Thursday 24 September 2015

Gah no Shetland!

For the first time since 2010 I'm not going to Shetland. Bit of a shocker really, however these things happen I suppose. In my defence I am less tick-tastic these days, and the thrill of the chase does a little less for me. Don't get me wrong, I love it up there, but various things conspired to make it impossible this year. Mostly that I burned up loads of my holiday doing other things. Good things, but not finding rare birds on far flung islands things. I could have gone, but it would have been a four day trip, and in researching how to fly there last-minute on various websites I came across a ticket to Florida for a little less money. Given the risk of four days of seeing a couple Blackcaps in a north-westerly, and seeing as how Florida seemed to be chock-full of Yanks the last time I went, I sensibly yet regrettably opted for the latter. I'm well aware that you gotta be in it to win it, but I know that I am guaranteed to have a ball on the Gulf Coast near Tampa, and whilst I could hit it off massively on Shetland in those four days, equally I could see bugger all. I've elected for nailed on. Black Skimmer please, and Snowy Plover.

Still, it is a shame, as virtually everyone I know is going up there for at least a week, some longer. Last time I didn't go with them a Rubythroat turned up. Gah! Today a Thick-billed Warbler has arrived. Have I made the right choice? Possibly, but when the lads are filling up on White's Thrush next weekend I may come to change my tune! I did go last year for a few days and was submerged in Yellow-browed Warblers - it was superb fun, but this year I'll simply have to watch from afar. That said, the UK mainland hasn't been doing too badly of late, Florida is a long way off, and I have no other plans at all for the UK autumn. Bring it on!

Yes please!
Since August I've really been getting back into the UK. This is entirely normal as the summers are so dire on the patch, but I'm really feeling it at the moment. Wanstead has been brilliant, the day out in Essex and Suffolk the other day was very pleasant, and seeing a couple of rarities has got the juices flowing again. My bins are living in my pocket as you just never know. Between now and the end of this month I've seen a ton of amazing birds, both on Shetland and elsewhere.This Saturday for instance sees the five year anniversary of the Blakeney Point Alder Flycatcher, which I remember clearly to this day, mainly for the incredible walk out there. What are the chances of another one of those turning up?

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