The adventure started last Tuesday was news of a PIED-BILLED GREBE filtered through from the Republic of Mancunia. The last British twitchable individual was way back in 2001 when one hung around for seven weeks in Cornwall. The only recent birds relatively nearby though have required a passport to see them as they have all turned up on the Emerald Isle. Anyway a quick text was sent to my birding comrade Steve Richards to see if he was skipping work to head north. Unfortunately for him though he had just touched down in Norway with work and would not be able to pay the potential lifer a visit until the weekend.
So with Mike Feely lying drunk and naked on his living room floor with various aviform related pornography strewn about his person, it was just Steve Dunn and myself that made the trip this morning. Upon arrival at Hollingworth Lake near Rochdale we immediately bumped into a few familiar faces including fellow ASBO birderz Steve Richards and Julian Allen as well as Nick 'Dip' Smith and former Warwickshire bird photographer Steve Seal. The yank vagrant was initially asleep but after a short while it started to buck up its ideas and performed very well indeed, swimming back and forth along its favourite inlet.
Upon adding PIED-BILLED GREBE to his British List, Steve Richards (above) became over 'avi-aroused'. Usually his eyes just bulge with excitement like those of Garry Bagnell upon hearing he's gained promotion to the 'British Birding Premiership'. On this occasion though poor Steve managed to get his swollen 'ASBO member' wedged within the fork of a lakeside tree. It took a trio of Lancastrian fire-fighters and a melted Chap Stick to free him.
PIED-BILLED GREBE - Hollingworth Lake, Littleborough, Greater Manchester.
Both excellent portraits have been kindly provided by Steve Seal
The only other species of note were a distant Peregrine and a marauding Sparrowhawk. With nothing else to see in the north west of England we headed back to the car park to plan our next move. We briefly suggested heading up to Northumberland for a SQUACCO HERON but a potential three hour drive soon put us off that idea. I did suggest heading out onto Saddleworth Moor but Steve hates birding anywhere where you are likely to have kids underneath your feet...... God I'm sorry.