Sunday 17 October 2010

Yawning and Year-listing

Another day, another Red-flanked Bluetail. Officially now the bird UK birders least want to see. Secretly the finders are hoping for Robins, but no, another sodding Bluetail. Bedgrudgingly, and knowing they are going to be made fun of by their peers, they put the news out....

Half a day in Suffolk today with Bradders, following another morning dipping Bluethroat at Rainham. Continued this fine form by dipping Ferruginous Duck at Lackford, but managed some excellent if brief views of the Bluetail at Lowestoft. The experience did not compare with that of ten days ago at Geosetter. There, the bird was in full view most of the time, and came within fifteen feet of the few observers present. At Lowestoft the cover was incredibly dense, and viewing was extrememly difficult. Despite their newfound common-as-muck status, the bird today attracted upwards of fifty people, and was seen sporadically by only a few of those. I was one of the lucky ones, it just appeared in my bins for a moment or two, and then vanished again. Very smart, but not even a useful year-tick....

Having seen it I abandoned the crowded paths, went and sat in the sunshine by the sea, ate a Double-decker, and hoped for a Little Auk. Miraculously I was soon treated to one drifting south very close inshore (#290). Unbelievable, and superb! It was only the second I have ever seen. I've seen three Bluetails......

The day, or what was left of it, for it was now close to 4pm, became a blantant quest for year ticks. I'm so close to 300 that I might as well. I know I said I wouldn't, but I'm hopeless. I'm not feeling too guilty, this is genuinely the first time this year I have been chasing stuff for no reason whatsoever.

First up the King Eider at Dunwich, which I found at extreme range, but in excellent light was still identifiable, at least well-enough for a mere year-tick (#291). We then dipped a Pallas's Warbler just down the road at Sizewell, before retracing our steps to Westleton Heath where we were just in time to get the Great Grey Shrike before it went to roost (#292).  That out of the way, we spent a bit of time looking at Red Deer on the heath, including two rather magnificent Stags braying and snorting.

So, eight to go for 300, and I haven't even seen a Puffin, and likely nor will I. That's how laissez-faire I've been, but it appears to have happened anyway. I must remember to not year-list again in 2011, it appears to be an incredibly effective way in which to see a shed-load of birds.


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  2. Sorry, I'm not prepared to take any shit from anonymous posters. If you leave your name, I'll leave the comment, no matter how much it is designed to wind me up.