Monday, 6 June 2011

Choices, choices....

News of a mega-Robin in Hartlepool has twitchers all of a ....., er, all of a ..... god, really need a decent word to go in here. I know, all of a quiver, that works, doesn't it? No doubt loads of them will be ......, er, will be ....., ah-hah, converging, that's it, yes converging on Hartlepool Headland in the hope of seeing it.

It holds no interest for me. It is too far. And I can't go anyway. Or something. But good luck to all who go of course, it would be uncharitable to deny them their raison d'etre. I have to admit it does make me mildly twitchy, and I can happily imagine it nestling on my list close to Black Redstart and Red-flanked Bluetail, but these days I can take it or leave it without much angst. I've just driven to the South of France and back, my desire to sit in a car for any distance longer than the first impending school run tomorrow is non-existent. The desire of my three children to spend any more time in a car is equally non-existent. They were superstars on the journey down, an 800 mile marathon starting at 3am and ending at 7pm. Hartlepool is 250 miles and four hours away. And the same back. Although in french terms that's nothing, and although today was free with school not starting until tomorrow, I couldn't face it. It's just a bird, just a tick. I can imagine however that if you've seen over 500 birds, and new ones are few and far between, the significance of a tick is that much greater.

For me though, low-lister supreme, there are twitching thrills far closer to home, and so that is what the kids and I did today. The venue: our very own Alexandra Lake, and an extreme rarity. For reasons that will become obvious, we're suppressing it, so it's unlikely that you will have heard about it. It first appeared, entirely predictably, the day we left for France. Gutted, absolutely gutted. Birds on Alex tend not to linger, but I am happy to report that this one did the decent thing, somehow overcoming the constant disturbance until I returned.

Can you see it?!

And what a corker it was! The kids and I rushed straight there this morning once we had got up, about eleven I think it was, and after a wait of approximately zero seconds the bird showed itself. Indeed, I'd go so far as to say it showed extremely well. Fully winged, unringed, and happily mingling with that classic carrier species, Canada Goose. Using the kind of fieldcraft that can only be gained from serving a long birding apprenticeship, I was able to approach to within ten feet. Red-breasted Goose, a local mega, and a superb and unexpected patch tick! And to think I've not even seen a Brent here....

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you on the twitching frenzy in the north east. Like you mentioned on Bird Forum - not embarrasing at all!

    I've taken a similar line to you on my blog, which will probably annoy a few, but hey ho...

    Hope you had a good holiday - a pity you weren't around for the Epsom Derby - an ideal opportunity to take some atmospheric photos!