Friday, 18 January 2013

Am i mad!!!!

Carrying on the slow start to the year, I've hardly been out at all and no twitches apart the GWE at Chenies. So, i was getting a bit desperate, especially with quite a bit of nice stuff around - Amwell has a lot of good gulls, the buff-bellied pipits are still around. There was also a ybw at Moor Green. No there wasn't -there was a Pallas's Warbler!! Re identified over the weekend after studying photos, and the result of a large titch, i now had a lifer within grasp. Work as ever got in the way, as did imminent blizzard conditions. I did manage to negotiate a "wfh" today though and planned an early start. The blizzard was due to strike mid-morning, but if i left early i could get the bird first.
Two things. First, check where you're going. Moor Green isn't by Heathrow, its damn nearly Reading, first mistake. Second, that meant i was driving straight towards the snow!!
So, about half way there it started to snow, and snow, and snow. By the time i got to the car-park it wasn't exactly a blizzard, but it was snowing pretty hard and settling. Still, i had my foul-weather gear, so coat and trousers on, welly boots to the ready off i trudged.
Near where the Pallas's was reported another birder was just leaving. "its down there with the goldcrests".  ok - it was normally with ltt's but hey, it could be anywhere. 25 minutes searching up and down the bank - not a sniff. Few goldcrests around yes, but nothing exciting.
Snow was getting harder, and i started to think about getting stuck - oh, and the 11am telecon i had with work! So, a slow trudge back, year off to an even worse start. Then, calling in the trees and a couple of ltt's flitted past. Eureka. They all moved past me pretty fast so i sprinted about 30 yards to catch them. There it was, feeding low down. Beautiful eye-stripe, wing-bards the lot. Cracker, and a lifer to boot. However, not the day to stop and stare. Back to car quickly and a very slidy exit along narrow lanes to get back for my phone-call. A better start to the year after all!!!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Hunt for the great white egret

The New Year has got off to a pretty slow start. After getting rid of all the relatives there was a vague plan for two days birding - one on my own around in the local area and a day trip to norfolk. however both Judith and I went down with a horrid cold and sore throat so even local trips were out of the question.
We did have to go and drop off our tax returns in Chesham though, so it seemed rude to not at least try for the Greatr White Egret in the Chess Valley which was pretty much on the way back from Chesham.
So, after quickly dropping the forms off we started at the far end of the valley, and strted searching. We only had a vague idse that it was normally near Latimer, but could be quite mobile. So, it was a case of "get out, have a scan" and move on. A couple of times we went for a wanfer down to the river, including at the weit by Latimer, but not a sausage. A few winter thrushes around but not much else.
We had one bit of excitment when almost at Chenies when Judith spotted an egret in a tree, but on inspection it was only a Little Egret. I was ready to give up but Judith suggested one last look down the last lane before Chenies on the watermeadow. I know Judith really good at spotting dso she looked and i drove. At the end ogf the lane she called out that she may have something so i dropped her off and parked up. "i think its there"!!!.  It took me a minute or two to gt onto it, but there in the reeds it was - stalking frogs or whatever. Not the greatest of views but more thna enough to clinch the i.d.
So, at least one nice bird to get the year list stared, all thanks to my eagle-eyed spotter!!!