Saturday, 31 March 2012

Been a long time a comin...

There are some birds that have a real curiosity appeal to me and some that have none. I would think of any excuse to travel via a Rough-leg or shrike but I have been within a shout of the Hampshire Junco a couple of times and it just hasn't drawn me in.
Well watching the photos of the Gwent Yellowthroat turn from a first winter almost into a spring male has been causing me to look for the chance to swing by. Throw in having to actually maybe find it and it fitting a behavioural hole between gropper and I'm not sure what & I was up for it with the right space in the diary.
So a late morning M4 meeting gave me an hour, plus the last day of the March heat wave gave me the hurry-up. I was planning. My only failing was try as I might I couldn't sway Steve (although we had a agreed this was worth an off-patch trip) so it was print out the very helpful directions and off I went (this was on the way back...).

Sun in Devon turned to low cloud at Bristol... Might it be too cold before I had to leave by 10? But things quickly turned for the good, easy parking, close to the motorway (if I was late) and a couple walking down the hill who told me there was a young lad watching it. Thank goodness as I hadn't fancied searching a fair swathe of bracken all alone.
Up the hill and all too easy there it was, a beautiful little bird- bright as anything and making me realise how amazing a Point Pelee fall must be. I had seen a few North American warblers in California many many years ago and it make me realise however pretty Sedge and Whitethroat are, they really do play a poor second fiddle. What was more amazing was its behaviour, it would just vanish into thin air and the reappear in exactly the same place 5 minutes later. I'm reasonable at being quiet and following skulkers but I can only think this this bird must have just sat and had a kip because it just stopped, vanished and then started off again.
Good also to see its plumage developing, this bird is going to be gorgeous in about 10 days,you can see the pin feathers round it's mask- its gonna be a stunner.
So that was my first yank passerine and a twitch shot ( ala Karen) of this :-)

After that just lots of plastic Red Kites and a lot of miles but what a lovely drive-by bird.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Various observations

It's been a while an not for the lack of trying, so where do I start?
Let's begin with a techno bit (!) not a common topic on Devon bird blogs I know but it's worth saying...I couldt care less about the apple-Microsoft argument because I use both a lot but I have to tell you that htc is a way better phone than this I-whatever it is that I have just moved to. Sorry had to get that off my chest - but it is and that's from someone who wishes smart phones hadn't been invented. My old phone could be dropped in a bucket of water and survive but then I had to get a htc then now I have this thing a year later. Hands down winner there & that's not just about how hard it is to update my blog from it.

Second comment, that crane project is such a waste of money it's not true. I passed by on the way back from Bristol and looked an looked across flooded meadows through wonderful flocks of wigeon, teal and shovelers but no sign of any stately cranes amongst them. Giving up I was bailing out when I had a last look over a bund to see a glorified flock of turkeys standing round next to a feeder. Pathetic, so much so I couldn't even be bothered to check which was the wild one or take a photo. That bad. Where are they gonna nest? Why? As I said to Steve I'd rather fund ruddy duck eradication than that project!

Goodness, any good news James? Well I have been all over in the past month and managed a couple of ticks - a trip to London where I didn't see a parakeet and a trip to Belfast where our franchisee has a pair of bins and about 20 black guillemots across the road. LOVE this bird. Last observation... How much bigger the silver winter plum birds look vs the black summer ones. Optical illusions n all that.

I promise...there are about half a dozen Black Guillis in this picture & they aint that far away either!

Purple Sand and nice Eiders were work ticks though trying to beat my 'Sand Martin on the way to work' record right now :-)

Anyway now I've figured this phone-thing out I might be back soon...