Blog

Fri 5th March 2010

Posted on March 6, 2010 at 12:00 AM

birds : A big surprise today. Earlier in the day Liz & Bob had seen the first Wheatear of the year at L'Eree, so I stopped on the way home from work for a brief look at one of my most reliable Wheatear spots - at Pulias Headland. It was bright and sunny with a chilly easterly wind and I was confident of picking one up. However, the first bird I saw, just below the car park, was a pipit crouched in the grass right on the edge of the shingle. I coudn't tell the size but the open face pattern shouted out 'Richard's' and then it flew across the headland, calling out a sparrow-like chirp, confirming that it was indeed a Richard's Pipit. I didn't have a lot of time so I raced back for my scope and camera and chased it round the headland for 15 minutes. It was very flighty but showed well when it did land, so I was able to grab a few quick shots, despite not being able to get close.

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Richard's Pipit, Pulias

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I didn't expect my first migrant of the Spring to be a Richard's Pipit. There seems to a recent trend for more and more Richard's being seen in the winter and spring and that is certainly true here in Guernsey. At least March has started off well as it is usually my least favourite month for birding. It starts off with a few Wheatear and Sand Martins and you get a little excited that spring has started . . . and then nothing happens for another 3 weeks. March is indeed a cruel mistress.

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nonsense : I have discovered how easy it is to draw cartoons on Excel, especially if you have a photo to do it from. Here are the BUBO lads cartoonified.

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It is 'Old School Birding' as we were the last generation to grow up and become proper birders without the aid of pagers, mobile phones or the internet. Which, of course, gives us the right to sneer at the new young upstarts, and tell them how easy they have it, and that "it wasn't like that in my day" and how "this used to be all fields" and "Leicas! My first bins were hand-me-downs from the war" and "Pagers! We used to find out about rarities three weeks after they'd gone . . if we were lucky!" and "Red Kites! They're all plastic nowadays" and "Grey Partridge! I remember when they common" and "Caspian Gull! They hadn't been invented when I was a boy" and "Long-billed Murrelet? Now, Ancient Murrelet - that's a proper bird" etc etc. Of course the main thing wrong with young birders nowadays is that I'm not one of them - those magical times of discovery, learning the 'trade' and constantly seeing new things - you can't beat it.

Categories: Self-found Rarities, 2010 Spring