Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Northbound twitch

For several days in succession now I've been wanting to get on the patch but something has thwarted my plans each time. Yesterday was no different, news of a mega from the east broke in Cleveland. The only previous British record was twenty one years ago on a Welsh island when no access was being permitted due to breeding birds. It was about as mega as they come.

Johnny Allan picked me up and we headed to Wraysbury where we jumped into Franko Maroevic's car, getting from Sutton to Franko's was a nightmare and quite stressful. The rest of the journey, however, was reasonably quick and efficient mianly thanks to Franko's savvy driving.

We knew we were near when we became surrounded my grim industrial surroundings and housing estates. The news on the pager was a bit confusing at times, with John's (Birdnet) and mine (RBA) telling slightly different stories, but we got the idea that the bird kept returning to the bowling green.

Upon arrival, at something like 2.30pm, we anxiously waited for the bird to show. After a while, there was movement amongst the people on the other side. I saw an appropriate-looking bird drop down and people started seeing it there but I couldn't get onto it on the deck until I got a fleeting glimpse of a small brown thrush-sized bird as it flew up, apparently this was the bird but I hardly got anything on it so wasn't happy. A couple of hours passed and the bird didn't return. The ringer who trapped the bird had a look in the doctor's garden but couldn't find it. The atmosphere became tense and people were getting a little concerned.

Then, a stampede ensued. I got the idea that somebody was seeing it from atop a van in the garden. A queuing system came into operation for the van and several ladders that Franko organised the loan of. This caused a bit of mayhem and some very amusing sights. I may put a video up at some point. I got a good position in the queue for the van but it seemed to take an age before my turn came around. I clambered up, scanned the flowerbed and smacked eyes upon the female WHITE-THROATED ROBIN - yes yes yes yes!!! At this time it was approximately 6.00pm and I was elated to know it was all worth it and I had my first good tick in a fair time under the belt. She was just sitting there, front-on, sunning herself. I spent about a minute up there, using some of that time to attempt to digi-bin a record shot. I did this by pointing and hoping and remarkably got one recognisable shot - I couldn't have asked for more in the end (other than a side-on view perhaps).

Then, a long journey back and I've just arrived. I thought I'd knock this out now to save me doing it tomorrow night. Off to bed now - I will have to have a lie-in this morning, it being 3.00am now, but I do hope that nothing hinders a visit to the patch late morning tomorrow.