Saturday 28 January 2012

Filthy Yearlisting and Twitching

But not by me!! Hah! Everyone I know seems to be twitching or year-listing. Take the Mo, as fervent an anti-twitcher as you would ever meet - he didn't even get his arse down to Dungeness for the Oriental Pratincole. But where was he last week? Tear-arsing round Essex in search of filthy ticks, that's where. Yep, Glossy Ibis and Red-breasted Goose ticking. Every time I see him he goes off on one about how all his mates are wrong in the head, chasing round the country for birds, and what does he go and do? He's just blogged about Black-tailed Godwits in London, but don't let that fool you, he's hardly ever in London - most of his Peregrine shots are taken in Wales probably. Filth.

Moving on, who should we find nutty year-listing? Me? I don't think so! I would never be so silly. Nope, it's Hawky, that's who. The two years that I saw over 300, at this exact date I was on 147 & 148. Filthy Hawkins? 152. Yes, you read that right. 152. Unbelievable. Again, another person who professes sensibleness and the virtues of local patching. He came over today to year-tick the Wanstead Firecrests. Next stop the Girling for Black-necked Grebe, and then to Connaught Water where I helped him pick out some male Mandarins - tricky little blighters. Not content with all these ticks it was back to Wanstead for Ring-necked Parakeet and a shot at Lesser Spot. We failed on that, but the Parakeets were a walk in the park. Literally. Filth.

Normally (or perhaps not), Nick would be found walking in the Park. But not today. As dedicated a patch-worker as you will find, there was no sign of him, no gripping messages about Lapwings, no counts of Redwing. Instead a series of garbled messages about trains, small Geese and Norfolk. Two weeks ago Hampshire. Last weekend, Dorset. This weekend, Norfolk, in search of the Lesser White-front before it buggers off back to Pensthorpe. He's reached 150 with a Purple Sandpiper in Lowestoft! Filth.

In addition to a Lesser White-fronted Goose, Bradders could also have been found at Buckenham. In contrast to the three miscreants above, this is perfectly normal. Finding him outside of Norfolk is probably more unusual. He professes to be visiting family, and pretends (every year) that he isn't year-listing. Desperate. Hot news from Norfolk is that he's on 149, a real laggard. If he reads this tonight I expect it will motivate him to be out at dawn tomorrow. At Helston probably.

As far as I can tell, the only person I know who has stayed true is Shaun, who birds the Ingrebourne Valley, as his title picture hopefully makes clear. He's been dipping the pair of White-fronted Geese that have been there. And me. Where was I? Wanstead of course, seeking patch ticks to get that Golden Mallard winging its way to the big smoke. It didn't happen, but I did jam another Kingfisher briefly, and whilst I had my camera pointing vaguely in the right direction as well, always pleasing. Highlights were that, and a high count of Pochard on Heronry, a staggering 54 birds. Oh, and an honourable mention to the carrot cake from the tea shop of happiness, which showed well, if extremely briefly.

My year-list? 136. Comfortably lower than anyone else I know.


  1. The lighting on the Tufted Duck and Kingfisher are great. Nice shots and account.

  2. I'm on 114. 136 is positively filthy.

  3. I didn't go to Essex to twitch the Glossy Ibis and the Red Breasted Goose, I went to see the Peregrines, the Glossy and the Red Breasted just happened to be there.Twitch never...

  4. I've read it, and yes, I'll be in Norfolk at dawn tomorrow.

    In bed, asleep.

  5. An interesting philosophical conundrum. There are, I believe, an ascetic, monastic order who forego the pleasures of the flesh (and pretend it is of their choosing), to better understand the abundance of the natural world. Their doctrine is based on the premise that if a garden list contains not only the birds in their garden, but also every avian form viewable in the airspace from said garden, then a local patch is a similar area in relation to the viewer. Wherever they may be. Heretical, certainly, and as far from the concepts of Gaia as one can go. Despite not succumbing to the compilation of a garden or a year list, I claim no moral high ground. We were on the Ouse Washes yesterday and had a jolly decent chicken curry at Welney. I say chicken, it could've been White-fronted for all I know.