Friday, 20 April 2012

30th Birthday Presents

Black-necked Grebes at North Cave thanks to Richard Willison. Far to good for me!
Thanks to all those that have relayed their condolences on my reaching this momentous milestone on my journey of inevitable decline and oncoming decreptitude. I seek joy in the fact that I remain firmly in the youngest 1% of birders despite hitting the first age milestone that you dont want to hit. My lovely wife and child have purchased (wife provided the capital I believe) a new birdtable with my parents adding feeders. A kindle will also be wending its way into my possetion soon I believe. Nice one.

please ignore the very long grass...

I spent the most momentous of days birding, well work surveys tbh but it was birding nonetheless. I was a sore with a bad back (different from last month but annoying - whats with the continual being mildly injured thing?) and thus a bit grumpy. I was even worse by the time I had surveyed the first sector and half the second with sack all about (1 Curlew and a few Shelduck). I kept an eye on the fishing pits behind the bund and these provided plenty of Pochard and Tufted Duck plus plenty of Great Crested Grebes and even the odd Goldeneye. No raptors or owls today but a big pulse of Swallows with a few Sand Martins. As I was finishing my second sector over 75 Swallows magically appearred. This was cracking as a single copse had 5 species of warbler vocalising (cant really say singing as only the Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were really doing that). A Cetti's gave a brief burst of noise followed by a stuttering Sedge Warbler finding its vocal feet - perhaps a 1st summer bird? Maybe not being an early arrival. A Blackcap was sub-singing as well. I saw none of these naturally but it felt despite the showers and cool temperatures if there was a bit of migration going on.

Amongst the aythyas on one of the pits I found a 1st winter female Scaup, seemingly a different individual to last month which was on the pit next door and appeared to be an adult female. The new bird had a much smaller white blaze and was in messier plumage as well. No camera again due to the ever present threat of getting pissing wet through. Oh and my scope head returned so I got to remember how heavy lugging my scope/tripod combo about is. Even better for my back...

After I finished work I headed over to North Cave Wetlands in order to catch up with the Black-necked Grebes that had been present. Despite seeing dozens in Spain not long before its always nice to catch up with these beauties in god's own county. In this case three had dropped in - a pair which were like glue and a spare which stayed largely out of the way. I didnt see a great deal else although tonnes of hirundines were about and I saw my first House Martins of the year in North Cave itself. The Avocets were present in massive numbers and there were plenty of gulls about but my time was brief and I legged it.


Alan Whitehead said...

Happy Birthday James. You're only a youngster. I didn't start Birding until I was 32!

James said...

Cheers Alan - felt considerably older after a weekend on the pop.

How brains and birds become mutually exclusive