Bad Times and Good Times (and a rest in between). 31/7/16 & 2/8/16

Posted: August 5, 2016 in Twitching, Uncategorized
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I don’t often chase after birds that might not get accepted by the great bird gods, but, I had a lapse and thought about the Dalmatian Pelican in Cornwall. I saw a message from Dave W, from Huddersfield, on RBA asking for a lift or offering transport to see the bird. Steve K has always wanted to do a “silly night trip to Cornwall”, this could be a chance? Along with Bruce from Stretford we all piled into Bruce`s car at around 4am and set off for Restronguet Creek, just south of Truro. We arrived around 10-30am and searched this beautiful part of England for the pelican, without any luck. We met a few locals who told us all about the bird and one kind lady showed us a picture she had taken! It became apparent that the pelican was not in the area. At 2pm a local birder told us that the bird had flown off around 2-30pm on Saturday and a few minutes later a message came on RBA news repeating the same. We all said we would not have made the journey if we had known this earlier. A few Whimbrel on the creek didn’t really soften the blow for the journey home. But the news of a Western Purple Swamphen at Minsmere, Suffolk had us all thinking. Good company and a good day out in nice sunny conditions was had by us all. A new bird for the “dip list” then. We reached home by 10pm.

Monday morning dawned and a tired “dipper” woke up to find that the Western Purple Swamphen at Minsmere had been elevated to a mega!! Mark K in York was contacted and a team was put together with young Ellis from York our third member. A 4am meet at Fairburn near Castleford was arranged with myself at the wheel. The journey down was fairly uneventful with scattered rain and mist in patches. The oil on the road kept me on my toes as we slid our way towards Minsmere, the news on the Swamphen was positive, this added a couple of mph, and we reached the premier reserve at around 8-45am. A damp spell welcomed us as hurried to the south hide area, about 30 birders were watching something, and it was the Western Purple Swamphen. The bird kept close to the reed fringes, disappearing for short spells, but showed really well at around 100 yards distance. We all watched, what is potentially a first for the United Kingdom, for about an hour and enjoyed watching the birds feeding habits. Along with a squealing Water Rail we all enjoyed the moment and exchanged handshakes as is the norm, when you get a lifer. In other parts of the reserve we saw: – Stone Curlew, Green Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and lots of other types of waders. After catching up with a few old birding friends at Minsmere we had a drive up onto Dunwich Heath and saw about 3 Dartford Warbler`s, what smart little birds they are. They carried food to their nestlings and must have had a good breeding season as it is likely to be their second brood at this time of year?  The journey home was made a bit more interesting by the driver of a Post Office articulated vehicle trying to push me off the road. The A14 by this time was full of waggons and was a bit of a nightmare to be honest, upon reaching the A1 we stopped for a nice coffee, then pressed onto to Fairburn. At 5pm I dropped the lads off and got onto the M62 which looking more like a car park, finally reaching home around 6-30pm. The journey home always seems easier when you see the bird though, excellent trip out. Need a rest now, but what`s this, a trip to Cornwall again next Sunday to try for the pelican, well go on then!

Dave O.


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