Wednesday 6 May 2015

Hudwits and Hirundines

An eventful few weeks but the birding has now turned to mush. Bearing that in mind, and with a two notable successes under the belt, I turned once again to foreign lands. But of the successes first. One, my magnificent Wheatear victory as detailed in my last post, and second, a perfectly-timed twitch to Somerset for the Hudsonian Godwit, a bird I had spurned the previous weekend in favour of staying faithful to the patch and breaking the Warbler day record. I wondered at the time if I hadn't got it wrong, but dismissed it as absurd - one cannot see every bird and I've missed enough that missing another makes no difference at all. But the bird came back and so the opportunity to have a rethink presented itself. Bradders, Nick, Tony and Monkey all had a very long think * and decided that we would go, so Saturday morning and with news of the bird still being there we were on our way. Upon arrival a mere three hours later the bird was still present, having moved approximately one inch since first light. Here's the view we got, which works just as accurately in two dimensions.... Great excitement when it once stretched its wings, and a number of twitchers actually fainted when it walked through the flock for a bit before hiding behind a Blackwit and going back to sleep. Exciting it was most definitely not, however they all count and this is a true rarity and seeing as I had the time, why not - always fun twitching as a group, and particularly so with this particular bunch of comedians.

The blurred bird is the Hudwit, moving so quickly that it only ghosts the sensor..... 

The next day I went to Corfu with my son, a long planned trip to sate some Gerald Durrell inspired wanderlust, and also to get a change of scene and some sun in the middle of yet another long slog at work that I can very accurately predict and thus make survivable. In short it was wonderful, ludicrously cheap with ample sunshine, nice food, father-son bonding, and a few quality birds. Not many, but that wasn't really the aim at all, and they were all a bonus/ A real flying visit, in one afternoon, out the next, but it is amazing what can be accomplished if one has no real agenda. Thus we walked to the Chessboard Fields as explored by Gerry in the 1930s a couple of times, soaked up a wonderful evening watching people fishing, and marvelled at the fantastic display of Hirundines and Swifts that were thick in the warm air. Also pretty good if you're a fan of airplanes flying right over your head - crazy stuff. Retired to a balcony with a stunning view and enjoyed an almost unrivalled dawn the following morning. 

The rest of the day before the flight home again was occupied by another walk out to the fields, followed by some good old-fashioned chilling out around the pool, admiring Red-rumped Swallows as they skimmed the water for a quick drink. Doubt any of the countless idiots round the pool, a mixture of extremely loud French and British slobs, even knew what the birds were or cared, but a heady mix of the latest iconic country music made them easily ignored. And when we got home I logged in and did some work, the perfect tonic to an enjoyable weekend and an excellent way to ease my way back into Monday morning.

* note that this is a complete lie

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