It's been a frustrating week with continuing back problems preventing me doing pretty much anything on the birding front. With a slight improvement yesterday, and with driving easier than walking, I twitched the Pied-billed Grebe in neighbouring Somerset. The journey there was fine but, having seen the bird, something else in a hitherto OK bit of back went ping, and I literally limped home to spend the rest of the day in bed, where I remain as I write this.
|American Robin, Grimsby (Jan 2004). A trip from Kent with Matt Jones. Of about a million digiscoped shots, this was the only sharp one.|
|Pied-billed Grebe, Hollingworth Lake (Nov 2010). Not as Pied-billed as the recent Somerset bird of the same species, but pretty special anyway. This bird swam just yards in front of a hide I was sitting in.|
Snowy Egret, Balvicar, April 2002. The first time I saw this bird was in Ardeer, on the way back from a winter trip to Islay in 2001, but it was such a long-stayer that I caught up with it the following April back at Balvicar. An epic day started at Loch Garten with Capercaillie and Osprey, continued with Black Grouse at Loch Laggan and a King Eider at Dunstaffnage before seeing the Egret mid-morning, then back east for a Red-breasted Goose near Kinross, a couple of Surf Scoter in Fife and a Waxwing flock in Dunfermline before dusk.
|Red-flanked Bluetail, St Martin's (Oct 2010). Not such a major rarity these days but still a stunning bird.|
4. Masked Shrike, Kilrenny, Nov 2004. Probably my longest day-trip to date, 1000 miles on the clock exactly, for the ultimate solo smash and grab. I left Kent at 0200, crossed the border just after 0700, saw the bird about 0930, headed for home about 1100 and was back in time to put my son in the bath that evening. Apart from getting out of the car to see the bird, I stopped only once, at Gretna services, to fill up and, more importantly, to twitch some Waxwings by the petrol pumps.
|Desert Wheatears are often confiding. This one on Cooden Beach, East Sussex (Nov 2006) was no exception.|
|Sandhill Crane, Suffolk (Oct 2011). Not the best photo but a great trip with Steve Smith and Jol Mitchell.|
|Green Heron, Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall (Oct 2010).|