Thursday, 20 September 2012

In which I am reminded how boring twitching can be

I don't twitch as a rule, but when something turns up just down the road I'm willing to make an exception.

And so I found myself at Rainham Marshes today staring intently at this patch of mud, twitching occasional Marsh Frogs:


I think you'll agree it's just as exciting up close.

The Crake was seen for about 2 seconds going left across that spot about 15 minutes after I arrived, and before I'd zeroed in on this patch, so I missed it. In the next hour and a half I saw:

  • Baby Little Grebes
  • Coots
  • Mud
  • An adult Little Grebe making a spirited attempt to drown a juvenile
  • Coots
  • A Marsh Frog
  • Mud
  • A Grass Snake swimming across the stream (which was actually quite cool)
  • Coots
  • Mud
  • Baillon's Crake
It was about a 3 second view as it passed across the scope, but it was clear and well earned so I'm having it.

If the gentleman in the hide somehow spotting everything interesting is reading, you have my genuine thanks for sharing so promptly and quietly. Particularly for the Crake (obviously) and the Grass Snake. No drama, no 'look how good I am', just quiet professionalism. I like that.

My advice - bite the bullet, get out of bed and go first thing in the morning. Stare at that patch of mud long enough and it's guaranteed any time of day, but it sounds like the morning showings have been the best by far.

Monday, 10 September 2012

The 'p4rus honeymoon challenge'

For those that don't know, p4rus flew out to Italy today on honeymoon. The birders at Rainham have already done sterling work by finding a Baillon's Crake the day before his wedding and leaving him unable to twitch it, but I would ask more.

My final duty as p4rus's best man is to implore all of you - go to Rainham, Grays, Tilbury and the surrounding areas, and find as many rarities as you can. With any luck his new wife will have embargoed all bird news until their return (under pain of further, more excruciating pain), so he'll step happily back into the country only to find there was a Greater Yellowlegs or a Sociable Plover or something just down the road while he was gone.

Bonus points if you see it in a location that can be overlooked by the window of his flat.