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May 4th, 2015

11:42 am: Birding
Having a day off from birding today! My day off was supposed to be yesterday, until news came in of a red-throated pipit in the hills east of Manchester.

I am currently on 224 birds for the year. I've just looked at my list for this year and last, and calculated what birds I'd got extra and what birds I missed in 2013. My calculations suggest that, at present, I'm on target to finish with six more birds than in 2013 (assuming the remained of the year goes as well as 2013 did, with similar numbers of rare and scarce birds seen). This is not as many as I hoped!

May 2nd, 2015

08:04 pm: Wowee #2 of the weekend...
One of these godwits reportedly has black underwings...
 photo c6f646f0-5170-40c3-8493-cfcb32d89952_zps7dqcfthb.jpg

Two and a half hous later some of the godwits move and...
 photo 6ff40b94-b42e-4919-8ca9-1a6f7166df6c_zps0ggbfjbr.jpg

Aha. It was that one!

May 1st, 2015

09:29 pm: Woweeee!
 photo feaa7439-e3b1-44de-ba1b-181b1352c964_zpsfl4jchxa.jpg

Also a pair of Montagu's harriers and a wood sandpiper today. I am on a roll!

April 26th, 2015

05:46 pm: Four more ticks today
And I'm briefly number 4 in the BUBO listings!

April 18th, 2015

11:35 pm: One wor: RESPECT
And I thought _I_ was big on old forgotten formats!!!


09:24 pm: Looking through my Itunes library. Sees Glenn Miller, In the Mood

The Dr Who fan in me, looking at the genres, notes: #TheSpaceMuseum Of course I've heard of Glenn Miller. I didn't know that Glenn Miller played classical music

06:02 pm: I am (briefly) back in the top ten on BUBO!
I am back on the homepage of BUBO...

I probably won't be when you read this, but if you want to see the year rankings here they are

April 17th, 2015

09:49 pm: I just drove 450 miles to South Wales and back for a Great Spotted Cuckoo which wasn't there...

April 13th, 2015

09:04 pm: Work experience massively curtailed today's lesson. Went birding in the afternoon and saw the first little ringed plover of the year. Also ringed plover *ahem*

April 11th, 2015

08:24 pm: Some of you may remember my complaining that my 'new' (a year ago) computer was performing an undesirable action which I referred to as That Thing, namely the current window losing focus for no discernable reason. It happened right out of the box while I was registering my copy of Windoze, and was reduced in frequency from continuous to about one time in three it was booted by removing all McAfee files using their downloadable but not widely advertised removal tool (which is necessary becasue their actual uninstall doesn't usually work properly).

Last week I had another of my periodic Googles to try to find out the cause and I have finally nailed it. The cause is TP Wireless Utility, a piece of software attached topmy router which runs at boot and serves no purpose I can see, as I am still connected to the net if I forcibly kill it.

So the confusion must have been the result of two different pieces of software causing the same problem, namely McAfee and TP Utility. The first must have casued the problem right out of the box, and the second must have caused the problem afterwards.

Now my 'puter works. Yay!!!

08:06 am: Back from Scotland! Great weather, Scottish trip a largely unqualified success: only downside being that there are no capercaillies at the public viewpoint this year, so it's unlikely I'll get them this year.

Succcesses: surf scoter, white-billed diver (four species of diver total), crested tit, golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, ptarmigan, plus breeding slavonian grebe, plenty of sea duck (long tailed, eider, velvet scoter), black guillemot, hooded crow, raven, greenshank and the first wheatear of the year.

I added fourteen birds this trip, and as result the 2015 year list is looking pretty good on BUBO :) (www.bubo.org, if you are interested)

March 3rd, 2015

08:22 pm: (Belated) Birding diary, 6th February
There were plenty of options available on Thursday evening. There was a serin in Essex, a liitle bunting in Caerdydd, a laughing gull in Cheshire. But when it came to it, on Thursday evening I was just too tired for an early start, so I spent the evening looking at the bird news and inventing and reciting good reasons why it wasn't feasible to go for any of the available birds. The truth was, I had hit another brick wall emotionally; I couldn't carry on full steam ahead.

By the time I got going mid-morning on Friday I was feeling rather better, and more enthusiastic. I had been worrying on and off about waxwings all year; they had been niggling at the back of my mind. It wasn't a waxwing year; in fact it was the exact opposite of a waxwing year, with far fewer waxwings seen than in a normal year, probably fewer than I had ever known in my twenty years as a birder, and very few long-stayers. Although there was a fair chance that northerly-headed birds might swell the available birds in March, and the fact that there was no way of knowing if autumn might not bring perfectly good numbers, I decided to end the uncertainty. Two birds were being seen 'in the hawthorn hedge south of the big mound' on the Leas in South Shields. The Leas were some clifftop grassy areas loved by dog-walkers; the big mound was less clear as I did my research. But the area was just over a two-hour drive away, and so fitted in with my current less motivated state.

The vast areas of grass along the clifftop were indeed being criss-crossed by dozens of cold and despondent-looking dog-walkers when I arrived, but there was no sign of any birders. Only one area of land was raised above the mile-or-so of flat featureless grass, so I parked and walked towards it on the conclusion that there was no Bigger Mound. I was encouraged to see half a dozen straggly hawthorn bushes standing in a row a hundred yards away from it; while not exactly a hedge, they were at least bushes in a line, and berry-bearing bushes at that. On the top of the bush, two distant birds were watching a man walk his dog right under the bush without any apparent concern. This utterly bombproof attitude encouraged me about the identity of the birds, and I increased my pace to a forced march.

The birds were indeed waxwings, and they were as unconcerned as ever. I took some blurred record shots (I had forgotten my adapter), and then watched the birds feeding. A dog-walker came over and asked me why she had seen so many people staring at those bushes in the last week. I pointed out the waxwings, and offered her my binoculars to have a closer look at them. Binoculars were obviously not an item she had ever encountered before, and it took her several tries before she saw anything except the inside of the binoculars (she took them from her face several times and stared at them in bewilderment), but after a minute or so she suddenly gave an exclamation of delight, which I suspect to be more the result of successfully managing the use of binoculars than the sight of the waxwings. I wondered vaguely what she would have thought if she had known how much the binoculars she was holding cost.

A new drake american wigeon had been located the previous day, fortunately at Nosterfield NR in North Yorkshire. While I was in South Shields, the pager confirmed that the bird was still there, and so I headed home via this former gravel-pit. A birder who was leaving was able to confirm the general area in which the bird had been seen, and therefore it didn't take me above quarter of an hour to pick it out. Meanwhile a beginner turned up and began asking questions about american wigeons most which revealed a very remarkable lack of knowledge; notable among these was the enquiry about their place of origin. Then the local patch-workers turned up and began chatting, turning their noses up at the intruding twitcher and refusing to speak to me or acknowledge my presence, presumably in the hope that I would go away. I did, but not before I had found the bird.

March 1st, 2015

09:55 pm: Guess the birdie...
So, the latest round of awful record shots, made by holding a cheap camera to my scope with no adapter:

 photo 580b5bc0-7a57-4d7c-960f-966026c827c1_zpseu36l2s1.jpg
 photo 0bf687e1-5252-414c-80fc-bba04b1607e5_zps2g4lqrgy.jpg
 photo f2b13955-5be9-4d6c-b526-ba9610b9b493_zpsioqesbek.jpg

Free clue: 2 are scarce and one is rare in the UK...

February 28th, 2015

07:06 pm: In which I did not see any birds
Drove to Linsifarne for a black scoter that was playing hide and seek up and down the North Northumberland coast. Didn't see it, as it chose to be in places I wasn't every time I changed place.

Saw lots of birds: gannets and slavonian grebes and red-throated divers and great northern divers and long-tailed ducks and eiders and common scoters. But I have all those birds already.

Now one of my ehadlights has gone, which will rpevent me from going to Norfolk tomorrow as I will have to wait until Qwik-fit opens before driving anywhere, by which time it will be too late to do anything productive.

Also, I have just dripped ice-lolly goo into my keyboard.

February 26th, 2015

07:52 pm: Have just returned from an HND field trip to Barcelona. Absolutely shattered...

February 21st, 2015

07:05 pm: I got a lesser spotted woodpecker!!
I got a lesser spotted woodpecker!!
I got a lesser spotted woodpecker!!

And am I relieved. There is a reason that most birders call them the Never Spotted Woodpecker...

February 7th, 2015

09:29 pm: Rare bird of the day!
 photo gull1_zpsbqxs4khp.jpg

Amazingly my new camera managed to lock on without the adapter for once!

llr10: name the bird?

January 23rd, 2015

11:05 am: I am NOT birding today. I don't care if I'm supposed to. I'm staying home, and getting my part time servants to rearrange the furniture to fit in the new ladderax. And clean the house which hasn't been done for a month as I haven't been home. And I'm about to be paid for the month so I can afford their wages!

January 19th, 2015

09:38 pm: Annoyed with Micro$oft
Since the latest Windo$e upgrade, my keyboard layout has spontaeously changed from International layout to UK without asking. *not impressed* And yes, I've googled and changed it back, but JUST SAYING!!!!

How is changing a keyboard layout an upgrade????? In fact how is changing someone's layout without asking OK at all???

06:13 pm: Birding diary 18th January
Snow, ice and two scarce ducksCollapse )

I still haven't seen a dunnock

January 13th, 2015

10:19 pm: It's the 13th of January. Why haven't I got a dunnock????

Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
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