29th August. Zoo Zoo how about you?

Had a splendid day at Chester Zoo today. Managed a couple of ticks in the shape of Hooded Merganser and White-headed Duck. Obviously I didn't tick any of the stuff in aviaries as these were clearly escapes. The Hooded Mergansers were clearly wild as they were showing much further away than the Dorset bird which is obviously wild due to the amount of times it has appeared on the pager.

27th August. Black Outing

Decided to go for the Black Stork near York this morning. On arrival we were told it had disappeared down a ditch and hadn't been seen for over an hour. Fortunately it obliged almost straight away and gave decent views albeit distantly. Most impressive was Beth's ability to pick it up before the amassed crowd by spotting its crown just poking out of the ditch. Not the most impressive of birds but actually the first I've seen in England, the previous two being in Wales.

Next stop was Blacktoft Sands where the waders on offer were frankly disappointing. Perhaps I should post something on Surfbirds in block capitals berating the warden for the poor up keep of the reserve! I would if that were my opinion but it isn't in fact they appear to be doing a great job, what with 2 successful pairs of Bittern and 20+ young Marsh Harriers fledged. So in keeping with the mouth of the south's block capital rants this would be more appropriate (the lack of punctuation is intentional): THE MANAGEMENT OF BLACKTOFT SANDS WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT THE RESERVE IS NOT MANAGED FOR THE BENEFIT OF PHOTOGRAPHERS BUT FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE BIRDS AND OTHER RESIDENT WILDLIFE

Autumn really seems to have kicked off today with an array of tempting morsels in Eire. Eire is of course not part of the British Isles, so it always bemuses why some birders include it in their British list totals - but what does it matter. Anyhow my spidey sense is sensing big things this weekend and I can't get the word Willet out of my head for some reason!!

24th August. Tower of Love and a Shag!

Thanks to Dave P for posting me this link Tower of Love Nice to see that unlike the Towers and the average birders marriage Keith and Claire are still going strong.

A morning visit to Orgreave, Whiston Meadows and Pit-house West produced Jack Shit!! On the way to take Beth for a horse riding lesson I was informed of a Shag at RV. Well, being a bank holiday that wasn't that surprising given the amount of white lightning fuelled totty that would be there. Enough of the teenage wit, there really was a Shag on the reserve, a rather dull looking juvenile sat looking sorry for itself on the islands that it had unfortunately mistaken for coastal cliffs!

Shag or driftwood

21st - 22nd August. Wader Action

First visit of the week to the Orgreave Opencast produced 1 or 2 waders and I mean 1 or 2! Viewing distantly from the metal footbridge I picked up Common Sandpiper and Ringed Plover - I can hardly contain myself whoopee do.

Things picked up on Friday with a single Dunlin showing well down to about 500 ft (you may by now be sensing a hint of sarcasm). Viewing here is a little distant to say the least but the potential of this site out ways the shit views (I have keep telling myself that!!). A sudden scattering of the pre-roost gulls gave me the opportunity to impress Jo with my skills by suggesting that a raptor was probably in the area. Sure enough a pair of Peregrines appeared on cue leaving my reputation intact (not sure that's a good thing!). I couldn't help but feel sorry for this pair knowing that their favourite roost site, the Tinsley Towers is about to be blown up. A quick search of Google produces wealth of interesting websites about these iconic landmarks such as this. However not all of them are what they seem

Whiston Meadows was disappointing as usual with just a few Lapwings. Some moron had decided to set fire to a gate in the car park though with a few discarded water bottles, from the boot, I soon had it under control!

15-17th August. V Festival

A long weekend at the V Festival in Chelmsford meant no birding. Being my first ever festival I was a little concerned about the lack of cleansing facilities and filthy toilets, not to mention the lousy looking forecast. All of these turned out to be unfounded as the toilets weren't too bad and the weather was great. I was considering taking the DSLR expecting the acts to be somewhat distant, however the following photos were taken with my Samsung NV3 showing just how close we got. On the down side there was only one pie stall and I never got the chance to sample.

Alanis Morissete

Amy Macdonald


The ginger one really is as bad as she looks on the telly!!

Knees up mother Brown!

Lenny Kravitz


Squeeze minus Jools


All quiet on the blogging front.

It would appear that blog apathy is prevalent among us birding bloggers at the moment. Either that or it's just shit everywhere. I suspect it's a bit of both. An indication of just how bad it's been is the fact that I've almost gone a whole year without a lifer. The last tick I had was the very splendid Brown Flycatcher at Flamborough. My chances of making it to 500 by the time I'm forty is looking slim. However if I follow the guidelines of the IQ 40 club then I made it to 500 yonks ago - hurrah I'll expect my certificate in the post Lee.

This weekend sees the dude fest that is the Bird Fair taking place at Rutland Water. However I will be in a field in Chav soaked Essex at the V Festival with lots of great music to enjoy, my personal highlight being Girls Aloud. Blurry photos to follow possibly.

Congratulations to Mr Fray on finding Britain's largest ever flock of Two-barred Crossbills last week at Sumburgh head. I rang to inform him that according to the one eyed prophet his sighting was a new record, only for Rob to be texted 2 minutes later with the joyous news of 9 on Fair Isle.

3rd August. Not much happening.

Not much happening of late, though to be honest I haven't been out that much. Managed a six hour ringing stint at Williamthorpe this morning. Very small numbers of passerines hinted at a dreadful breeding season. Managed a few extractions (not the dental kind) which really is the tricky part of ringing requiring the utmost dexterity and patience.

In the style of Mckinney I'll fill up these pages with some holiday snaps and gratuitous swearing.

European Eagle Owl cute though evil looking f****r

Azure-winged Magpie