Tuesday, 17 November 2009


Glossy Ibis, Fisher's Mill - a great addition to the Warwickshire list.

I keep lists for fun. I've always kept lists of things that interest me from Butterflies to Breweries. Its a collecting instinct I suppose, but combine it with a love of Birds and its not surprising I spend so much time trying to see new species. Its not a competition I just enjoy seeing birds I haven't seen before whether they are in Europe, in the UK, in the Midlands, in Warwickshire or my garden. Its difficult to say which gives me the most pleasure to be honest: an exotic finch in Turkey, a Sandhill Crane on Orkney or a Purple Sandpiper at Draycote water. They were all great to see at the time. The Sandpiper is a case in point, a common enough bird on the North east coast but I was chuffed to bits to see one in my own County where records are like Hen's teeth. Its not just about the bird either, its the whole experience including the quality of views available, which could be down to the elusive nature of the bird or the numbers of people around also struggling for a view. Ticking a movement at the bottom of a hedge is not my idea of Birding no matter how far you've travelled or how long you have waited. I guess most birders are like that judging from the number of attempts some of them make to get a 'tickable view', although there are folk about who are slightly less discerning.
The Crested Lark was a case where the rarity value in terms of UK records was high but the total experience, the long drive, the difficult viewing, the crowd, the bird itself was a bit disappointing. In contrast the Eastern crowned Warbler was a great 'twitch'. The build up of excitement and anticipation as the dawn broke, great views (eventually), excellent viewing, the buzz of the assembled birders, the stunning little bird itself and the breakfast, made for a great experience. But you had to go for both of them if you could.

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