Saturday, 15 February 2014

Back on the tick trail

So far this year I've either been at work, in Morocco, or glued to Photoshop. Any thoughts of filthy twitchery have been very far away indeed, and compared to the back end of last year when they came at a rate of knots and I was quite happy to follow them round cleaning up, this year I've not felt remotely inclined to go anywhere other than Gatwick's north terminal. Take, for example, the American Coot all the way up in Inverness. Many people filthier than me have of course already been up for it, but I have resisted superbly. Similarly a pet Heron at Hythe, that bastion of Kentish Ardeidae fence-hopping, has held no interest for me either. No, I have been content with the simple life, supping Champagne in airport lounges, and scouring the warm Moroccan deserts for Wheatears and Larks.

Today all that changed at the instigation of proud new father Bradders, whose daughter insisted that he drive to Durham to add Yellow-rumped Warbler to his list. Though only three weeks old, she could not bear the shame of American Coot showing up as his most recent tick on his blog. He needed a map-reader of course, so I was only too happy to help out sleep in the back seat whilst James L and Crofty plotted our course. We stopped at the truck stop of dreams at Scotch Corner for the largest baps known to humanity, and found ourselves in a housing estate outside Durham for roughly half nine. Apparently over a thousand slackers birders had already passed through during the busy working week, so although this was the first Saturday of this Yank mega there weren't very many people there at all, and certainly none of the idiotic stampeding panic that can sometimes overtake these events.

Got some great views of this american dirt bird through the scope, but it never really paraded it, and in any event the light was shocking. Morocco it certainly wasn't, but a tick is a tick, and no complaints especially as I got the equivalent of a full night's sleep on the way up there and back. Cheers for the driving Bradders! So I'm back on the tick trail, and the next one may come sooner than I expect, as I have to do some work in my Glasgow office. American Coot?!! Where?!! Where?!!

A small number of well-adjusted people....

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