Sunday, 26 October 2008

Little Blues and Little Greens

Reminiscing about the past can sometimes bring back bad memories as well as good. 2005 was a good year for Trumpeter Finches after a 21 year drought and post Sparowhawk snack after the Sussex bird became a musical takeaway. My efforts to twitch birds 'beyond' the South-east have in the last ten years or so have had mixed results following a long journey to Peterculter in Scotland and good views of Grey Wagtails!! Saturday 25th Oct 2008 was a day out in South Wales complete with good company, fine scenery 'if it wasn't dark' and seeing old faces from the past and good views of Little egrets, always a hard bird to see in North Kent................NOT
The day dawned cloudy and with high hopes the masses assembled around the Kidwelly area hoping to see a Little Blue Heron a 'First for Britain' hot on the heels of one in Southern Ireland just days before. The area was scoured with a fine toothed comb, but as dusk fell Little Egrets had been very much order of the day together with some fine Peregrines, an unidentified small passerine that flew overhead calling like a Serin plus Hen Harrier, Buzzard and vocal Cetti's and Water Rails. Sadly though the Little Blue was nowhere to be seen, it was cold, damp and brought back memories of why I choose to stay in Kent more nowadays. Good views of the likes of Dave and Jackie Bridges, John Allan, Chris Collins complete with snacks, Steve Spooner, Webb, Mark Golley and Eddie Myers to mention a few plus the Kentish stalwarts adding another trip to their dip list.
On the journey home whilst not really enjoying a Burger somewhere in Wales, the pagers Mega alerted KENT GREEN HERON Royal Military Canal midday!
Now then, Kent is a long long way from the Americas and Green Herons are cracking little birds that I've been fortunate enough to see twice in the UK and many abroad, but Kent.............. incredible. Another short night with little sleep and a quick drive to West Hythe via the M20 to a car park already brimming with cars and shady figures. Fortunately the police didn't have a look in or they would have thought it very strange, car loads of men sitting in cars, middle of the night, steamed up windows! The assembled mass of 15 or so Kent birders wandered in the dull light up to the dam area of the canal where the sign above clearly shows what to look out for in the area. What can you spot? the sign says The troops scanned the reads, stones, trees, Botolph's Bridge, told a few stories, looked at some more reeds for next hour or whatever until suddenly the apparition gently flew past us all and landed in the reeds at the dam. GREEN HERON the 6th British record I think and what a corker
Almost a quick as it appeared it flew into the reeds and the trail went cold though fortunately following a few calls to wake others from their comfy beds the bird put on a spectacular show at reasonable range allowing all the enjoy and the dog walkers a mere day tick as they had already seen it on previous days
A first winter bird that had flown all the way from the USA and presumably across the country into Kent, surely one of the most unexpected finds in Kent alike American Coot in 1996 and Swainson's Thrush in 1976, 32 years ago on 27th Oct!!
The birders behaviour was impeccable and the waterproofs got an airing in the foul weather. Job done, back home late morning, not bad at all Green Heron 10 points, Little Blue Nil Points.



Tony Morris said...

keep it there till I get home!

Barry said...

Hi Tony
We'll try our best