Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Hello....


It's your third check that week of the weather charts - the weather is still looking good for tomorrow. Surely they can't fluff this? High pressure over the continent, low pressure over the channel and mid-October. The last few messages of day hint at good things - a few Yellow-broweds and an increase in thrushes. Choosing bedtime reading is easy - Lewington Rare Birds. You flick through the plates with wide eyes. Which status are you going to find - A, B, C or D? You arrive on the coast and it's crunch time. You step outside - first bird a Yellow-browed, 800 Redwing drop from the the, a Richard's Pipit bombs over, then you bang your head as you wake up.

You look out the window to see the trees shaking - for the ninth day running it's strong westerlies. Cape Clear is slowly disappearing into the sea - sinking under the weight of yanks, Tacumshin is struggling to keep up with it's flocks of Buff-breasts and AGPs, one minute Scilly is best and the next Shetland is best. Then the next minute, maybe even the Welsh islands are the best. The east coast certainly isn't the best, but that's where you're marooned, unable to rid yourself of yet another bout of Self Finder's Anxiety (SFA - symptoms include irritability, high temperature, increased likelyhood to swear when reading pagers, a tendency to behave like a bit of a *!£# towards persons who have recently found a rare; treatment includes rest, plenty of fluids, news that the Parula present on Cape Clear for the last 17 days has been re-identified as a Great Tit from photos, the finding of a Radde's Warbler or rarer).






Finding rares never runs smoothly - well almost never - very (very) occasionaly things go your way. And that's what keeps you going, that warm thought that maybe you just might possibly go out today and find a Thick-billed Warbler. But how do you go out and find a.....












Move to Shetland or keep thrashing your patch? Work the scrub slowly or cover the ground? Bird as a team or go solo? Spend every September on the Out Skerries? Who knows, but one thing seems to be universally agreed - finding rare birds is bloody difficult! But if it was easy, where would the fun and achievement be? Would you still be excused for stamping on your pager, as news came through of the upteen-zillioneeth Bluetail of the autumn (after you had spent 59 of the last 72 hours looking for one)? What qualities make a self-finder - rugged, hardcore and committed, or maybe you just need to be a bit simple.....




Make sure you check back for loads of pointless stories about days I went and found nothing, or the time(s) when what I hoped was a Rubythroat was actually a Robin.

Good birding......er, sorry finding.

p.s. have you ever secretly deep-down thought Orkney is best?















5 comments:

Alan T said...

Could have sworn I left a comment a few minutes ago, you must have one of those rips in the space time continum I keep hearing about. All that disappointment is character building though dont you think?

Gary the Greenfnch said...

Yes the chasing is the fun bit. Please take (most of) the above with a pinch of salt!

Harry said...

Those umpteen Bluetails are very hard to take when one lives in Ireland, where we still await our first national record! Still, it is in hope of finds like that that I remain so keen to spend time in the field in autumn.
Hard to motivate myself in winter, however, especially with the reduced opportunities for gull-watching these days locally. Roll on spring: we may not get many migrants, but it should at least be warmer!

Ash said...

Alright Rosco,
I've got a self found related query for you. A couple of weeks back I saw a GW Egret from a train near Ely right next to the tracks. When doing a bit of research later I found out one was seen about 3 miles away a few days beforehand, not having my finger on the pulse of Cambs rare news I was unaware of this when I saw the bird. I can't be arsed to wade through the punkbirder rules again but can I have this? I should probably just keep quiet and have it but just wondering..
No job as yet but still hoping it'll be somewhere rare..

Gary the Greenfnch said...

Hi Ashy, sounds ok to me according to the Punkbirder news ignorance/genuine surprise ruling