Saturday, 3 December 2011


I've just got back from a gutting trip to Northumberland with Ian and Manchester-based Liam Langley whom I got to know on Scilly this year. I got no sleep last night (went out to see The Big Year then Ian picked me up early for the twitch) and the rest of the day was pretty demanding, we checked five likely sites for the Greater Yellowlegs each with no success, obviously. As we neared the first site we pulled up when we saw some birders eying a group of geese. They were mainly Greylags but there was a Tundra Bean Goose in with them and a couple of nice adult Eurasian White-fronted Geese. We saw several large skeins of Pink-footed Geese and Ian was desperate to nail some Whoopers before heading south so we were shining the headlights on a lake after sunset! We found a group of five in the end do he was happy with that. We were all extremely frustrated about dipping the Yellowlegs. It had been around for two or three weeks, had been flushed by a friggin dog an hour before we got to the first site and is bound to be reported again tomorrow. We did see a few nice birds but it is hard to appreciate these things when you're in pursuit of something much rarer that you may not be able to get another shot at for a while. When heading for York (Liam and I were catching trains home; Ian's stayimg the weekend in Yorkshire) it was difficult to face the long, expensive return journey without the desired tick in the bag. Following putting thirty pounds ino a ticket machine to find moments later the bird was a Greenshank (Northamptonshire earlier in the year), Greater Yellowlegs becomes a bird with one of the biggest scores to settle with me. Ian & Liam's company was enjoyed, nonetheless, and I thank Ian for his efforts in transporting us. Such a shame we didn't get the return this time... Now, that Western Sand...