Monday, 6 October 2014

Two cracking ticks with awful pics!

So I have finally reached my 400 BOU birds for the UK!! Its taken quite a while, but with this years excellent offerings (+5) I have managed to reach the magic marker.

My first ever proper twitch was a Red Breasted Goose at Old Hall in 1993, I remember this bird well and I even got bought a photo of it from dad (remember the days of photos on sale at twitches? if not where were you in the 90's lol, its all changed now!
Since then I have added a lot of species to my list thanks to my father, I was lucky enough to be interested in birds at a time when he was twitching quite regularly so got to go to all sorts of places and see a lot of good birds, as well as regular trips to Scilly! I also missed quite a few absolute crackers due to being hungover/going out with mates (red throated thrush is a good example!). Anyway, a special nod to my father for getting me into birds at a young age and getting me enthused enough to become a warden, now I work on a nature reserve and see wildlife all the time as well as doing my bit for nature. 
...But I still have not seen a countable Icterine Warbler, I really wanted to find my own to rack up the 400, but it wasnt to be

So the final bird to reach the mark was Masked Shrike (ironically dad still needs it...sorry!). I was offered a lift and thought why not, we left Brundall at 4am and were back by 3pm! The bird showed well through the scope but a bit distant for photography. It had an odd charactor for a shrike, with its long tail and the sun gleaming from its pale front as well as fast jittery flight it reminded me of an oversize long tailed tit! We watched the bird for about an hour taking in all the plumage details and then had a walk around the local area, before heading back.
Not sure the BBRC would accept this photo as sole identity!
I admit I was so intent on looking at the shrike that I told Ian 'it's on the fence just right of the cow!'

This morning I was lured by the Little Crake at Minsmere. I woke up at 5.15 and thought to myself....if I were to see it before work I'd probably leave about now.... and with that I got up grabbed my bins, scope and camera and got in the car!
I saw the bird within 10mins of entering the hide but it was half light and through the tops of swaying reeds, it was countable but not very satisfying. I told myself that I had until 7.30 then had to get to work. It got to 7.30 without another view but I couldn't go just yet (the amount of times I leave and the thing I want to see shows well is annoying!) Sure enough 5 mins later the crake reappeared right out in the open. Like the shrike, it showed superbly through the zoom lens on my scope so that all plumage detail could be seen, but not so good for the camera.

So whats next??  My money is on Steppe Grey Shrike if it hangs around 'till my day off on Wednesday! Other gaps which can be filled include;

Boneli's warbler
Bonapartes Gull
Franklins Gull (grr missed the one up the road this yr!)
Humes Yellow Browed Warbler
Paddyfield warbler
PG tips
Pallid Swift
Red eyed vireo
Ross's Gull
Rustic Bunting
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Siberian Stonechat

This list is more for me but it may be of some interest for you?
So apart from a few tarts ticks they are all pretty rare!


  1. Here we see one of the few advantages of being old like me! I've seen everything on your 'wants' list apart from Paddy and PG Tips....

  2. It gives me something to find out there! The way this years going I wouldn't be surprised if one from the list I is seen this year.