31st December. Predictable Year End Ramblings

Well it's the last day of the year and in the tradition of previous years it's time to add up the year list.........

Right that didn't take long. Actually I just had a quick look at the biggest year list on Surfbirds and added two more, that's what the top-listers do apparently! Seriously though, and without turning this post into a Lee bashing session, my list was one that no one else could possibly beat! Why? Because it was my self-found patch list, no competition and no targets.

Well I managed an amazing 121 self-found (amazing in the sense that Orgreave looks crap). That is proper self-found not 'innocently' stumbling into someone else's find or rediscovering 'lost' birds, all proper bona fide found by me. The best birds came towards the end of the year with the Leach's Petrel (R.I.P) in September and the fantastic day in November when, on a seemingly crap day, I scored the double with Snow Bunting and what proved to be the Sheffield areas first twitchable Lapland Buntings. Lots of other local scarce kept me occupied and more importantly fuelled my enthusiasm enough that I made almost 400 visits during the year. I make no apologies for this post coming across rather self-centred, it has been a great year. In fact I'd go as far to say that the last year has been the most enjoyable twelve months birding that I have ever had. I could have done better though, a few lazy mornings cost me about four birds and I must have missed some Waxwings over during the last couple of months. A total of 129 species were recorded at Orgreave this year which for a site in its youth is pretty good.
The fruit of many many visits

2011 leave is already booked up, a week in Extremadura, two weeks in Cornwall and 12 days on Shetland(though a partial change in venue this time) in October to mention a few.

So a few New Years resolutions before I go. Take more notes and submit more records - not just the 'of interest' birds but everything. Some people would prefer it if I kept my opinions to myself but they can go bollocks. It's my opinion nobody else's and if you don't like it tough shit, feel free to give me a slap next time you see me.

Lastly I'd just like to say thanks to a few people who have made life great this year in no particular order. Jo,Beth,Rob,Andy Mc,John H,Johnny S,Martin G,Andy D, Roy T,Pete W, Everyone on Shetland who isn't Welsh, Mum and Dad,Gary Prescott AKA Biking Birder, Garry Bagnell and Lee Evans for giving me something to write about,my new in laws, my old in laws,the late (fingers crossed) Mrs Thatcher for giving me the best local patch in the Sheffield area and lastly everyone that reads this blog.

Happy New Year.

25th December. Merry Christmas

Whilst Jo tinkers in the kitchen and before the Port kicks in I'll take this opportunity to wish my (dwindling) readership a very Merry Christmas.

9th December. The State of British Birding

Another classic from Nerdforum. The names have been removed to protect the fools, I did think of changing it to SG or RGM of Cley but that's an old joke that needs to be left alone now.

Click to enlarge

Really does make you wonder what's happening to British Birding perhaps Lee does have a point!

7th December. Cold Hard Times

Birding time at the weekend was spent watching birds that were behaving out of the ordinary due to the extreme cold temperatures -15 degrees C for the last couple of mornings.

The Water Rails at Pit-house West seemed pleased with the kilo of sprats intended for the Bittern and showed to just a few feet at times, though they never sat still long enough for good shots.

At Bolehill, Roy once again showed that he has the eyes of a Shit-house Rat, by pulling out four Jack Snipe sitting motionless and extremely well camouflaged among the leaf litter of the semi frozen stream.

I've just posted my first (sub) post on new multi author (it's all the rage apparently) birding blog The Crow Council. It's crap (my post not the blog) so skip mine and read the other stuff. We don't have McKinney or Garner and none of us live in bird rich South America but I'm sure it'll be fun and at least keep you off Nerd Forum for a few minutes each day. If all else fails I'll get my arse out as looking at the hits counter since last week you sick bastards clearly like that kind of thing!

2nd December. Snow Madness

I'm trapped. Trapped in the house with minimal supplies, daytime television and three stir crazy cats who only leave the house when they need a shit! Highlight(s) of the day has been a walk to the local shops whose shelves are starting to look like those of 1980's communist Russia. There's no fresh food or milk and people are literally mobbing the bread van as soon as he arrives. Our cul-de-sac road is steep and, at the last measurement, 50cm (20" in old money) deep. I can't get to work, no buses or trains and the car is under two foot of snow.

All the birds have vanished from the garden despite the Niger feeder being well stocked and regular clearing of the bird table. On the bright side I did add Snipe to the house list as one poor individual desperate for food headed over the house and knowing the suffering of this poor creature I was still miserable. By 6pm I had completely lost the plot and resorted to actions completely out of character. Firstly I found myself reading threads on Birdforum, then watching an episode of Home and Away then most shocking of all this.

You don't get this kind of behaviour on Birding Frontiers.


Sanity has now been restored, dug the car out so hopefully some kind of birding tomorrow.