Sunday 15 January 2012

Olé Olé, Olé Olé

Many many sensible people arriving in the dark for a bird that will be present all year.

Although I very rarely twitch, as any regular reader of these pages will know, there were a couple of cars heading down to the New Forest yesterday. Would I like to be in one of them? Well, not really, but if you insist on having my wit and repartee in order to make the drive that much shorter, how can I refuse? Right, pick you up at 5am says Bradders. 5am? Holy S. Five in the morning, ie waking up at four something, to see a bird that looks remarkably similar to a Sparrow, and that has been there a year and will likely be there a further year. A bird so comfortable in its surroundings that like many a sailor in a foreign port, it has knocked up one of the local lasses, and is even now eyeing up some more. Never have european relations been stronger than in Calshot, Hampshire. But would the bird still be there for the weekend masses?

Housing Estate-watching

An emphatic yes, though I was surprised how few people were there. I had been anxiously expecting a good five-hundred, and had been preparing myself for the shame of being seen amongst so many green-clad middle-aged men. In the event it was fine, perhaps a hundred tops, and many of them in blue, though there is no getting away from the age. I am uncomfortably part of a very particular demographic. But hey, twitching is fun! Ticking birds is fun. Yes, even Sparrows. The locals were doing a roaring trade in bacon butties and teas, and I thought the whole thing passed off really well, with no stupidity from anyone, not even me. Not that it would have been possible to scare the bird off, the thing was seemingly impervious to humans. Anyway, as soon as we were done with ticking it, we were heading off birding in the wilds of the New Forest, where we doubted we would see another birder all day.

¿Qué estás mirando, mal vestido idiota?

Unfortunately the New Forest is teeming with goodies, and we could not avoid driving round in what was essentially an enormous convoy of birders all visiting the same locations. So first the Dark-eyed Junco somewhere near Bewlee (although the signposts all said Beaulieu for some reason), then Blashford for a semi-Ferruginous Duck, and then somewhere else for a regular Hawfinch roost. I swear I saw the exact same people at every place. They probably wondered what I was doing there too.

But of course...

The birds were good. My second Junco, a bird I had not expected to see another of, performed beautifully with 11,000 Reed Buntings and 250,000 Chaffinches. Crossbills were an almost constant feature, all three Swans (naturally, as I had failed to see Bewick's last year), and the Hawfinches showed superbly by their standards. A grand day out, and my year-list is going extremely well.

Managed to take this out of one of the few windows at Blashford HWT that actually opened and that wasn't blue. Worst hides I have ever been in by some distance, they need to sort it out.

1 comment:

  1. I know what you mean about seeing the same people everywhere. Each site I went in the New Forest on Sat, you, Bradders and Nick were there. Odd.