28th July. Hanging out at Rother Valley

Whilst browsing through Sheffield's Westside magazine, a publication for toffs in the ConDem safety zone, I came across an article on places to visit around Sheffield. It seems that I've been missing more than birds at Rother Valley!!

Fun in the bushes.

Local nudey birders Mr and Mrs Morecock commented yesterday that they "love the park particularly it's damp bushy areas" Mrs Morecock said "my husband can't keep away he loves the Great Tits and even saw a red rump there in May" Mr Morecock's claim that he had a young Shag there last autumn is currently the subject of an ongoing police investigation!

21st June. Goodbye Frank

Just read the sad news of the Bard of Timperley my thoughts go out to Little Frank and of course Frank's uncle. Papermache based comedy will never be the same.

RIP Frank

13th June. Little Things Amuse Little Minds

I decided to venture out this evening which, given the torrential rain and general lack of birds, can only be described as madness. On arrival at Orgreave I did consider getting back in the car but insanity got the best of me and I endured a soaking reminiscent of the 2007 floods. However I did manage a nice pactch tick in the form of a 1st summer Little Gull.

Whilst on the subject of birds with the word Little in them. Whilst I'm sure that the sound of a 'singing' Little Shearwater amongst a throng of Manxies could be described as evocative, I'm equally sure that every sucker paying £70 for the privilege of hearing it is a right lying bastard when they say "they went for the experience". Bollocks! You went because you were hoping that some naughty birder might have sneaked on board his 5 billion candle power torch along with Captain Pugwash's sounds of the seabirds volume 1 and that by doing so you could tick it with a clear conscience, after all it wasn't you that broke the law. Remember that Scops Owl in Oxfordshire? How many went along for the experience, just so they could hear it's wondrous call whilst sipping real ale on a balmy summers evening? None, that's right not one of us tick hungry whores went along to listen to that. No instead we followed the guys with the big torches dumping them when their batteries died and finally standing in an orderly queue whilst the bloke with the biggest torch and the freshest batteries flashed the Scops until we were satisfied and the Owls pupils were the size of a mouse's Japs eye! Experience don't make me laugh!!

11th June. BBRC Member in Pie Shame Scandal

I was recently provided with photographic evidence that a well respected member of the BBRC has been dabbling with the fine art of savoury production. Sadly no description was submitted the creator feeling that his reputation and photographic evidence would suffice. Well sir I can tell you now that submission of pies must be received with the relevant documentation i.e filling type, pastry type and where possible a sample of said pie should be provided in an airtight container, preferably with a side order of mushy peas and gravy. An email to the submitter requesting the pies authenticity failed to draw a response, either to its provenance or as to what accompanying condiments were served. On this occasion the BPRC found the lack of description unacceptable, though given that photographic evidence was provided were satisfied that a pie ssp had occurred in the Upperthorpe area of Sheffield during June 2010. Future submitters might take note of the above shoddy work when faced with the possibility of scarce/rare pastry products.

Close examination of the pie reveals the presence of a pair of Pie Birds nestling among the nonspecific pastry. Sonogram analysis recorded at 180 degrees centigrade indicated that these birds were well and truly dead - shame on you Mr G!

A more satisfying record was received from a Mr Hague (formerly of Hoyland, Barnsley) who sent in a near perfect description complete with photos of two Pieminister pies that he recently scoffed in Wiltshire - whilst on a trip to tick the nearby Great Bustards. The two pies in question a Matador and a Mr Porky (that's the pie not Mr Hague) were described well and a feature on their tricky separation will appear somewhere soon.

5th June. The End of Spring (probably)

Whilst the rest of the household weep over a dancing dog I decided to sum up the last two weeks of spring, at least from my point of view. Too many blockers unblocked and no shiny new ticks for my dusty old tick list and that's about it. Highlight eventually was the Old Moor Savi's Warbler which after three attempts, two portions of fish and chips, a Mcdonalds breakfast and a 4am start made it on to my Yorkshire list*. Even Jo was impressed and to her credit never complained about being dragged out of bed at silly o'clock.

It was nice to be acquainted with the old Wath Ings hide even if it was now heavily fortified by barbed wire due to it being some kind of protected birding shrine.

The shrine of Wath Mecca where South Yorkshire birders raised in the 70's/80's go to pray.

Following a disappointing weekend - where was that pant filler from the Russian Steppes? We embarked on a four day trip to Northumberland. We managed to miss a Black Kite almost over the caravan site and a White-billed Diver off Holy Island. But at least we saw some Puffins and a few Arctic Terns

And a Shag is always nice where ever you are (sorry)

Whilst away a couple of blockers fell by the wayside namely Trumpeter Finch and Marmora's Warbler, but the biggest surprise was the five Black-winged Stilts arriving at Titchwell. Surely more than a coincidence - are these relatives in search of answers regarding the mysterious disappearance of their brother Sammy or have they just got pissed off with the tongue tied meanderings of Packham and his bitch Humble and simply made a break from the confines of Pensthorpe? A lasting memory of Sammy below and another vain attempt to get McKinney back on the birding blog scene - come on Tom it's been shit since you went.

*Yorkshire List. For the first time ever I foolishly counted up my Yorkshire list and now the urge to see more has taken control. Though there are a few glaring omissions on there so I might not need to put in too much effort.