Auld Lang Syne

I was going to sit down and trawl through my birding year but frankly I can't be arsed. My year started like everyone else's in January and finished in December. In between I saw some birds, found some birds and dipped some. Birding highlights of the year included finding some local scarce namely Long-tailed Duck, Little Egret and three Cetti's Warblers. National birding trips were few and far between with the two of the three trips for lifers ending in failure, Crested Lark and Royal Tern. Shetland again came good with self founds in the shape of Little Bunting, 2 Bluethroats, Common Rosefinch and several Yellow-browed Warblers. Highlight of the trip however was helping to nail the I.D of the Scatness Lancy with some rather unorthodox field techniques which basically involved rattling off some record shots then whilst still in the field downloading comparison images via the iphone enabling us to make a positive I.D of this particularly tricky little bugger. Was this the first instance of cyber birding in the field - maybe not but certainly not the last.

The first 'cyber' Lancy

Low points of the year were the aforementioned dips, that 'thrush' at Sumburgh and missing what would have been my fourth Cetti's. But the lowest point was up until now known only to me and takes us back to Shetland at the beginning of our trip. The Llama picked up a pipit calling overhead which dropped in to the edge of the Virkie crop field almost immediately I got on to it and dismissed it as a Tree Pipit it hopped straight into the turnips and only came out when I played the ipod at it - which with hindsight was a bit dumb as it immediately shot up in the air and vanished! I suspect that I screwed that one up as as it turned out October 2009 was somewhat of a record year for Olive-backed Pipit on Shetland and as most birders know OBP's do call like Tree Pipits and don't always look... well... olive! Sorry Andy I suspect I dropped a bollock - it's been on my mind since that claggy day in October and now I must cleanse my soul before this year ends.

A few people (and it is only a few) have said they enjoy the blog but that they don't get the pie thing! The pie thing goes back a few years when Rob first moved up north and had an uncanny knack of finding 'rare or scarce' whilst walking from Sunnydell to the Toab shop usually to purchase fags and a pie. One occasion involved Rob walking out of the Toab shop clutching a half eaten chicken in white sauce (a particular favourite of mine) whilst picking up an overhead flying crane - and that's just about it really we (I) like pies they're more compact and tastier than sandwiches and can in times of trouble be used as weapons. I won't be surprised if you still don't get the pie thing!
A few less of these won't hurt.

Well I said I wasn't going to trawl through the year and I haven't much have I?
What will 2010 bring? How the hell do I know but one thing's for sure there will be more patchwork and even less twitching. The Shetland flights are already booked as are a couple of mainland trips, Cornwall in August, Northumberland in May. One thing I hope is certain is that I'll continue to enjoy my birding more as I have done for the last couple of years.


alan tilmouth said...

Best dust off the red carpet for May then hadnt I.

There was a Pie thing? (who knew)

Best Wishes for the New Year

The Leicester Llama said...

Fucking hell Mark - I knew I should have come over and looked at that pipit for myself!!!

Anonymous said...

oops! LOL

Mark said...

Andy. In the couple of seconds views I had it did strike me as a Tree Pipit - but with hindsight I would have liked to have had a better look.