Saturday, 20 November 2010

Ulterior Motive

I've been laid up with a cold all week and just haven't had the motivation to get anything on here. Not that there's much of anything to get on here apart from last weekends twitching activity. Yes, I've been twitching and am now writing about it later! ;-) I wasn't really in any way shape or form tempted to drive up to Manchester to see the Pied-billed Grebe BUT  when I heard that Nick Page was going to drive up from Bristol I jumped at the chance to go. I drove up to Nick's with Bun and Joe ( everything's s**t) Ray and by around 11 o'clock we were at Hollingworth Lake.We saw the Pied-billed Grebe easily, plenty of room for everyone for a change and it was showing exceptionally well, catching and consuming perch of such a size you'd have thought it wouldn't ever be able to swallow them. I still don't know how it did! I'm pleased I went to see it now as it looked very different to a Little Grebe, nowhere near as similar as I'd imagined. I was surprised that Nick was so keen to see it having lived in the USA for many years, where he's seen 'thousands' of them, one on just about every pond apparently! He was also telling us how common American Robins were and gripped us off with his tales of a Varied Thrush on his back yard!! Joe was only there (I suspect) for the tick value alone, as he bemoaned the fact that it was the worst rarity he'd ever seen. He really moans a lot ! And with me being the mother of a 17 and an 18 year old  that says something! He called his camera ( a superb set up  that I'd give my high teeth to own) a piece of s**t and at the visitor centre the tea and bacon sandwiches got the same verdict.

I went on this twitch not primarily to see the Pied-billed Grebe, I had an ulterior motive....

Pied-billed Grebe
Founding member of The Pied-billed Grebe Appreciation Society.

What was my ulterior motive? I don't hear you cry. Well, 'going for' the Pied-billed Grebe obviously meant going up t'north and that's where these are...
We saw these on a scenic industrial estate in Leek, Staffordshire. There were twenty-four of them, moving between the top of an Ash tree on one side of the road and some small Rowan trees on the other. These berry laden trees were just a few feet away from us and we got superb views. The birds were too near and hyperactive to be able to digiscope them, which was a shame. I had to make do with more distant shots of them in the Ash tree. Still, just seeing them was the main thing. I suspect that Joe actually really liked these and he even got some nice shots of them with his 'piece of sh*t'. They were only my third ever Waxwings, I want to see more! I'm sure I'll never get tired of seeing (or hearing) them. There's a slim chance some will make it down to Devon later in the winter but if not I'm going to Staffordshire again soon to see the folks, so there may be some near Burton by then. Here's hoping!

I'm sorry to say I haven't been out on patch much at all apart from a few very uneventful dog walks. Last Saturday I was trying out my super-zoom camera on some waterfowl on the estuary I quite liked this snap of a trio of Wigeon, I reckon the female nearest the camera is having a real 'bad hair day'.

And finally, out of the archives a couple more photos of the lovely American Robin who it appears has now left us. I'm only putting them on to make myself 'look good' of course! ;-)

1 comment:

kirstallcreatures said...

Great pics Karen, I must be the only person who hasn't yet managed to see a Waxwing, I live in hope. Linda