Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Fairburn Ings

I'm busy as fuck all next week then I'm off in for an operation and will be off my feet for 6 weeks so this was really the last chance to get out and about.  I went to Fairburn Ings for a change.  Things are quiet at Spurn and there's a wide range habitat here so I thought I'd try it.
Shouldn't have.

Fog, fog, fog, a walk around the visitors centre produced nothing.
Fog, fog, fog, a walk around Lin Dyke to look for the roosting Long-eared Owl produced nothing.
Fog, fog, fog, back to the visitors centre for a coffee when a Kingfisher flew right in front of my very eyes and appeared to go into a hedge!  A Kingfisher?  In a fucking hedge?  Well it wasn't a big, green, sculptured, bushy hedge in someone's garden.  More of a straggly little sort of hedge, but it's still a hedge.  Strange.
Later on a Green Woodpecker flew across the hide in the fog, fog, fog and old Professor Yaffle returned to his place as an old, wooden bookend, in the shape of a woodpecker..........but Emily loved him.

Ya yha yha ya yah.


Sunday, 17 January 2010


Went to the local cemetery and noticed that it really is very low on wildlife in general.  Small child comes with me to see the squirrels and that.  They're all dead.  The cold snap has something to say for there being only 3 Greenfinch, 2 Blackbird (!), and 1 Squirrel.  No Coal Tits.  No Goldcrest.  No Song Thrush.  No future.  Just a pile of dead birds, starved by cruel mother nature.  Apparently, I can't even tick dead things.  There was a dead Brambling, 42 dead Siskins, a dead Nightjar, and 5 dead Pine Grosbeaks. All valuable year ticks, who makes the rules that I can't tick them?  I might do.

Really though, it was devoid of wildlife.  A sure sign that the weather had a big impact on local birdlife.  And squirrels.  Well, the ones that weren't hibernating.  And rats. 

A squirrel looking very sinister.


Thursday, 14 January 2010


A Black-Throated Thrush in North Yorkshire has been photographed by a......erm.....photographer!  What I mean is, he's not a birder, he just takes photos.  Anyway, he'd posted some photos of said bird on his/a website and a birder had viewed them and realised what it was!  It's in the blokes front garden so I think that's why proper directions and access was slow in being released.  A couple of days later and it was all sorted, maybe someone had spoken to the residents to see if it was okay to do so.  Either way, 'respect residents privacy' was added to any news relating to the bird.

A drive upto near Whitby and a Black-Throated Thrush was duly logged.  It showed facking brilliantly in front of the masses of twitchers (7) who were totally not respecting the resident's privacy.  One of them even walked straight into a blokes front room to get even better views, and caught him knocking one out over Lorraine Kelly on morning telly, then got his beige carpet filthy because of his big daft birding boots.

Our Siberian visitor cared not about the human presence, showing down to 43mm at one point and will surely be caught and buggered by one of the many local cats in the area.  The gorget around the throat was quite diffuse on this female with a nice creamy wash on the underparts and undertail coverts which contrasted with the quite dark vent (anus).  From behind (and only from behind) it seemed to have a pale wing panel at the base of the primaries but I'm fucking mental when it comes to these things so this might not be true  But it did.  She fed on apples right in front of our eyes and she clearly liked the male attention, saucy cow.  A male Bullfinch then smashed its way onto the yearlist as did a crazy Turnstone in Scarborough harbour when I was looking for white-wing gulls.

I now have a yearlist that includes Siberian Rare Black-Throated Thrush but no Linnet.  I am shit.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Spurn Malarkey

Get in there!  A new record count today, really pleased.  Can't fucking believe it.  At Spurn, the canal scrape held a personal record count of some 34 Mallards!  Brilliant!  Worth coming.  Saying that, it's only a record count because I've never once actually counted Mallards before, nor have I ever felt the need to count fucking Mallards or have I ever wanted to count fucking Mallards.

I think the fact that I counted Mallards sums up the day at bleak mid-winter freeze your bollocks off (or flaps, I'm not sexist) grim raining Spurn Point. 

Pissing down, freezing, I did some birding from the car.  The year ticks started flying in.  Kapow, Grey Heron!  Bang, Black-Tailed Godwit!  He shoots, he scores Ringed Plover!  He's got a foot like a traction engine, Shelduck!  Twat, Knot, eat my goal!

I parked overlooking the Humber.  I knew it was there, I just chose to ignore it! That was a good joke.  Overlooking?  Get it?  No?  Alright it was shit then.  Good numbers of Black-wit, very good numbers.  Didn't count them though.

Went in the canal scrape hide again (it is dry inside) which was brilliant if you like Mallard (34), quite good if you like Redshank (1) and utter shite if you like Semi-Ps (none).  2 Snipe flew into Walker Butts and the Mute Swans were of course silent (that was another good joke).

Driving home past the Crown, I noticed a party of 10-15 passerines flying along the beach.  Snow Buntings!  Tick-fest!  Gonna check them for a Horned Lark or summat.  Pulled up, straight out of the car, no fucking sign.  Anywhere.  Walked up the canal. No sign.  Walked towards Sammy's in case they double-backed.  Double-backed?  Doubled back even.  No sign.  Bastards did it on purpose. Year tick though!  That puts me through the 'magical' 70 barrier.  74 in fact but still no Linnet, beginning to worry about that one.  Does anyone have a local site for them?  Many thanks in anticipation. 


Thursday, 7 January 2010

East Park Shananigans

Weather.  More weather.  And it's not good weather.  i.e. it's bad weather.  Icy cold snowy weather in fact.  Tried East Park in Hull as there's sometimes a little displacement of stuff when the weather's appalling.
Last year the lake held a few Goosander and a Red-Crested Pochard which was the wildest bird I'd ever seen.  It would snarl and growl if you tried to go near it's bread.  So definitely of wild origin.  Sadly, none of the above were present today and most of the lake was frozen with only a fucking Pochard, a bastard Shoveler, a twat of a Mallard and.....erm.....that cunt the Mute Swan.

A walk through the trees produced two species that literally flew onto the list:
Greater-Spotted Woodpecker and Long-tailed Tit taking the mega year list to a mega 61!
At this stage of the year I think that 61 species on the 7th January must be a British record.  Definitely.  I was going to say world record but that would've been stupid, I mean, there must be someone in Brazil or somewhere that must be on about 80-odd at least.

Pochard (drake)

But don't go flying down there looking for the 'Pochard'.


Wednesday, 6 January 2010


January, sick and tired you've been hanging round me, you make me sad with your eyes, I added a massive blocker to my yearlist today.  Redwing!  I was beginning to panic on that one.  I woke up in the black of night two nights ago and all I could think was "Where the fuck am I going to see one of them bastards?"
Then five just flew over the street where I was working.
Get in!  59.

It must be about 15 years since I've done a year list, so for me to decide to do one now is a bit odd.  Anyway, I'm now starting to worry about species like Black Throated Loon and Marsh Tit.  Strange isn't it?  I NEED a site local for Marsh Tit.
I can't even sleep at night.


Monday, 4 January 2010

Year ticking

With most people back at work it was time to get out there intrepid into the field year-ticking.  Sort of.  Actually I have thought about doing a year list, but I know it won't be a very good one due to time/cost constraints.  I'll do a little one then.

To Far Ings.  Had a circumpolar walk around the perimeter of the reserve, not a lot apart from a Woodcock flushed from the path.  Into Ness hide.  Put up the shutter, quick scan with naked eyeballs, "shit, the lake's frozen over, nothing on it what-so-fucking-ever......Hey, what's that..........it's a Bittern!"  Sat right in the open, bill in the air, just in front of me, it was obviously aware of my movements.  It looked around for a bit, eye-balles me, then flew off over the lake.  Then another one walked out but much more distantly.
Five minutes, 2 Bitterns plus a Woodcock, good start.
Then it kicked off massively!  And I mean fucking massive year-tick tastic!
Another Bittern flew across further around the reserve, Water Railshowed really well, then Willow Tit, then a Buzzard went north, then Sparrowhawk was mega mega then a Goldeneyed Duck, then a lovely smashing super great drake Smew, let's have a look what you could've won, oh it's a speedboat.
So, a Smew, a white nun.  Ace.

Two nuns are driving down a road late at night when a vampire jumps onto the bonnet.  The nun who is driving says to the other, "Quick! Show him your cross."  So the other nun leans out of the window and shouts, "Get off our fucking car!"
Not bad.

Hang on, I've thought of another.

Mother Superior in the bath.  Sister calls "Mother Superior, there's a blind man here to see you".
Mother Superior replies "Okay, if he's blind let him in, it's fine"
Blind man walks in and says "Nice tits, where do you want the blinds?"
Old that one.  Really old.

In summary, a good start to the massive 'big one' year list.  58!  Fuck me, that's huge.  Might go to Spurn this week but fuck my old boots it's cold.

There is the Bittern.  Very close.  Photograph taken
with a Nokia N95 without 500mm lens.  If anyone wants a print
of the above "amazing" photo, please e-mail me and I'll send
you one without the arrow on. 
I've even put a copyright thing across it so nobody lifts it
off, prints it out and enters it in a wildlife photography competition.