25th May. Thirty Year Gap

Settling down for an evening with my new edition Crossbill guide to Extremadura I was rudely distracted by a phone call from Andy. A thought occurred to me, during the split second that passed before I answered it, that this was it some fly by night had called in to the patch on my day off and scored the big one! I had commented to Jo the previous evening that they would be a Red-necked Phalarope at Orgreave tomorrow i.e. today, which was actually yesterday as I am writing this today! Anyhow I digress - which is posh talk for talking bollocks! Andy had kindly called to say that there was indeed a Red-necked Phalarope - but that it was at Middleton Moor about as far away in the 'Sheffield area' as it possibly could be! Anyway an hours drive later (yes it really is that far away) I was watching a cracking female Red-necked Phal' amazingly the first record in 'Sheffield' for thirty years, the previous bird being at the very same site!

Quite possibly the worst photo you'll ever see of such a stunning bird

It's always struck me that the 'Sheffield Area' is a bit of an oddity (at least when it comes to recording areas)with some very strange boundaries. It comprises 10 12km squares, 6 of which are in Derbyshire, 1.5 in Rotherham, a couple of bits in Barnsley and Doncaster with the remainder within the city boundaries of Sheffield! Odd I know, when you look at it, it looks as though a couple of blokes pulled out a map stuck drawing pins in their favourite sites then pulled an elastic band around them, thus creating the Sheffield area. The beauty of this method is that now and again when you need to you can pull the rubber band out just a bit further!


Anonymous said...

A brilliant bird, found I think by a birder who has been watching the site since around the time of the first one there. 30 years of pulling in quality waders- an amazing record, possibly only equaled by RVCP!!! I wish I lived closer,,,

thedrunkbirder said...

Any Dark-green Frits out Mark? I guess it would be a bit too early but everything has been very early this year.
I remember seeing a Grey-headed Gull at Middleton Moor back in 96 or 97.

Anonymous said...

Sadly the site might not be around much longer. The Glebe/Ineos Fluorspar mine has been sold to mexican outfit mexichem, and if production stops it's likely the lagoons will be lost.

Mark said...

Sad news indeed, both for the lagoons and the affected workers. Seems that with the loss of this site, the continued encroaching vegetation at RV and the limited lifespan of Orgreave, wader sites within the Sheffield area will soon be non-existent - we could always pull that rubber band towards Wath!