Sunday 15 December 2013

Lucky Dip

My hopes of doing any birding whatsoever this weekend have been utterly dashed by work both yesterday and today. Such is life, I will make it up another time I guess. I had it easy, at least getting a few hours of sleep; others were less fortunate and got none at all. There is however a massive plus, which is that at about 10pm I had basically made up my mind to twitch the Desert Wheatear on Severn Beach, which is approximately 150 miles away from dear old Wanstead.

There were two reasons for wanting to do this. The first was quite stupid, and was that seeing Desert Wheatear would mean that I would have seen four Wheatear species in the UK this year. Pretty meaningless. The second reason was that I'd seen a photo of it perched on Lee's earring, and frankly I wanted a bit of that - remember the Izzy Wheatear and how wonderful that was? This was going to raise the wonderfulness bar. Other weekend choices included the Black-throated Diver in Eastbourne, or the Grey Phal in Suffolk, but the weather looked poor in the south-east, so Bristol it was. Except that I worked until about midnight last night, and this being an indication that not everything was rosy in that space, I decided very reluctantly to knock the Wheatear on the head and instead work on Sunday as well.

And this is the massive plus, as somebody decided to knock the Wheatear on the head and it isn't there today. Rarely have I been so pleased about working at the weekend, and my mood has been transformed from severe chuntering to a point where a smile almost crossed my face! As I needed to be back in London for mid-afternoon, I had been planning on leaving home at 6am, spending perhaps 3 hours with the bird, and then heading home. No waiting on news like I might normally do, and thus it turns out I would have been very disappointed, and caned another 300 miles and another fifty quid for nothing. So a bit of a result there.

Another result is this. Not quite Ivory Gull, which having departed Orkney only yesterday is presumably still on its way, but nonetheless a great garden record, and is probably the first in London since the departure of the regular Isle of Dogs bird about four years ago. It's currently remaining quite faithful to the carcass, and as such I'm pleased to able to announce that for a small fee my garden will be open to the twitching public from about 4pm tomorrow.


  1. Concerned about your toy collection, you seem to have a bird for many a story. You must keep the RSPB toy company in business.

  2. You don't know the half of it! There is a very sizeable menagerie in Chateau L......