, I'd really like to see one of those fuckers right there in the flesh, d'ya know what I'm saying there man?
Warden: erm..................
Me:  Okay Dude, now you take fucking care there man and have a simply great day, y'all.
Warden:  Erm....okay....erm thanks.

Bittern now breed and are evidence indeed that this species is currently thriving, booming perhaps.

On the lake, 6 drake Pochard and a lone female looked to be making an adult movie (it's always several guys and a single woman, why is that?) 'some' Tufted Duck (official count) pair of Shoveler, coots everywhere, 3 GC Grebe, including one with a massive cock, 1 Dabchick, and a Ruddy Duck.  Apparently no one likes Ruddy Ducks any more. Why is that?

Fuck me!  2 Mute Swans!  I never saw them on my first sweep of the lake, how the fuck do you miss 2 fucking Mute Swans unless you're rubbish. I'm rubbish.  Now there's another pair of Shoveler, and a Gadwall.  7 Shelduck flying west. Avocet just flew across the lake.  Fucking hell's teeth!  Now TWO Ruddy Duck - making a pair but you don't get anything for a pair.  Swifts a-plenty. Fucking loads.  I'm not going to count them cos you really aren't bothered.  Let's face it, if I said "56 Swifts" or "239 Swifts" you wouldn't really give two flying fucks about either figure so why should I count the fuckers?

Right, I'm gonna wander 'round to the next hide.......hang on, what's that?............Adult Hobby!  Gave good views, a bit of hawking* then off like fuck never to be seen again. 

There's been a Cetti's singing here for a while now, but it's windy as fuck so no chance of that.



* the word "hawking" has several meanings.  One of which means to sell things, particularly door-to-door.  Another is to break wind through one's arsehole.  And that's true that.
So fuck off.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Local Twitching

Big floppy donkey cocks. How's THAT for a start?

Sat around for the morning, took small child to the park, then sat around waiting for other half to come home from work. Checking on 'tinternet throughout the day gave me the following information: 'Click here to see big Suzie take a load in her face and tits' but even more relevant to this web log diary log blog was this: 'Melodious Warbler, Spurn, in triangle, view from canal. Also Marsh Warbler, Beacon Lane'. Nicola came home to catch the end of Big Suzie's fantastic act and for me to say "I'm off to Spurn. Are you coming for a ride out with small child?"
She declined (bah) so off I set singularily (eh?) hairtailing it (what?) to Spurn (heh).

From the canal almost a flaming hour went by when the Melodious 'suddenly' showed (can a bird NOT 'suddenly' show? As soon as it appears it must be 'sudden' surely?) Only the third record for Spurn and a stunning bright-fucking-yellow-canary-singing-bastard-yellow-fucking-male as well. Smart as fuck. I had only taken binocular-style viewing aids as my telescopic-style viewing aid is out of action. After I'd put the nice couple next to me onto the bird, they allowed me scopic views via their scope. Very nice. Off to Beacon Lane.

On arrival up Beacon Lane there were four blokes in a semi-circle staring directly into and surrounding a single bush. On the other side were another four blokes in a semi-circle staring directly into and surrounding the same single bush. From this single, stared-at, surrounded bush came the dulcet sounds of a Marsh Warbler a-warbling it's tiny heart out.

I think we get the picture as to the Warbler's whereabouts!

"Erm, anyone know where it is?" I asked!!
"It's just in there" whispered a gent and pointed to the single, stared-at, surrounded bush. Irony was lost on this man.

It wasn't showing. Arseface. I was about 3 metres from the lonely bush, I recorded it on my mobile phone just as a video, played it back as loud as it would let me (not very loud), the Marshy approached the phone, I saw it briefly literally within touching distance until it must've realised it was just a Nokia and not a rival male Marshy singing away and proceeded to fuck of in disgust to the next bush. The 8 gents then moved and surrounded it again and stared at the bush. Triumphant, I turned and walked of into the sunset, with a cowboy sort of strut on.

Now then!  Breaking news! Fucking Terek fucking Sandpiper at Patrington fucking Haven fucking fucking fuck.!
6 miles from where I was. "Sound" said I in a Stones Roses Madchester late 80's Happy Mondays stylee.
The road out of Spurn was like Whacky Races with me in overall lead and the Anthill mob somewhere around 6th. One problem, I didn't know EXACTLY where Patrington Haven was! Very poor local knowledge. I went past the caravan site......they're still following..............carried on a bit towards the Humber...they're still following............that must be good otherwise some of them would've stopped. Hang on, I'm sure this is too far......I slowed down. Stopped. All the other cars either stopped or turned 'round or carried on and turned 'round and Penelope Pitstop was fucking fuming, she flashed her minge at me as she flew and shouted "You're a stupid one of these".  Charming.
It wasn't my fucking fault. I'd only carried on because the cars behind carried on, if you know what I mean. But they were following me because they didn't know where it was! Oh fuck it.

We arrived at the site. A really long, long, long, long, sweltering long walk to the bird (half a mile) gave distant views again through a borrowed scope. Couldn't see a cock on it and it had a cracking pair of tits so I aged it as a late-teens female. Not sure how many Tereks there's been in East Yorks but I can't remember many. Anyone know? Let me know Thanks. Great.

Can't fucking wait.

Good day out, went home and got fucking wrecked on lager and strong cider and started getting my cock out to passers-by in the front window.

Sadly, just a normal night...................



Terek Sand Patrington Haven

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Friday, 22 May 2009

Subalp Anniversary

I think 21 years ago today was, at the time, regarded as our greatest days birding ('88, but it might have been '89).  A Subalpine Warbler had been found in Little Hedge and was proving quite elusive and regular birding companions Ben, Steve Mulligan and a few others had been led a merry dance for good views until it was trapped and ringed.  In-the-hand views of a female.  Excellent.  Previous to this we'd been wandering past the obs when Barry came out to stop us and show us a Red-breasted Flycather he'd just trapped at the Warren.  Us being young and still learning he pointed out the tail pattern.
"There, look at the white tear-drops on the tail" said Barry as he fanned it's tail for us.
"Oh yeah" said Ben.
"Cheers Barry" said I.

Kentish Plover off the narrows followed by another in-the-hand view, this time of a Grasshopper Warbler.
PLus good numbers of more common stuff.
Great days as a 14 year-old.



Back to today.  Spurn.
Early morning visual migration watching at Spurn from first light just south of the Warren.  Most of the regulars now stand at the top end of Clubley's which affords wide ranging views across the area.  Years ago, we stood at the Narrows but today I decided on New Road on a dune.  Alone.

Hirundines moving had been the order of the week so far, with red-arsed hirundines passing through on three out of four days.Where I was stood along the peninsular (anag: 'lunar penis' which means moon cock) is very narrow so all birds filtering through were passing close to me making bi-nocular action irrelevant which was good because the were streaming through very fast.  No red-arsed hirundine passed me but good numbers of other stuff did.

06:30 - 08:00 every fucking thing south unless otherwise stated:
129 Swallow
96 House Martin
6 Sand Martin
10 Swift
11 Jackdaw
7 Carrion Crow
4 Mipits
12 Goldfinch
2 Chaffinch
1 Greenfinch
11 Linnet
3 Kestrel
2 Tufted Duckies out east
1 Grey Footballers Wives and Girlfriend
24 Woodpigeon
4 Collard Dove
1 Blue-cheeked Bee-eater
12 LBB Gull
5 BH Gull

Really though, a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater was seen flying north-west over a town in Holland the day before, to which I reckoned it may continue on that path, make landfall somewhere north of Spurn sometime last night, then relocate south this morning passing through Spurn at 7:23am to my calculations and to my fucking brilliant amazement................IT DID!!  Brilliant!

Did it fuck, but it was worth a go.

Went to Easington for an Iccy from yesterday.  No Iccy but I did see a small, dead shark in the middle of the road which on closer inspection turned out to be some large, funny-shaped horse shit.
From a horses hairy arsehole.


Subalpine Warbler, 22nd May (maybe) 1988 (or 89)





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