Sunday, 16 May 2010

Ok then reader, work this one out because I can't!

I'm booked to go on a birding trip to Poland next weekend. It's a group trip, flying from Heathrow with British Airways. However, what with the forthcoming strike I received an email from BA saying the flight is cancelled. I actually spoke to the tour company last week and they were already looking for alternative flights. I'll know more in the next day or two.

To take my mind off things I decided to do some proper twitching this weekend. My twitching trips are few and far between these days. I've only done one so far this year and dipped. But if there's anything within a reasonable distance that I need, then I'll go for it.

Saturday saw me driving to Frampton Marsh, just outside Boston in Lincolnshire, to see the Oriental Pratincole.

The Pratincole showed wonderfully well from the east hide, as well as a Temminck's Stint and three 1st-summer Little Gulls. Perhaps understandably the hide and it's surroundings were jam-packed with people. So it was rather unfortunate that many of the birders and photographers already there were not so forthcoming in letting others into getting the views that they were enjoying. As a result I found digiscoping impossible.

After about an hour and a half with the Pratincole I decided to move on. The Great Reed Warbler in Derbyshire was as good as on the way home, so I made a slight detour to Straw's Bridge pools, on the outskirts of Ilson (or Ilkeston if you're from outside the east midlands).

I know Ilkeston pretty well, mainly for watching the Brewers at Ilkeston Town. Most famously for one game when Ilkeston's then-manager, the late Keith Alexander, had olympic decathlete Daley Thompson in their side. Daley got sent off for a head butt!

But anyway, I had no idea this site existed. It was easy to find, as was the small patch of reeds where the Great Reed Warbler was.

The bird showed well, but briefly, on one occasion during my visit, but on the whole it was keeping hidden in the new growth. I've only seen one Great Reed Warbler before which was a long time ago, but I always remembered what a distinctive, and loud, song it has. It really is the Barry White of Reed Warblers.

Then as for today (Sunday 16th May), I did another twitch up to Doncaster, at Potteric Carr Nature Reserve. It's only a 90 minute drive to get there from home. I've been here a couple of times in the past and it has always impressed me. But what is new here is what must be the poshest visitor centre I've ever seen!

Although it does double-up as offices for the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Obviously I was here to twitch the Iberian Chiffchaff, which has been around a small patch of woodland adjacent to the M18.

The Iberian Chiffchaff was singing on arrival, but didn't show until about a 30 minute wait. But when it did show, it showed really well. It's song is noticeably different to our Chiffchaff, although I wouldn't like to identify it out it singing.

So that concluded a successful weekend of twitching, with two lifers for me there. I also left Potteric Carr and back home in time to watch the World Twenty20 final. Which England won, beating those nice Australians. What a shame for them.

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