Tuesday 3 July 2012

Well, June is over, I can get my bins out again

So, what did I see on the patch in June? A quick look at my records....and just sneaking in on the 1st of June is a Tawny Owl. Practically May really, not sure I should really count it. So nothing new, just a gradual diminishment of activity. Common Terns continued to visit Heronry, the Great Crested Grebe chicks are growing up, and I've seen Hobby a couple of times from the garden, but basically it has been typically dead and unworthwhile.

Instead, I have atypically been visiting other parts of the country in search of birding fixes, and belying the month of the year, it has been exceptionally good. First up was a Marsh Warbler at Rainham, a London and Essex tick - it doesn't come much better than that. I never saw it, but  the song is the best bit anyway, and there was plenty of that. June also delivered the Little Bittern at Stocker's Lake, a mere 45 minutes away, which was rather special, but the most amazing part was having a two tick weekend with the Little Swift on the Wirral, and the very next day an adult PGP in Norfolk. Somewhat of a stressful and car-heavy weekend without a doubt, but that's all forgotten now. Last year I got no ticks whatsoever in June, so 2012 has punched well above its weight. Does it trump the Oriental Pratincole at Dungness in 2010? Probably.

Now July, my thoughts are beginning to turn to the sea. The first Wilson's Petrels have been reported from Scilly, though they involve getting on boats. I've still not seen one, but I'm going to give it one last try from land before succumbing to being bounced around on the open ocean. Me and boats don't agree, especially small ones. I have though conquered my fear of the Scillonian III, two almost exemplary twitches last year convinced me I could do it. If another long-stayer appears, I'd almost certainly go over again. By helicopter. My primary interest is sea-watching though, far more excitement to be gained there than by crashing through Lower Moors looking for stripy lost waifs. I wish I lived by the sea, the six hour drive to Cornwall, with the prospect of dense fog that you didn't and couldn't know about when you left, is somewhat fraught. I've never actually dipped the sea, though came very close in August 2009 when the fog closed in by lunchtime. Happily the view out to the Runnelstone buoy was still clear at around half eleven; you all know what happened next!


  1. 6 hours? You could be at Galley in 4 hrs & knee-deep in big shears! Wilson's gettable off there too if you is lucky. Would it be countable on yer list of lists tho?

  2. This is the problem. I have many lists, but the Republic is not on any of them, bar Western Pal of course. My fave list is my garden list. Sadly yet to record a big shear. When is the best time for Galley, I could easily be tempted- at the end of the day, I love seawatching, who cares where it is and what list it goes on.

  3. With June being more productive than you might have otherwise had hoped & with a British life list 10 short of what historically was always a major milestone in for most UK birders '400' - Can I suggest a little poll/page for your readers to guess what the magical 400th bird might be?

  4. There's no way a Little Swift trumps Oriental Pratincole but that's only because I saw the later, and was robbed of the former! Bitter, ne, never!