Saturday 11 September 2010

More Ticks, More Miles

Despite having just written a column for Birdwatch magazine about how much I loathe twitching, I've just come back from a day spent largely in the car. Horrible, I hated every minute of it (I have to say that else people might think I'm a hypocrite, which obviously I'm not, no, no)

First target was a Wilson's Phalarope at Grove Ferry in Kent, a place I have twitched birded extensively before. It took ages, but I eventually got some fairly prolonged flight views which were adequate for ID purposes, but left me wanting more. Frustratingly it never landed where we could see it, well, not until after we had left, so I may return if it stays into next week. I'll see how much enthusiasm I can drum up by Monday.

Next stop Gosport in Hampshire, for the first Isabelline Shrike that I can remember in my short yet glorious twitching career. A mere two and a half hours later, Stuart (another local birder - one day I must do a post about the people that feature on here) and I arrived at the site and made our way to the small but growing crowd. Typically the bird had disappeared from view, but we soon had very good views of it feeding in a Hawthorn. I love Shrikes, have I mentioned that before? As the crowd jostled to get into the one position where you could see through a hole in the Hawthorn to see the bird in its entirety, the local youth turned up, for the bird was basically in the middle of a housing estate. Uncharacteristically, they started making fun of us. This made a middle-aged woman next to me very cross. "What a bunch of idiots", she said. I felt moved to point out that from a certain point of view, a lot of people dressed in green madly running around with telescopes were perhaps the ones that looked like a bunch of idiots. This made her even crosser, but it did at least shut her up, which was great as personally I prefer a bit of mild chanting to disapproving huffing and tutting.

I failed to get any decent pictures of either bird today, but I did manage one of the Gosport youf element which clearly demonstrates that they were not a bunch of idiots, as 'outraged of wherever' had claimed, but instead highly cultured young men with a considerable degree of finesse.


  1. Is one allowed to photograph young men whose voices have clearly not yet broken? I can see belly flesh.

  2. is one of them Blowmonkey?? i thought he was at chessington?

  3. Probably not, but they were much funnier than the Shrike, and unlike it, posed for the camera.