Sunday went to Far Pastures to hunt for the elusive Firecrest. It was going to be difficult as I only had half a binocular after them being knocked off the shelf (by myself) in Gosforth the day before then having to brake sharply when an idiot in the normal white Audi shot round a roundabout without indicating nearly taking myself and another guy out. We both braked hard but he hadn't left his binoculars resting on the front seat so when it bounced off the dashboard it was
$*&?** broken. Anyway when I arrived there was already someone there looking for it and despite many false alarms (nearly all of them Goldcrests) we failed. Also there was this beast
It was being used for weed clearance in the pond and had done part of it on Saturday and for the first time in a few months there were birds there, not many (5 Canadas, 2 Teal, 2 Mallard, a Little Grebe, 2 Reed Buntings, and quite a few Gulls)but better than the big fat none I have seen in my last 3 visits. The operator told me he had been in the area for 6 days and still had Shibdon to do afterwards. The other places he cleared were Maryside (which I had never heard of) but one of the Rangers told me it was near Clara Vale across a public right of way on a Golf Course and it had been completely overgrown, the other was at Ryton Willows and was called The Gut Pond, which had also been overgrown. It might be worth someone checking them out, if they know where they are, cos I dont.
I then went off to town and purchased a new pair of Opticrons, I decided to look at a pair of Bushnells and Nikons in Jessops first but despite being told they were in stock on the website the assistant told me they had no Nikons in the shop but there might be some in the stockroom but he couldn't look for them and the only Bushnells were on display. I went across to Jacobs and they couldn't have been more helpful allowing me to take outside and try several pairs but in the end I went back to Opticrons as the Leicas and the Swaroski were just the odd £1,000 too expensive.
Arrived back at Far Pastures and within 30mins had several views of the Firecrest (mission accomplished) and a good bit of crack with several birdwatchers present although in this months Birdwatch magazine punkbirder is interviewing Graham Catley who says it is best to look for rarities alone or one watcher will drag the other one down so does that mean
a. When I am out with Alan J, Ian D, Graeme B, John A they must be dragging me down and not letting me birdwatch at my full potential because of their constant chatter and requests for information from me
b. I am dragging them down whilst they are answering my questions and spotting the birds which they then have to point out for me (even though it is my 4th calendar year of bird watching, as someone has mentioned once or twice)
I will let you figure out which is correct but a hint is that Ladbrokes have stopped taking bets on answer b
A blog without a bird picture WOW but at least I was trying tonight at 5.20pm whilst my beloved was ordering the meal when I took this pic which I will call
"Waiting for the Kittiwakes from Saffron"
ps. the meal was stunning and I even helped Carole finish her Lamb Jalfrezi
Finally, Congratulations, to Marsch1962, commonly known as Maria who managed to get 3 of her pics of Short Eared Owls on Winterwatch tonight