Wednesday 11 February 2009


What can you say about February, other than that it’s not March? We’re in the grip of a recession which every news bulletin gleefully tells us ‘may be worse than previously thought’, and also the worst winter weather (or ‘snow event’ if you have the intellect of an owl pellet and need perfectly good English translated into media twat-speak) for 18 years. Which is what – 1991? I don’t remember that winter being particularly cold, but then we were used to it being a bit chilly in the winter in those days. That’s why thermal underwear and thick jumpers were invented.

Early 1985 was also cold, with snow on the ground for weeks, but unlike in this minor cold snap (so far, anyway) some interesting birds turned up in Leicestershire. On one day in January it was possible to see all three common divers and all five grebes at Rutland Water, along with Long-tailed Duck, two Velvet Scoters and half a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers. Then in mid-February the juvenile Night Heron, which had been suppressed in the Burley Fishponds area since December 84, was frozen out of hiding and appeared at Whitwell Creek for all to see before dying the following day. There hasn’t been one in the county since. On my fucking list, as they say.

This winter though there has been nothing remotely like that – just a handful of Scaup at the dam, an elusive Bittern around the lagoons and three Black-necked Grebes off Barnsdale, and the two Great Northern Divers that were around earlier in the year seem to have buggered off with the onset of the cold!

But never mind, because I’ve got my new camera and lens to play with, and I’m quite happy taking photos of common stuff. Yes, I know I said in a comment on the last post that I wasn’t going to post any more photos, but I was lying.

A Weasel Coot - surely a much better name than 'redhead Smew'!

A Tailmouse or Bum Barrel

Some sort of Sea Mew I think - probably blown inland by bad weather


The Drunkbirder said...

Ah the joys of deliberately witholding news of a rare bird eh. !985 and that sort of thing. I'm glad non of that goes on today.

beast said...

Shite ain't it? [you're photo's good tho Andy..i like the alternative names]. The news is as depressin as the lack of winter blown birds. Ok...i know thuz been a few exceptions like the 'pole dancin' whorefinch at Rutty. There have also been exceptions in the 'News'....itz not all been gloom. Watchin the straight-faced BBC news presenters quote Clarkson had they stitches! The 'one-eyed scottish idiot'...class! Also, amid the gloomy doomy news today,...good ol Boris Johnson has been reported to have used the 'F' word [think that means fuck] Keith Vaz in a phone rant!! Excellent!!
Back to birds tho...reckon part the reason? why nowts turned up is because less birders have been able to get out n find stuff. Lack of grit..true grit...snow blindness?..etc. Of course it might juz be that there's fuck all goin on...apart from the economy and civilisation goin down the shitter.....didn't see it coming did they?..course they saw it fuckin coming..'they've' been leadin the gullible sheep [people] into boom n bust alley for the sheep have been fleeced...the 'masters of economic disaster' will melt like the snow...retreating to their millionaire havens...[leaving the sheep in hell]......same as it ever was...same as it ever was..[talking heads]...
Havin ranted all that..have enjoyed lookin at all the commoner birds in the snow....great for photo's eh?.....

The Leicester Llama said...

The news of the Night Heron at the Fishponds was withheld so efficiently that the first we knew of it having been present since the previous December was when the BB rarity report came out the following year!

beast said...

Juz dug me old notes out for 1985...saw the night heron on 16th n 17th of Feb..Whitwell. Hadn't realized it had been supressed?! Maybe 'time' has blitzed me memory on that one....guess you know more [remember more] than me!
Little Crake 9th March Cuckhaven.
Sociable Plover 23rd March Dartford

Juz readin thru me list like...why not?...fuck all about n might as well don the rose tints for 5 minutes..
Autumn that year weren't too shoddy...Greater Sand Norfolk...Myrtle Warbler, Bee-eater n yellow billed cuckcoo on Scillies...then wot?...Nutcracker Suffolk... Black n White Warbler Howe Hill Norfolk.....blimey...wuz that 'humbug' that long ago?...fuurrkk me! Wot a fuckin old cunt me is...!

The Leicester Llama said...

Looking at the LROS reports for 1984/85, it was first seen in the fishponds on December 27th 84, then on two further occasions in January 85, before being relocated at Whitwell on February 16th, when the news was put out. I saw it on the 17th, and it was found dead on the 19th.

Presumably news of its presence wasn't released initially as it was hiding deep in the fishponds, which isn't exactly an ideal location for a 'mass rare bird observation event', or 'twitch' as it used to be called.

Harry said...

'The news of the Night Heron at the Fishponds was withheld so efficiently that the first we knew of it having been present since the previous December was when the BB rarity report came out the following year!'

That's nothing...can think of at least one Irish first in the last 10 years that we only heard about when it was published in the Irish Bird Report 2-3 years later...
(the species has thankfully occurred one more time since, allowing some (including me) to tick it, though that individual did elude a few people also)

beast said...

Out of interest..wot was 'that' first for Ireland Harry?
....n why was it suppressed? [Guess i shud know the species you referring to but i'm not one of those 'records' boffins]...have only twitched Ireland once...Belted K...Bally Vaughn? [think thats how you spell it]! West coast anyways..

The Drunkbirder said...

Mass rare bird observation event indeed. Andy you are a one! Love it.

What would a dip be I wonder? Mass rare bird observation non-event? What about a bit of LRG Ego style birding? Mass rare bird observation none event event or maybe Solitary rare bird observation while behind the bushes for a pee event? Give us your own ideas.

Harry said...

The Irish first in question was Cetti's Warbler, though, to be fair, and to avoid giving the wrong impression:
1) The finder was unsure of what the bird was at the time
2) He only saw it on that one day when first found.
All water under the bridge now, as many of us ticked the 2005 bird in Wicklow. Not been one since then.
Belted Kingfisher, eh? Still need that one, was a bit too young when the last Irish one turned up (9 or 10).