Rose-coloured Starling, Bristol

Rose-coloured Starling
Rose-coloured Starling, Rhos-on-Sea © Dave Curtis

This sets all sorts of records. Only my second sighting of the species, it’s also my only adult: 1998’s bird in Andover, Hampshire was a less spectacular juvenile. Saturday’s individual in Bishopston lived up to its name with a pleasant bullfinch hue to its body feathers. A dark hood and dark wings added contrast and the light was good enough to pick out pinky legs and a pale bill as the bird perched atop a birch.

To make the scene even more memorable, Continue reading

Cattle Egret, Burton Mere RSPB

A change of name for this reserve, from Inner Marsh Farm to something more descriptive of where it is, which should have helped after ten years of failing to find the place.

It wasn’t as simple this time either and I again found myself hunting round Neston, where my road map erroneously places the RSPB symbol. This lower half of the Wirral Peninsula in Cheshire is becoming rather familiar. Even so, it took the local postie to set me right and send me back to a very discreet sign pointing down Continue reading

Road to Spurn

Spurn Point, E Yorks
Ex-Road to Spurn Point, E Yorks

All the way along the M18, M62 and beyond to Kilnsea, recent rain had left standing water in many fields. Night fell; being north and east of Bristol, East Yorkshire loses its sun early. I had to search for my B&B in darkness and succeeded just as a sharp shower coincided with my dash between car and front door.

“You timed that well,” said the landlady.

I’d heard that phrase before, but Continue reading

The 300 Club

I don’t think this exists in the same way as the UK400 Club, but I’m unlikely ever to join the latter so I’ll have to invent the former. In any case on Saturday a green-winged teal at Slimbridge was my 300th British species, just as I’d predicted weeks back on 299.

Having tried for what’s presumably the same individual already this year, I had an uncanny feeling as I approached the Zeiss Hide that I would crack it. Sure enough, many scopes were trained on one spot as I entered and a little enquiry soon put me on to one bird with Continue reading

200 Up

Forest of Dean
Forest of Dean, Parkend

That’s now my tally for 2014, so only five more will beat my previous best. Even so, I’m running a paltry 130-somethingth on the Bubo chart. Some folk must have a lot of time and money.

White-fronted geese at Slimbridge on Saturday were 199 for the year. They were easy to spot from the Holden Tower as usual, as were flocks of greylags. I scanned through those several times on the way back to the Rushy Pen before finally landing Continue reading