21st May – The Herefordshire Golf ‘Courser’

Posted: May 26, 2012 in Bird Watching, Birding, Rochdale, Rossendale, Twitching
Tags: , , , ,

Imagine getting the news from RBA website at 10-30pm on Sunday night then going to work on Monday morning and seeing the message, “Cream -coloured Courser in Herefordshire”. It was put on the website at 10-56pm on Sunday night when most people were in bed! Enough of that, the red mist of the twitcher begins to decend/ascend. I quickly text all likely people who might accompany me, no replies. Looks like a solo effort then, work are very understanding as I head for the door. Reaching home and steadily get all my gear together I head for the petrol station and set my sat nav for the Kington, Herefordshire area. I have never done any twitching in this beautiful county before. Then Bob rings and says “I cant make it today you go and get the bird, I understand, we will go tommorrow”, I ring Mark Gibson and he cant get out of work, so off I go! Leaving Rochdale by 10-15am and after various sat nav moments, large waggon convoys, generally dozy drivers and along with lots of ‘A’ roads I reach the highest golf course in England (1100 feet) at about 1-00pm. A kind lady directs me further up the hill as I try to park the car with a little less stressful walk up to the trig point, I pass lots of smiling birders and ask “Is the bird still here then?” The only answer I want to hear is yes, it is. Over the hill and what a splendid view looking from England into Wales only a mile away. The next splendid sight was an adult Cream-coloured Courser feeding in amongst the gorse, it has been well worth the effort. A flock of sheep were used as good markers to put people onto the bird as it ran around and caught insects. About forty people were present and enjoying great views of this much sought after species. Apart from the juvenile bird on the Scilly Isles the last really “twitchable” bird was way back in 1984. I watched the bird for about an hour then it flew about 70 yards and landed in the middle of a fairway, it was close enough for me to get a couple of snaps through my telescope! In flight the bird had all dark underwings and its upper primary and secondary feathers were also quite dark with hardly any trace of these feathers when the bird was on the ground. It was difficult to drag myself away from the bird, but,at 3-10pm I had to go, it had been two very memorable hours! I managed to see Red Kite on the way home. I also managed to get embroiled in the confusion after an accident in Craven Arms as I tried a short cut along a single track road that only the “locals” use. What a trip it was, I managing to reach home by 7-00pm doing 315 miles in the process. I would be followed by the rest of our squad into Herefordshire the morning after and they also enjoyed the bird, well done lads!

Dave O (Back to being the Stig again lads, you missed the fun Steve K)

  1. ateambirding says:

    Me, Bob and Chris went down the next day and had just the same ‘Appreciation Views’ too.

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