Thursday 30th April 2009
I'm not very good at 'twitching'. Although I've been on a fair few over the years. I dither, and try to talk myself out of making the effort to go. I'm Lucky in that Ive got alot of very good birding friends who I could get a lift with but I put off asking until its too late. So when a Crested Lark is identified at Dungeness, Kent yesterday evening I decide to stop twitching. When its still there this morning I start again. Trouble is when I phone round now everybody is already there.
Anyway I respond to a pager message put out by a couple of lads from Lancashire. We arrange to meet at Corley services at 11.00ish and travel on from there. We arrived early afternoon and as we got out of the car saw a large, deep bodied Lark fly over our heads calling. It dropped down behind some Broom and the reaction of mass of of birders who were hurrying towards us confirmed that it was in fact the Crested Lark. The bird soon flew out into the open but was difficult to see in the heat haze. The next hour was spent trying to see the bird on the ground, but usually just as I got my scope on it, it flew, usually some distance. The gallery didnt help matters my following the bird about but on the other hand the bird was rarely in the open for any length of time and was hidden by vegetation so it was necessary to get into position to see along the shingle ridges. Finally I got some excellent views of the bird on the ground and retired to the cafe at the miniature railway station for a cup of tea and a sandwich.( I'd left my Gale's pastie at home). The Lancashire lads Paul and Dave were good company and we all had a good day. Arriving late we didn't have much time for general birding, but we did see Marsh Harrier, Wheatear, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail and Linnet.
P.S. The images of Crested Lark were taken in Lesbos two years ago. The Dungeness bird was nowhere near as obliging.