17th February. Two Tick Day

There I was, Wednesday night, settled in front of Hollyoaks whilst simultaneously surfing the world wide web, when a horrible feeling came over me , not the sight of Myra McQueen bending over the sofa (non Hollyoaks fans won't have a clue what the Hell I'm talking about) but the overpowering urge to twitch. Not just one lifer but possibly two - Oriental Turtle Dove and Slaty-backed Gull, or as my mate Andy subtly put it an escape and a hybrid!

The chance of a lift, with a couple of Leicester birders (Dave and Neil), was too good a chance to turn down, so I took it.
I didn't rate our chances highly. There was no access to the favoured garden of the dove and the gull was touring the tips like an Essex Pikey. Arriving mid-morning at the dove, to just a handful of observers, we were delighted when immediately a group of birds flushed in to a large ash with Neil picking the OTD up straight away. Jammy buggers!! We watched the dove for a good ten minutes occasionally through borrowed scopes (thanks Colin aka Beast) before retreating to the car for our own scopes. Typically once armed with our own equipment the bird failed to show! Positive news from Essex had us heading east.

Exactly a month back I was moaning about the fact that I had no urge to see this gull - so what had changed my opinion? I was actually inspired by Andy Lawson's shots of the bird. Whilst not the best, actually gave you a decent comparison against the other LWHG'. What an impressive looking brute of a bird.

Unfortunately it had left the marsh and headed back towards the tip when we arrived. However in keeping with or run of luck it was back on the marsh within a few minutes of us arriving. Despite being relatively distant views at 60x were excellent.

This was the view at 500mm.

Note the bubblegum pink legs and comparative massiveness almost the size of the accompanying heron!

So that was it, a filthy days twitching where I scored two lifers in the same day. Incidentally the last time I had two lifers in the same day was way back in 1996 Northern Waterthrush and the Great Dot.


Anonymous said...

Blimey, I've never inspired anyone before now!

Twitching is a small part of our hobby but it is great fun (or should be).

Glad you had a good day mate.



Anonymous said...

Good to have met you Mark...[especially on a day which exceeded all reasonable expectations]...!

Must admit...'those' photos of the SBG were getting to me bit...but now i can actually view them without feeling shit...

I just have one crucial identification matter to raise: were you scoffing sandwiches whilst watching the dove or were they in fact flattened baps...?

ps...Chris Heard hasn't been seen since our sighting on The Leys coz no-one can find him in his camo gear..[chuckle]..

pps...if i feel the urge, i will dust off me sanskrit birding diaries and find out when i last experienced a 'doubleday'...

Beast wishes....

Mark said...

It was good to meet you too Mr Beast ;).

Flattened baps hastily made before leaving the house. The day certainly deserved a celebratory pie or three.

Earl Gray or Dave for short! said...

and as Hannibal Smith would say "It's great when a Plan comes together!!"