But things returned to normal later.
But things returned to normal later.
At last some recognition for my photographic prowess.
After the excitement of yesterday it was always going to be difficult for today to live up to it. So it was no surprise that today was a bit of a damp squib. With a stubborn blanket of fog over much of Sheffield I decided to head for Blacktoft with the thinking that I would at least be half way to most sites on the Yorks/Lincs coast. Blacktoft was surprisingly devoid of spotters but also pretty empty on the bird front. However I did have a Bittern and several Bearded Tits. A mass clear out on the east coast was evident and no new birds were being found so the chance of a few juicy morsels was unlikely so I went home for a nap!
On the way to Blacktoft I called at the service area just off the M62 where I had a hot tip of hot pies. This tip off prooved right as hot pies were indeed on offer, albeit a whopping £1.55. I went for a Chicken and Mushroom. A tasty specimen with a light shortcrust pastry. I would have awarded it 10 points, instead of 8, however whilst trying to eat and drive it broke in two and the volcanic juices leaked out whilst it was on my lap and found their way into my groin!!
Prints available on request!!
Mean while on Shetland the shit was well and truly hitting the fan. A call to Rob revealed his whereabouts as "stuck on Fair Isle" - there's worse places. However A Sykes Warbler at Sumburgh Farm was quite frustrating for the poor lad - so much so that he couldn't be arsed to have a look at what would have been his 3rd Siberian Thrush (Git) but consoled himself in finding another Arctic Warbler.
Back at work for 1:30 meant I could keep on the right side of my very understanding manager. Though the same cannot be said for my ex who questioned the logic of taking Beth to see a Brown Shrike (she was off school with a nasty cough), for fu**s sake it's a Brown Shrike what more need I say?? For the record Beth ticked Red-backed Shrike after Brown - way to go!! Hopefully more of the same tomorrow as I'm off all day.
Alkborough Flatts is only a mile, as the crow flies, from Blacktoft, but unfortunately 22 miles by road!! Unfortunately the phalarope had vanished and the heat haze made it very difficult to see anything. After 45 minutes of eye straining I'd had enough and decided to try for the Pecs. Hatfield Moors is a vast wasteland of post peat extraction land and like a giant maze. In short I got hopelessly lost and pissed off with the sun so we went home.
Charming greeting as you enter North Lincs
This morning was spent ringing at Ramsley After setting 5 nets up we were put to work with a constant supply of Lesser Redpoll. In the end we had rung around 180 though interestingly none were re-traps suggesting that there is a hell of a lot of Redpolls going through there, over 300 had been rung this week prior to today. By 11am we were knackered and fortunately the nets were empty so we packed up.
I was awoken from my much needed afternoon nap with a call from Andy D informing me of a Honey Buzzard over Treeton. This prompted me out in to the garden where almost immediately the dark sillouette of a Buzzard was picked up over Aston Church. Unfortunately this bird was a Common Buzzard but encouraged me to spend a bit more time out there staring at the sky, even if I was pushing the lawn mower at the time!!
Almost as good as these shots
Orgreave held one migrant a Common Sand and 10 Teal. Whiston/Treeton Meadows was marginally better with a juv Whitethroat and several Chiffies, though a flock of around 30 Yellowhammers reminded me of ye old days.
Highlight of the morning was a visit to Morrisons to purchase two exquisite steak pies. These really were 10 pointers and enhanced by the fact that they were eaten whilst birding Orgreave from the footbridge.
Other sites were equally crap with two Snipe at Pit-house West being the only birds of note!
End of sermon.
Three weeks to Shetland
Can't be arsed with all this predicting 'rares' nonsense, however I predict a large fall of pies in the Sandwick area around 10am on the 6th. Among the usual 'common' will be the odd 'scarce'( lasagne pie) and possibly the odd 'rare' (macaroni cheese pie) I doubt this year will see the appearance of any 'giga rares' (mushroom and tofu) but one never knows.
Talking of predictions
Me thinks that the Punks are hiding something.
The guys in the Northwest appear to have found a way around the 'credit crunch' simply stick out news of a couple of 'rares' and an 'ultra rare' to keep the phone lines bustling. Don't worry that they'll all turn out to be utter bollocks and that the Northwest will get a reputation for being ultra stringy the money will keep rolling in.
Recent Strings from the NW:
Cowbird = Blackbird
Whiskered Tern = Arctic Tern
Sharp-tailed Sand' = Ruff
Steak and Kidney = Mince and Onion
Awesome White Dog Shit found in the Canaries HERE
A late morning visit to the patch armed with the Hubble Telescope proved worthwhile with, 8 Cormorants, 9 Grey Herons, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and best of all a Sanderling.
The rain came around 9.00 so the nets were taken down and we moved on to Carr Vale to trap House Martins. The two nets set up proved ample for this and a constant stream of Martins kept us more than busy. Having never handled any hirundines before I wasn't prepared for the hideous looking parasitic flat flies which were duly removed and squashed. In all we rang around 60 House Martins in just over an hour with all but one being juveniles.
Pie stop Number 1 Sandwick Bakery
The Northern Isles premier pie stop. Beware they soon run out particularly around the local schools lunchtime and they don't open Sunday's. Near to Hoswick Hotel which always has a few specimens of interest in the garden.
Pie stop Number 2 Toab Post Office
The very friendly people of Toab Post Office http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/531829 always welcome birders and their appetites. For a small shop they sell a surprising amount of provisions including super noodles and string. Pies are supplied by Sandwick and Walls Bakeries http://www.wallsbakery.co.uk/ among others. A good variety of alcohol is stocked though the cheapest of the cheap whisky is usually out of stock by the 20th October. Certainly one of the most fruitful of birding areas with 2 Pechora Pipits being just a Scotch Eggs throw away in recent years.Further pie establishments will follow with any additional (Shetland) stockists welcomed (photos would be good Rob/Russ)