28th November. Sitting Ducks

With a tip off that DEFRA would be on site from 6:30am a couple of us nipped down an hour before with the intention of flushing any wildfowl that might remain following the previous evenings flushing. Things looked good, lots of noise made and the remaining ducks eventually flushed. When we managed to flush a party of Canada Geese we were convinced that we'd succeeded in our mission.

The DEFRA taskforce arrived on mass at 07:30, 6 4X4's and 6 motor boats. Dawn broke and the result of our efforts were revealed a raft of Pochard with 20+ Ruddy Ducks among them. The slaughter commenced!! By 8:40 the bulk of the Ruddies had been cleaned up with around 10 birds remaining. Having had to leave for parental duties at 7:20 I returned at 8:40, lost the plot a bit, stuck on my HI-Viz and jumped the wire fence and sat myself stubbornly at the waters edge taking photos of the ensuing massacre. At first it seemed to work the guns went quiet. After a short break the boats started to head towards me and it soon became clear that they intended to drive the birds away from me. This seemed to piss them off a bit but after an hour they had rounded the last one and started to pack up.

One of the few remaining in the foreground whilst another is scooped up

I think I was starting to get to piss them off a bit

Another one bites the dust

With just a couple left the hunters took to rounding then up and forcing them towards the hidden guns.


24th November. Goodbye Mister Tom

After over three years Tom has finally run out of swear words and stepped down as the birding worlds professor of profanity. No longer will we be entertained by the great man's wit and satire, where updates were more eagerly awaited than the bumper Christmas edition of Razzle.

R.I.P Skills and Bills

22nd November. RUDDY HELL

Just when I thought that there would be no controversy this weekend, in drops an alarming email in my inbox. Apparently the Bastards from DEFRA will be descending on RVCP this week to 'cull' the Ruddy Duck population! Now I've never witnessed any of DEFRA's tactics (if they indeed have any) but it strikes me that as soon as these 'bounty hunters' set foot in the reserve the whole range of wildfowl will take to the sky just how do they pick out the Ruddies from the rest. I could go on all night about how wrong this scheme is, you only need to Google 'Ruddy Duck Cull' to find out for yourself!

22nd November.

Following a blank year on the Bittern front at Pit-house West I was encouraged to here that one of the RV rangers had brief view last week. Rather fortunately I found it feeding at the edge of the reeds almost immediately and Beth and I had excellent views for around 40 minutes.

There two posts without any controversy, though rather quite boring!!

21st November. Local Birding

Having not been out locally in anger since my return from Shetland I took advantage of a day off and some sun.

First stop Orgreave Flash was just about devoid of life and noticeably the water levels had increased significantly and already in it's early life it's starting to look a bit sterile!

A surprise and a patch tick at Blue Man's Bower was a Green Sandpiper. Also there 10 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 2 Redshank and 2 Snipe.

I was then torn between staying in the Rother Valley or heading west, I foolishly decided on the latter drawn by a flock of Waxwings at Crosspool. On arriving at least 20 Waxwings were heading over the houses and appeared to carry on going. I couldn't be arsed hanging around as given the poor light and wind I was never going to get any decent photos even if they did come back into the trees. A Great Grey Shrike in the Leash Fen area had been present for at least a fortnight with the chance of a few Short-eared Owls and perhaps a Hen Harrier or two. Unfortunately none of the aforementioned were around though a couple of showy Stonechats provided minor consolation.

19th November. Shame

It would appear that naming and shaming is in vogue this month. Latest victims being the entire membership of the BNP. Unfortunately it was promptly removed from the net which is a shame as I'm sure that there would have been a few birders lurking in there somewhere, a bit like the police's list of wanted kiddie fiddlers several years ago! Can't understand why these far right Natzi's are up in arms about it? It could be a lot worse imagine the shame if the membership of the UK400 club was revealed!!

With a long (cold) weekend coming up I will hopefully have some birding to report on. Failing that there's bound to be some twat out there worth writing about. Who knows it might even be me!!

16th November. Tied Up With String

A much more pleasant mornings birding than last Sunday with the monthly WEBS count to do and a guarantee of no crowds and more importantly no badly behaved morons. The count at RVCP is never straight forward as it involves counting several lakes over around a three hour period, so the possibility of counting the same birds twice is always possible. However I persevered and by 11am had amassed a higher than normal tally of ducks various. I've a feeling that this winter is going to be a good one!

Glancing through the pages of the local groups website I couldn't help but notice that a number of interesting records are appearing from certain regular individuals. Now I'm no cynic but the word stringy keeps springing to mind. One record involves 3 Water Pipits at one site. Now I am familiar with this site and must say that a record of a Water Pipit at this site would not be remarkable - but three birds! Not impossible but what strikes me is the fact that the records states 9 Pied Wagtails and 3 Water Pipits - no mention of any Meadow Pipits which I suspect is what these birds really were. That's the trouble with birding websites that publish sightings along with the observers name (which I have been guilty of hosting in the past) - everyone wants to see their name in lights, though some a little more than others. However they do need a little policing based around local knowledge of local birders. I did say I wasn't a cynic and I maintain that - more of a realist!

13th November. Relax

Crop tramplers and trespassers can rest in peace this weekend as I'm stuck at home decorating!!

With no daylight prior and after work it was pleasing to get a female Peregrine, carrying a feathered rat, from the office window this morning.

13th November. Abhorrent Posting

According to 'Britain's Top Birder' posting pictures on Surfbirds of twats trespassing is abhorrent! Not surprisingly no one has asked me to remove this and 'Britain's Top Birder' has not contacted me regarding my stance on this. Taking 'Britain's Top Birders comments on board I have removed the identifiable images and replaced them with the image below.

Let's just look at the cute puppy and pretend none of this ever happened

10th November. Name and Shame

I have been pleasantly surprised by the positive comments regarding yesterdays posting. However many of the comments have mentioned how it was the kind of behaviour that I witnessed yesterday that forced them to pack in twitching. It seems a shame that this is the case and with this in mind I will endeavour to name and shame any future bad behaviour that I might come accross - you have been warned!

9th November. Seals and some ranting!

The Seals at Donna Nook are an annual event in my calendar so having planned this trip over a week ago the added bonus of a couple of decent 'rares' made it more the worthwhile.
Not wanting to push my luck too much I decided to do the seals first (not in the biblical sense of course). As is the norm there was lots of "ooh"ing and "aah"ing at the baby seals. There were a few birds namely 4 Snow Buntings and a House Martin, flying around with a large flock of Starlings and a couple of skeins of Pink-feet.

First birding stop was the female Desert Wheatear at nearby Saltfleet Haven. Not the most obliging Desert Wheatear that I've ever seen but it did eventually come close enough for some record shots.
Now for a rant with some minor swearing

It's a long while since there's been a twitchable Steppe Grey Shrike in Britain, so a very obliging individual near Grainthorpe would have been tempting even without the seals. It sounded flawless, walk around a mile and half and the bird would be showing very well. There was even the 'view from a sensible distance' message on the pager. So after a slog across the floodbank we arrived where the bird had been showing well. Unfortunately my arrival coincided with the outing of the mentally challenged f**kwits annual birding trip. To me 'keep at a sensible distance' means don't chase the little bastard around all afternoon pissing off everyone else present. Which is why I only got this record shot.

Anyone who has decent frame filling images was definitely not keeping at a sensible distance. Apart from the flushing behaviour several birders thought nothing wrong with standing on the farmers kale crop, despite the path being wide enough to get a bus down. Bad behaviour at a bird really pisses me off it is an all too common occurrence these days, with larger than ever numbers of birders behaving like selfish morons. After a while I got pissed off with the flushing tactics but more so the blatant ignorant twats trampling on the crops. A suggestion (ok it was a little patronising) to a group crop tramplers that it might not be the best of ideas to walk all over the crops was met with a torrent of abuse particularly from a talentless fat bastard in a Manure FC hat. Well fatty I got a photo of you and your mates for my name and shame gallery below.

Image removed. Copies available on request!

Another Wanker

This also includes a photographer wandering around amiously who later had the shrike at his feet along with Lincolnshire's long standing flusher who despite agreeing with me re the crops wandered straight in to them oblivious to my dropped jaw. By now I'd had enough and decided to head back. Things picked up on the way back, a figure running towards us like the bionic man turned out to be LGRE on a year listing mission complete with his hangers on. This amused Jo and Beth as neither had ever met the 'legend' in the flesh confirming that he truly is not all there. However I'd rather have a bus load of Lee clones than the pricks I had to tolerate earlier!!


I was probably a little unfair in stating that all frame filling images were a result of getting too close. This bird does come close, but during my visit it was pushed right down the lane and would I'm sure have come close if people had stopped charging at it.

5th November. Bearded Tit

Back in the early eighties, when I first started birding, I used to look up to Odd Billie as the only proper celebrity bird watcher of the time. I read and read Little Black Bird Book until it literally fell to pieces never getting bored of it. Sadly now he's a annoying twat!!
Until last night I had managed to avoid Autumn Watch, but last night I stumbled across it quite by accident. The fat pompous turd started going on about the recent birding highlights of the autumn starting with an 'amusing' story about how birdwatchers were watching a 'rare' American Nighthawk when suddenly, in front of their eyes, a car ran over it! Hilarious tabloid humour Bill, though totally untrue. The Nighthawk was picked up dead at the side of the road having probably been run over and in fact was never actually seen alive by any birders. The next story was about how 5000 'twitchers' had dashed to West Cornwall for the Alder Flycatcher - 5000 my arse!! Bill finished off by twitching a pile of plastic shit at Radipole after embarrassing a group of birders at Portland.
Bill. Do us all a favour and phone up some old Seventies sitcom star claiming to have shagged their granny or something and piss off from our screens all together.

The clip below proves what a nob he's turned in to. Kate must have had one hell of an overwhelming urge to push him in.

2nd November. Simply Red

Getting up early this morning was not for the purpose of birding but to get cracking with the decorating. A wander outside revealed serious clag conditions with the presence of that rain that wets you through. A good day for decorating thought I. Wrong! My mobile ringing at 7:45 suggested that some brave sole had found something. Fortunately Duncan Bye had phoned to say that he'd got a Red-necked Grebe at Ulley C.P only five minutes away. On arrival it was half way from the dam wall but soon came nearer allowing for some record shots.

Arriving back home with warm baps ensured that I was still in the good books only for a Red-throated Diver to come on the pager at RVCP (I appear, probably deservedly, to be out of the loop these days). A cracking summer plumaged bird showing very well on the Northern Lake a new bird for me at RV and in the Sheffield area.

1st November. Playback

Finally got the opportunity to spend a day out birding and decided to check a couple of local spots. Pit-house West showed some promise with good number of Goldcrest among several large Long-tailed Tit flocks. This prompted me to do a spot of naughty tape luring, which worked well bringing the Long-tailed Tits and Goldcrests close but no other scarcer phyloscs. Walking down towards the Chinese Bridge I heard the distinctive call of a Yellow-browed Warbler. I excitedly started to scan the surrounding trees before hearing a less familiar call - an Arctic Warbler! At this point It dawned on me that the MP3 player in my pocket had sprung to life - that'll teach me.

Other than a calling Warter Rail there was very little else at PHW I decided to pay one of my now less than weekly visits to RV where a couple of Dunlin and two Pintail were on the Reserve. Fortunately all was not lost as I had earlier purchased a couple of steak and ale pies from Morrisons which I scoffed - hmm pies.