Thursday, 30 December 2010

Twitching Tales #2 - My First Mega

In the heady days before I had seen Little Egret or Green Woodpecker let alone a Shrike of any description I went to see a Baird's Sandpiper. This I enjoyed very much. I decided to go twitching again. The bug had struck. The question is - where do I go? what do I see? how far should I go? I failed to answer any of those questions and decided to go for the next mega that came up. Boy did I choose a good one - no Red-flanked Bluetail or other such "dross" that would be devalued. I went for something enigmatic and rare. A first for Britain and one that has only been seen once subsequently - a one day bird on Scilly.

The year was 2004 - I was very much the novice but I had drooled over the series of firsts that autumn with Purple Martin, Chestnut-eared Bunting, Rufous-tailed Robin & the unacceptable Chinese Pond Heron. How lovely. I'm sure by now you will have worked out which bird I went for but if not below is a small reminder.

Masked Shrike 1st winter - Kilrenny, Fife 2004

Thats right - setting off in the middle of the night I arrived at Kilrenny in Fife at 10ish to see the Masked Shrike. There was no trepidation which now bothers my twitching, just expectation. I saw a Treecreeper which was my first since I had restarted "birdwatching" as I was still calling it. And lo - there was a silver apparition with a massive white patch on the primaries. Obviously I ruled out Woodchat with extensive observation and detailed notes...hmmm. Ok maybe not but I saw it and I was overjoyed.

Finding myself in Scotland at 11am I went to Vane Farm and life ticked Little Egret, Pink-footed Goose and something even gayer which I can't remember before coming home. Mental. Enjoyed it loads.

p.s. dipped the Mirfield Ring-billed Gull yesterday. Again.

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How brains and birds become mutually exclusive