Saturday, 4 September 2010

Round up II

Blog flagging.  No time to do birding updates.  The celebration that is/was the 100th post got in the way also.  So here's what I've been doing on the birding front, with an 'amazing' 7 posts-in-one for your delectation:

16th August

After yesterday's antics of Citrine Wag, RB Shrike, Iccy and the like, todays antics at Spurn were a bit quiet in comparison.  No Citrine of course (I'd come to see it, so of course it wasn't going to be here) and raging northerly winds were keeping all the passeriniformes very low.  A couple of Willow, a Wheatear, a couple of...wait for it....Whinchat and a tine young bald Blue Tit were the best of the bushes!  A Green Sand, juv Blackwit, Snipe, Grey Heron and 4 Little Egret on canal scrape.
Over the sea, 45 Gannet went north and 2 Arctic Skua went south in 'only' an hour.  Hmmm.  Should've been here yesterday as the saying goes.  At least it shows that, even in mid August, with the right conditions things can get good but with a distinct westerly feel for the foreseeable, it seems we'll have to wait a bit longer for a good spell.  Blacktuft Sands for Nearctic waders anyone?

I simply do not know what I'm talking about.

....He's got a pineapple on his head....

19th August

To continue the dipping theme, I thought I best go and not see the White-winged Black Tern that had been frequenting Hornsea Mere for a while, but of course.....not today!  Blast!

A Ruff, 3 Common Sand, 2 Knot, one of which had a limp, and some ducks were no fun whatsoever.  Another dip.  Not giving up, I continued scanning.  Still no sign.  Come on, it must be here somewhere.  I scanned over the far shore....then!  As if by magic.....the shopkeeper appeared.

You always wanted him to get the astronaut costume didn't you?
Go on, didn't you?
I bet you did.
I'm right aren't I?
Admit it.

20th August

The dips go on.  Today I decided to not see the Semi-P that had been lingering at Alkborough Flats.  On arrival, it had just flew out of view "just over those reeds"...."about 5 minutes ago".

I've started a new list. Just now.  It's my "Birds I've been within a mile of" list.  Semi-P?  On my list.
My new list that is.

I did see two Peregrines though.

The road down to Alkborough Flats.
At this point, the Semi Palmated Sandpiper
would've been on view.
The lesson?  Don't stop to take photos for
your blog when on a twitch.
It's a stupid thing to do.

23rd August.

Now this is more like it.  Last night's SHARP-TAILED SAND has been relocated at Spurn!  And I've jut been rained off for the day!  I'm off.

Approaching the group of birders, I knew my luck had been shocking, missing Baird's Sand, Citrine Wag, White-winged Black Tern, and Semi-P all in a week.  One birder broke away from the throng and started heading off.  As he passed me, the age-old question was asked:  "Still showing?"
"Nah mate,not for a while now" came the now expected response.

On arrival at the horde, someone shouted "It's here!"
"Goodness gracious me!" I shrieked. I didn't really.
We all just went mental waving our arms in the air and did a merry jig of delight.

As I ALWAYS need some random picture to finish off a post, I wanted a crowd scene to highlight the "we all just went mental" bit.  Rather hopefully I Googled "Images of crowds going mental" with the idea of some football crowd going crackers after their team has scored with a caption of maybe "the scene at the Sharp-tail" to finish the post.  The images in the results were a bit unexpected.  Here's a selection of the results of searching "Images of crowds going mental":



Images of crowds going mental.
Google it. Go on.

27th August

A generally northerly wind was touching NE at times, so a fall of migrants was perhaps expected, well hoped for.  The first hour was surprisingly dead, or was I just off the pace? Perhaps I was, because it became clear that there were migrants around.  And quite good numbers of the Little blighters too.  I covered most places and left around 1 o'clock just as a weather front came in from the north east bringing with it rain and probably more migrants, possibly even rare ones.  My totals don't compare with the totals in the log (here) but there were still things around to keep us occupied.  42 Whitethroats, 18 Willow, 2 Garden, 1 Barred, 3 Lesser White, 2 Reed, 3 Pied Fly, 2 Redstart, 9+ Whinchat, 6 Wheatear, 12 Yellow Wag, a Sooty north and Gannets going in various directions: left.  And: right
No picture?  What's going on?

28th August

Balls.  My THIRD attempt at the Semi bastard P resulted in, you've guessed it, me not seeing it.
The only thing to do when this happens was to smash my way out of the hide through the viewing flaps, splintering the hide as I went, jump out onto the mudflats, get covered in mud, give an amazing 'battle cry' as I ran at the waders windmilling and shouting "Fucking Semi P bastard!", I chinned a Greenshank that was staring at me, then kicked fuck out of a Shelduck in a blind dipping rage.  The cool, soft mud felt nice on my naked body (did I forget to mention that?) so I stayed out on the mudflats for quite some time, wriggling around and giggling uncontrollably quite to the amazement of the people still in the partly demolished hide.

The Shelduck gingerly made her way back to dry land... to die...

31st August

A mysterious Flyctacher had ironically been caught at the Warren.  The initial ringer suspected something 'wrong' with this 'Pied' when the wing length fell 5mm too long for an average Pied and 2mm outside the upper limit for Pied.  Other features were looked at and news of a probable COLLARED FLYCATCHER, the first Spurn record, was put out.

The 'probable' aspect of this bird was due to a couple of features not quite supporting Collared.  After processing, the feature count was a great-game-for-the-neutral 7-2 in favour of Collared.  The two anomalous features being a discrepancy on P2 and, when the nape feathers are ruffled, a lack of horizontal line running through the feathers!  How do they know this shit?  Supporting features for Collared included primary pattern, tail pattern and when some skin is scratched from the leg with a scalpel or such like, the open wound smells minty (it smells like custard in Pied).
The wonders of modern ornithology.

So what chance of this getting accepted by the authorities?  Well, the relevant people from Spurn are in contact with certain Swedish people who are authorities in the separation of Collared and Pied, and are, almost definitely, blond-haired.

I found the bird in question rather pale overall, with much white in the wing, a quite definite pale throat, and cooler tones to the mantle and nape.  Whether these features are relevant or not, I don't know but I was just trying to add some detailed substance to this blog as a change from the usual "swearing...birdy...gratuitous violence....more swearing....another birdy.....went drunk....random picture" kind of post you're used to.

Random pic.



  1. I quite like the "round up" format as it goes chronologically from top to bottom, unlike the usual daily separate blog posts.

    "Round up" is also a kind of fertiliser.

    I also like the picture section as I just read letters and numbers all day.

    Jim, Sheffield.

  2. I agree, Jim. Apart from the bit about fertiliser as I didn't know that, but I'll take your word on. It's quite an appropriate title bearing in mind the amount of shite I speak.

    But yes, I prefer the chronological ordering but I can't seem to change my settings to do it.
    Ah, I understand why now. If it was set to post first first and therefore last last, you (the reader) would have to scroll through the 101 posts to get to my latest offering. And let me assure you, nobody would want to do that!