Sunday, 21 June 2009

Taking a bad tern

What a twat! Not since marrying Tina Newcombe at the age of 22 have I made such a bad decision. I'd spent Saturday in the Peak District, walking along Mam Tor with Angela and Matthew and then headed off to my mum's house in Stoke. As we were arriving in Stoke, the pager started bleeping, telling me about the Afrikaan Royal Tern in Land-dudno, Wales. I quickly dropped the family off at mum's and headed off to North Wales. Unfortunately, by the time I got to Chester the bird had flown off high and hadn't been seen for well over an hour. My mind turned to Co. Cork and Black Rock Sands, (where the bird had put in all to brief appearences before heading for the horizon never to be seen again - in the same place anyway) and then to my family waiting patiently at my mum's house. So, I filled up with fuel and stupidly started heading back. 15 minutes later, the pager was bleaping, informing me of the Royal Tern's reappearance. I quick handbrake-turn on the A51 and I was on my way back to North Wales. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived (6.30 pm) the bird really had disappeared. An all too brief return by the bird for 5 luck observers (of which I wasn't one) at 8pm was the only other time it might have been seen. The worst of it is, is that the bird flew off at 6pm, 20 minutes before I arrived. Had I not turned around and lost half-an-hour, I would have arrived on site at about 5.50 and seen the bird for about 10 minutes before if flew off.
Why did I turn round? Why!!!!!???

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Wet 'n Windy on the North Norfolk Coast - 7 Jun 09

Headed up to North Norfolk for what turned out to be a very wet day.
First stop was Cley NWT. Hardly any waders on Pat's/Simmonds scrapes, but North Scrape was much more productive. 2 imm Eurasian Spoonbills were on the scrape and actually woke up for a while and started feeding (see below). Also on the scrape were 2 Little Stints and 2 1st-summer Little Gulls.

Next it was along to Thornham to have another look at the Black-winged Pratincole. It was in the ploughed field by the reservoir, but the light wasn't too good and I only got one half-decent photo of it.

Then, finally to Titchwell. It hammered it down with rain after I got to Parrinder Hide, but other than about 500 Common Swift pushed down by the rain, not much else was on show. 5 Little Gulls and a Ruff were the only thing of note. A quick dash to the car between rain showers and that was the end of the day.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Farne Islands and Scotland - 26 - 31 May

A family holiday, culminating in Angela running the Edinburgh Marathon, was taken last week. The main birding spots were The Farne Islands and Fowlsheugh (an RSPB seabird reserve, just south of Stoneheaven, at Crawton). Nearly all the seabirds we saw either had eggs or were preparing nest sites.
The best of my photos are shown below.

Arctic Terns




Common Eider