28th April. Obstacle Course

This lunchtime I had the need to make a deposit at the bank. Unfortunately this involves running the gaunlet of Big Issue sellers, Bible Bashers, Scroungers and general hawkers. To make my journey bearable I purchased a Supreme Cornish from Greggs. Their shops might be full of Chavs and brain dead staff but their marketing guys have it sussed - it takes exactly one Supreme Cornish to get from their Pinstone Street store to their Fargate store by which time you're ready for another, fortunately I'm made of stronger stuff and declined the opportunity.
A brief evening visit to RV revealed lots of Swifts and the Wigeon still annoyingly present and some more crap photos were taken.

27th April: Puffin Stroking

Jo was quite incistent that we visit Flamborough Head for the King Eider, so being weak individual that I am I felt I must follow orders. Arriving at North Landing at midday we were reassuringly informed by John Hague that it was showing. A short walk and we were scoping it just off Holland. Fortunately it gradually drifted closer out of the sea fret and some piss poor shots were taken.

Following the Eider the obligatory visit to Bempton for some Auk stroking seemed in order. A Gropper was singing from just outside the visitors centre and the worlds most obliging Tree Sparrows were in the car park until I thought about showing them some photograhpic interest. All the normal fare was on show but for information there's shit loads more Puffins at North Landing!

26th April: Spring Like

An early start this morning with a walk around the Reserve produced little except for 3 Lesser Whitethroats,an abundance of Whitethroats and the American Wigeon. An attempt to stalk the Wigeon (inside the Reserve) failed, showing just how warey and wild this bird is. I must invest in a camoflauge suit to hide myself in!! My first Swifts were noted with at least a dozen over the Reserve. A very obliging Goosander sat on the bank of the Rother appeared to have a damaged wing - choosing to swim off rather than fly.

By midday the temperature were positively balmy (well almost) at Pit-house West the first Reed Warbler was singing from the base of a very sorry looking reed bed and a pair of Wheatears by the Swallownest entrance.


Okay so I haven't watched them for years and to be honest my love of the game was pushed aside by birding. But I can't help but feel angry about the way Ken Booth and family continue to abuse this minnow of the Football League. With his demands, akin to a Hollywood diva, Mr Booth is bringing this club to it's knees and scaring off just about every potential buyer. If the club do fold perhaps the good people of Rotherham will see fit to hang Mr Booth from one of his scrapyard cranes by his wrinkly old scrotum.

On the bird front the American Wigeon is still at RV - though I wish it would do the decent thing and head north before its reputation becomes tainted.

23rd April. Hail the dragon slayer

That Saint George had the right idea when faced with a problematic reptile - kill the bastard. If only it was that easy and legal. Hail to dragon slayers everywhere.

A nice evening stroll around RV's Main Lake produced diddly squat, but a quick scan of the Reserve from the car window proved otherwise. Whilst checking a party of Tufted Ducks I glanced a Wigeon with an obvious white rear flank. My mind raced back to my New Year Shetland trip when a similar sight caught my eye - SHIT!! American Wigeon. After fighting Beth's bike to get to my scope I found myself watching the Sheffield areas first American Wigeon - hoorah. Okay it's not the rarest bird in the world but it still gets you that all too unfamiliar rare bird buzz. The irony of all this is that every winter we get in excess of 300 Wigeon down here which we thoroughly check specifically for its American cousin. The total wigeon present today was 2 Common Wigeon and 1 American Wigeon!!

20th April. Larking Around.

Another dreary dismal morning at RV produced just 3 Yellow Wagtails during a two hour walk. Back home for some DIY, which was interrupted by a couple of 'mega alerts' from RBA. Both alerts were of rare Larks; Calandra Lark and the ultra rare Black Lark. Fortunately with both of these on the list it was easy to carry on banging and screwing. The latter bird was added to my list some 5 years ago when most birders managed to see the South Stack bird. The former however was only added two years ago, on the Isle of May, after a nightmare boat crossing on an inflatable dingy thing. This, I can honestly say, was the single most frightening thing I have ever done I think the photos speak for themselves.
Our Father...........
Deliver us from evil.....

18th April. Tea Time Fly Overs

Having just returned home from a rather successful visit to the solicitor, I looked out of the living room window and spotted a couple of distant Terns. As they came closer It was obvious that they were both Common Terns and my first of the year. Cheered up even more I sat down to my tea. Unfortunately my splendour was cut short when I received a call informing me to get out into the garden as Roy Twigg was watching a couple of Common Cranes drifting north through RV, possibly over my house!! Legging it , in stocking feet, onto the sodden lawn must have given the neighbours something to laugh about - but not me I couldn't find the buggers. Things got worse when I phoned RT who informed me he was still watching them but now over Treeton which mean they could not be seen from the garden - bollocks!!!

17th April. Snow (can't think of anything witty!!)

Whilst waking at 2.30am for a call of nature I sneaked a look out of the window, a curious habit I have from when I lived in a particularly iffy area, and did a double take! Two inch of snow in mid April! Where was the hyped up weather report warning of impending doom? There weren't any, probably because there was no danger of a snow flake landing on Canary Wharf. Anyway by the time we got up it was starting to thaw.

Greetings from Snowy Sheffield. Interestingly the chimney in the foreground used to be a top spot for seeing Black Redstarts, but not since they turned the building into poncey flats.

14th April. Too much cheese

I should be writing about all the variety of migrants that I've seen over the last few days, but infact I've seen very little, just a couple of Common Sandpipers and a female Wheatear at PH West. Although I did have 3 Swifts last night - which is a lie unless you count birds that you dream about. Strangely bird dominated dreams seem to be a feature at the moment with a dream about a Bullfinch on my nuts the night before!! Perhaps tonight I'll dream about a vulture in the Moorgate area of Rotherham.

8th April. Still cold

Having a mid-morning physio appointment meant that I could sneak a couple of hours birding in before work. Arriving in the Watersports CarPark at RV I was impressed to see a couple of hundred Sand Martins lined up on the boat compound fence at just a few yards range. Fortunately I had the camera at the side of me so would be able to get some rather nice shots of them huddled together. Wrong! I switched the camera on to be created with a large 'E' which basically means there's no memory card in it - what a tit!! I decided to nip back home and get one and returned some 15 minutes later when all the Martins were flying around the Main Lake - Bastards!!

One that didn't get away

A nice Swallow

6th April. Brrrrrr

What a difference a few days makes. Thursday I was poncing around in a 'T' Shirt by Sunday the thermals were back on. Not quite sure how the hirundines cope with this weather but they seemed to be as a couple of hundred were feeding around the Main Lake. At Pit-house West 3 Willow Warblers were singing, Little Ringed Plover and 3 Redshanks on the Flashes and a single White Wagtail by the large manure heap opposite 'The Green'.

With the cold weather in mind we went home and booked a few, hopefully, hot days in Extremadura in June.

3rd April. Scorchio

Well not quite but it certainly felt like the warmest day of the year so far. An early (ish) visit to Pit-house West produced the first Little Ringed Plovers of the year with a party of 3 on the flashes.
A walk around Meadowgate lake was almost worthless except for singing Blackcap and Willow Warbler.

Another visit, late afternoon, gave me a chance for some photography in the fine sunshine.

The resident Shelduck and its adopted family