Wednesday 26 February 2014


As I mentioned earlier, my plans this past weekend worked out to perfection. The right amount of firmness, the right amount of flexibility, and I got it spot on. Now we all know that congratulating someone on successfully steering a car to a pre-ordained location is not necessarily worthy of high praise, but in this instance I perhaps deserve a small amount of credit for the logistical aspects. One of these was placing myself at Strontian for dawn, which meant a night in the car during one of the worst storms I can remember. Highly uncomfortable, very cold, and as such not a great sleep. Though at first it wasn't looking positive, I was rewarded by good views of the Black Duck after about an hour of searching. I looked at it for long enough to eliminate hybrids and properly confirm the ID. Happy, I took some dodgy phone-scoped record shots, tweeted the news out which I knew the info services would pick up on, and set off on the long drive to Campbeltown.

Imagine my surprise when during the afternoon a revised message came out "No sign Black Duck Strontian 09:15-13:45. Earlier report may have been erroneous." Erroneous my arse. WTF? I have no idea who the disillusioned twitchers who spent five hours not finding it were, but I'm not impressed. Not unimpressed that they couldn't find it, birds do sometimes annoyingly disappear (take a certain Ross's Gull for example...), but unimpressed that their presumption was that it if they didn't see it, it wasn't there at all. Sorry but that's bullshit. As somebody said to me regarding the Gull, shame you didn't get up earlier. Quite. Did you see me rubbishing the early morning sighting? You did not. So whoever you are, fuck you, and I'm glad you dipped. Next time get up earlier. FFS. I called the pager people back to set the record straight, and then ticked off American Herring Gull. Or maybe I made that up as well.

Black Duck


  1. Some of us never doubted you for a moment...

  2. Definitely know THAT feeling. The same happened to me last year with a Lesser Spotted in Wanstead Park. Reported as unsubstantiated. At least you got some record shots. I didn't, due to a bright pink jogger . .lol.

  3. Many apologies Geoff, if you could send me some details we would be more than happy to note that there was more than one sighting last year (100% better!), we can exchange details on twitter if you so wish.

  4. By the way Jono, the gull was an escape!