Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tickfest for the Twitchmeister

Having bagged the Glaucous Gull at Ogmore Rivermouth yesterday it seemed like a good idea to get back out birding as soon as possible while it appearead, for once, that we had a bit of luck on our side. It was time to honour my Christmas promise to Geth that I'd take him to Slimbridge in the New Year. He'd been itching to go there for a while having learnt how many glaring ommissions in his list he could fill with one well timed visit. And despite the fact that Slimbridge on a fine Sunday is a bit like Queen Street, Cardiff during a home international we had a cracking day.

First stop, Rushy Pen and lifer #1 for the boy . . . . .

Bewick's Swan - hundreds of them all over the place. Told you it was going to be easy, son! Next stop, Holden Tower, and within seconds lifer #2 for JJ jnr.

What a top photograph. One of the six Tundra Bean Geese out on the Dumbles. Five minutes later lifer # 3 for the Little Lister: two Spotted Redshanks amongst the hundreds of waders on The Tack Piece. I had to help squeeze Geth out of the hide 'cos his smile was so wide. And it was about to become wider . . . from the new Kingfisher Hide (nice hide if a bit cheesey - from the outside it looks like you're entering a Kingfisher nest hole. Hmm. But at least it's got a rubber floor which stops you'r 'scope from vibrating every time somebody walks in) we saw about 400 Eurasian White-fronted Geese. Lifer #4.

After lunch in the Centre restaurant (tasty if a little expensive) it was back to the Tack Piece. The Twitchmeister grabbed the scope off me and settled down to sift through the 2000 or so waders (mostly Lapwing) and hundreds of ducks in search of lifer # 5. He duly found it, a male Ruff. Moments later he didn't seem very bothered about 'scoping a possible argentatus Herring Gull (Geth: "Can I tick it?" Me: "No". Geth: "Can we go for the Bittern now?").

So, off we went to the Zeiss Hide where we duly dipped on the Bittern. Naturally. But, even the Twitchmeister wasn't too down-hearted. He'd had five lifers in a day. (I've warned him that pretty soon he's going to run out of 'easy ticks', but he doesn't seem perturbed at all. "We'll just have to twitch more" he says). We'd also filled our boots with breathtaking views of thousands of waders and wildfowl - all seen in stunning winter sunlight. But, the day wasn't over. Following a tip off, we went back to the Holden Tower where we found another one of these . . .

. . . you wait years to see one and then you see two in a couple of days. Piece of . . . cake this birding!

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Well done Geth the 200 target is beckonning !!