Two weekends ago my birding friend (Phil) and I embarked on what was to be my longest "Twitch". I have never really classed myself as a twitcher. I prefer to stay local and if something rare is around, casually stroll along and see if I can find it.
On this occasion, the lure of Britain's 7th ever Hooded Merganser (if proven to be truly wild) was too much for us to resist. A 5:30am meet saw us heading down the M6 before we knew what had hit us. It never dawned on me that it wouldn't be there, as is my nature to be positive at all times. 180 miles later we arrived in Wiltshire at the correct site, to be told by a friend of Phil's that it had, to use his words, "buggered off". The air in that particular car park turned blue for several minutes as the three of us exchanged expletives of varying types. If I was keeping a list of English swear words I'm sure we ticked most of them off at this point.
So, what do you do when you've travelled 180 miles on a Sunday morning to to see a bird that wasn't there? Get straight back in the car and drive to the next target bird is the correct answer. Fortunately for Phil (who had kindly volunteered to drive) and I, it was on our way home. Well it was 25 miles further north if the truth be told, but we were heading in the right direction.
Enter the Penduline Tit! 'Please be there' I thought, as we parked up again. Joy of joys, it was there. Not very easy to see it must be said. I think we waited for 10 minutes or so for the two birds to show in the freezing cold. They didn't make it easy for us to see them either. Superbly camouflaged in the bulrushes. They stayed distant, but it was hard to complain when they had at least bothered to turn up, unlike the Hooded Merganser. It was a life tick for me, so was happy. Shame the pictures were not better, but it could have been a lot worse I suppose.
From now on, I'm limiting my twitches to a 50 mile radius. That's the plan anyway.
I've often thought about getting up at the crack of dawn to catch the wildlife but then my bed is too comfortable.ReplyDelete
Your Penduline Tit is definitely at home in those bulrushes.
Have a lovely weekend :)
Sorry about the Hooded Merganser, but at least you saw the Penduline Tit, a bird I would definately love to see.ReplyDelete
Oh the joys of twitching!! Well at least your lengthy trip finally produced a delightful life tick.ReplyDelete
Hello Adam, so sorry you missed the Hooded Merganser. But, the Penduline Tit is a great bird and the photos are pretty. thank you for linking up and sharing this post. Happy Saturday, have a great weekend!ReplyDelete
I can see 'em!!! How exciting. Tho, your post is a bit bittersweet. I feel your 'pain'. We've done the same, Bud and I, with being like you....not having any negative thought whatsoever that the bird won't show for us after traveling such a long distance. But it happens. "Sh!t happens" they say. Yet, along comes another day and a 'new bird' can be spotted with no worries/pain of traveling.ReplyDelete
Hang in there, some day the Hooded Merganser will be yours alone....to photograph!! I'm sure.
This time I'm here to send along my thanks for sharing this awesome post with such a great series of images!! We birders at I'd Rather B Birdin' are so appreciative with your participation.
That's a lotta driving for a bird photo. Birding must be a rather addictive hobby. I really like the photos of the bulrushes even if they were without the bird. I've pondered early morning photography to get some good Bird photos in the trees at the Golf Course just up the road but I'm up at 4:30am every weekday for work so when the weekend comes I get too attached to my cosy bed.ReplyDelete
He has good camo to hide in the cat tails. Beautiful photos!ReplyDelete
I am glad your dedication was rewarded, Adam. For all our sakes!ReplyDelete
Oh the joys of twitching (not). Never mind Adam, as the local patch is definitely the best and you never know there might be a Penduline Tit there one of these days.ReplyDelete
What a sweet little bird! Well done on finding and photographing it even if your original target was nowhere to be seen!ReplyDelete