Saturday, 26 October 2013

Semipalmated not whollyboring

Actually it wasn't that bad, for instance it beats Short-toed Treecreeper hands down. Not sure what else it beats, but it was, er, educational. Yes, good for me, and thus well worth 220 miles and a good soaking. It was one of those birds that if you think you might have it, you don't. I picked at least half a dozen candidates, but when the right bird was found it was radiantly clear that I knew nothing. Same old issue, once you're on it, it's really easy. Finding it amongst the throng is an entirely different matter. Though mega-rare, I suspect that it is simply overlooked, I mean who in their right mind scans through high-tide roosts of Ringed Plovers? Somebody wanting to find a Semipalmated Plover probably. Well, hats off to whoever found this one, as although when you get on to the bird it is pretty damn obvious, it's extremely tricky when faced with a whole range of Ringos to go though. Reminiscent of looking through gulls. Not that bad obviously, but approaching it for sure.

I completely misread the weather. Wanstead was lovely and mild. And dry. Hayling Island was less mild, extremely windy, and very wet indeed. Happily Bradders turned up after a couple of hours bearing my previously forgotten waterproof trousers, but by that time the damage was mostly done, and in any event the biggest problem was having decided that going with just a T-shirt and no warm fleecy layer was a sensible plan. Which it wasn't, and by the end of the twitch I was shivering uncontrollably. As soon as I had clocked the bird, realised how semieasy it was (once somebody else had located it), I was out of there. Bradders decided to stay and get wetter, and as for Dick, oh dear. A big wuss I am afraid to say, and he had left some time previously. Naturally I called him to relay the good news, but he was too far back up the A3 by that time. Oops.

Today was the first opportunity I had had to go down there. On Shetland when the news broke at the end of last week, and then working all week in Glasgow. A huge rarity, and 800 miles and a week away. Luckily for me, and for my fellow Shetland grafters, it stayed, and we have now all seen it. Amazing talent all round wouldn't you say? Not sure about Marco mind, though he does go for absolutely everything these days, which means he was probably on Unst twitching the Cape May Warbler and missed out. We checked that garden.....

The hotel in Glasgow wasn't too bad, though was lacking in rare Yank waders.

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