Sunday 22 August 2010

Peep Show.... NO Peep Show!

This afternoon I decided to forget watching United play Fulham on TV and head north to Belvide Reservoir for a precious year tick. After checking with Steve Nuttall that the bird was still present I was on my way. Upon arrival a young Tawny Owl could be heard calling near the car park over the background noise of Kings of Leon playing live in concert! It was the second day of the V festival at nearby Weston Park. Upon entering the Scott Hide I discovered fellow ASBO birder Steve Richards scanning the shoreline. Within seconds I was enjoying an immaculate juvenile Little stint (261) feeding with a couple of Dunlin. Also on site were 13 Black-tailed Godwits, 9 Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, 4 Ringed Plover and 3 Little Ringed Plover as well as 6 Common Tern. There was also a juvenile Black-necked Grebe present but it swam out out view just before I arrived. We then headed back up towards the car park to locate the Owl. There were two youngsters perched up high in the tree tops but only brief flight views were obtained.

At this stage my enjoyable Sunday afternoon in the sunshine was turned upside down. Just after 5.00pm news came through that the adult SEMI-PALMATED SANDPIPER had returned to Alkborough Flats in Lincolnshire. A few minutes later MEGA ALERT wailed away to inform us that a SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER had been located at Patrington Haven in East Yorkshire. With a possibility of nailing two prime waders for the price of one I had to make a move but with daylight running out fast I had to move quickly. Steve was tempted (I could tell by his bulging blue eyes) but I couldn't convince him to join me on my mad dash up north.

Whilst driving up the A38 I listened to the United match on 5 Live. They were 2-1 up and even better, both top notch shorebirds were still present. Life was good! Soon afterwards my luck began to change. Firstly that greasy-haired Cameo lookalike Nani missed a penalty for United, then during injury time the jammy Cottagers equalised. Fulham 2 United 2 - two precious points dropped!

After a quick stop off at Potteric Carr to pick up a couple of budding RSPB twitchettes (and a stray dog) I sped over to Alkborough as the sun was sinking in the western skies. Upon arrival I received a text from Mike 'Mikipedia' Feely to say that him and Stevie Dunn had connected with the SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER just before it had flown off. B*STARDS! At least I could console myself with excellent views of only my second British SEMI-PALMATED SANDPIPER.... wrong! Despite grilling the flats as well as various channels and pools until dusk we failed to relocate the pesky peep! It was the straw that broke the camel's back, I vowed there and then to throw in the towel..... year-listing was for complete losers anyway!

Taking the positives out of the heart-break, a stunning Lincolnshire sunset was enjoyed as was an impressive nature reserve that I'd never visited before. On the bird front there were 4 Little Egrets, 10 Black-tailed Godwits, 19 Ruff, 3 Common Redshank, a Greenshank, a Green Sandpiper and a Common Sandpiper present around the Flats.


  1. I'm sure the camels back is still intact, infact...

  2. That fuckin' camel made a remarkable recovery after initially being paralysed from the hump down! :o) Bring on those year-ticks!

  3. lmao, at the point 6am tomorrow then...

  4. Blakeney Point!?! Not unless I can get a helicopter ride up there bro'.... my dodgy ankle wouldn't last a mere 10 foot traipse of that dreaded shingle!