Saturday 1 March 2014

Red-flanked Bluetail shenanigans

I saw this bird the other day on the way back from the big Ross's Gull dip in Wales. Nick needed it, and they are lovely, so we went and saw it. I had my camera, but got nothing at all on it apart from four feet above me in a tree. Since then I've either been in Scotland or at work, and seeing as today was forecast to be lovely and sunny in Gloucestershire, I thought I would give it a go, especially as the bird has now been present for a month and the crowds should have quietened down. What I really should have done was have a lie in as I am pretty tired, but at 4am I was up and on the road. Bloody birds. 

I was first on the site at 7ish, but no sign of it for over an hour. It appeared briefly in the favoured tree, but by then the crisp morning sunshine and the frosty perch were both gone. Gradually more and more people started to turn up, including some of the most vacuous and cretinous numbskulls I've seen for quite a while. Welcome to the UK rare bird scene. Standing right in the middle of the bird's flight path from the top bush to the feeding bush. Walking straight through the target area. One guy walked straight over the perch I had carefully set up and then crouched in front of me. I poked him with my monopod until he fell over and rolled down the hill. Not really. I informed him nicely that he might prefer to stand behind the people who were already there, which he did, though I'm not sure he understood why. Incredibly frustrating, it seemed that each time that the bird might be ready to come down the slope somebody climbed up it and straight towards the row of trained cameras. Given that I needed to be back at Chateau L for early afternoon it was all in danger of going horribly wrong and being a 300 mile mistake, but luckily a short break in the imbeciles allowed the bird to zip in and have a forage, which is when I managed to get these shots.

Obviously I am not known for moaning and whining on this blog, but trying to get quality photographs of rare birds in this country is a mostly hopeless affair. Some people manage it, and hats off to them, but I reckon I am done trying. My only opportunity is at weekends when it's at its worst, but there are so many retired or non-working birders that even weekdays are painful. I am in this for the enjoyment of it, but every time I come back seething. This is ridiculous, I should not set myself up for this. I am very selfish, but I want just me and the bird, and the rest of humanity can sod off. Then again, I didn't find this bird did I, so what right have I got to expect it all to myself? Precisely none. Clearly this does not stack up. Either I go for these birds and in doing so sign up to all the idiocy, or I avoid them and do my own thing. I much prefer the latter, and so must remember to try and steer clear of the crowds. This is difficult in the south-east, unless you're into Gulls....


  1. Much the same the previous weekend with loads of numpties present, but described much more eloquently than i would have done. Cracking bird, shame about the birders.

  2. Well I've seen your photo (the one on the moss), and you coped with it a lot better than I did!!

  3. I nearly got into a punch-up with a couple of tw@ts who kept pushing the bird in order to get a photograph - glad i do'nt twitch much, not good for the old blood pressure.........and i did'nt even 'need' it! It is far too easy for prats like this to twitch these days - i get fed up of stating that the welfare of the bird comes first.

    Laurie -