Sunday, February 04, 2018

Going for 'The'.

What does that mean? I think i have used this on here before, so if you are seeing a repeat, please forgive me, its my age...

Well, a lot of birders spend their whole birding time touring around seeing the birds that other people have found. I'm not knocking it, each to their own and indeed it can be quite fun sometimes but more often than not we only tend to 'go for the' when 'the' is a good bird for us, a rarity.

The birders I refer to above go for 'the' Slav Grebe or 'the' Little Stint, or whatever, birds that can be found yourself with a little bit of research and the imagination to check suitable locations. I'm not too bothered about doing that ( but have still done it in the past and will no doubt in the future too, if I happen to be in the area).

In the past I have had people say to me 'Have you been for 'the' Red necked Grebe?' when in actual fact, I am wondering which Red necked Grebe they were on about?

Today we thought we would try and make a change for us, and go for 'the'.

In this case it was 'the' American Wigeon, 'the' Great Grey Shrike and 'the' Hawfinches. All birds that have lingered for a while and have attracted a steady number of visitors over the winter. Mornings like these can mean that very little else is added to the notebook as a lot of time is spent sitting in the car.

First stop this morning was down the far south west of Northumberland to look for Black Grouse. Despite checking a lot of suitable areas on a beautiful frosty morning, they remained elusive. Still, a ringtail Hen Harrier mobbed by a crow as it flew past the car was a nice diversion.

Roadside Red Grouse telling us 'go back' ' go back' were nice as were flocks of early returning Lapwing and Golden Plover in the fields.

Next stop was Grindon Lough for 'the' American Wigeon. Despite hunting through hundreds of Wigeon and Teal, we failed miserably to find our target. A drake Pintail and 20 Goldeneye were the best on offer.

Time to track north where the next stop was to see the returning Great Grey Shrike at Prestwick Carr. If you check my blog for last Feb you will see that I made a similar trip last year. These birds scarcely count as 'the's due to their rarity and are really actually worth twitching.

In the sun it looked lovely sitting atop choice hawthorns in a marshy field. A bit too far away really but some nice views in the scope were had.

Above - Great Grey Shrike at Prestwick Carr.
   All too soon our time was up and we had to call it a day. We never did get 'the' Hawfinches....  maybe next time...

1 comment:

The Wessex Reiver said...

That's a shame 'the' black grouse eluded you as I've just been looking at an astonishing picture of a dozen or more in a tree... sadly not in person, on the Moor House NNR Instagram site. Black grouse are not well designed for aerial preaching it has to be said