The Unplanned Hudsonian Godwit

This bird isn’t even on my 415-strong USA list. Sibley suggests a rather spotty autumn occurrence on the eastern seaboard, so my brief year in Connecticut wasn’t sufficient to touch base with it. Of course the species is a mega over here with only three previous records, the last in 1988, and even my non-twitching friends have mentioned it.

First showing at Meare Heath, part of Shapwick Heath NNR, two weekends ago, the bird had disappeared overnight. My plan that day had included Continue reading

Yellow Wagtail, Langford Lakes

This Wiltshire Wildlife Trust reserve is slowly coming into its own. For a start it’s a convenient hour or so out of Bristol on my regular way east. This makes it a perfect post-coffee stop from Frome or Warminster. In the reverse direction a while back it was also well placed for a little evening birding without great expectations.

Swallows, house martins and sand martins soon dispelled any boredom, as did calling Cetti’s warblers. But it was the scrapes at the far end of the site that I was aiming for and Continue reading

Snipe, Barrow Gurney

The tanks here are really too deep to attract waders, apart from regular common sandpipers. So, I got a surprise when a bird zigzagged away from my approach along one of the ditches round the site. Obviously I didn’t get a good look at it but the behaviour was all snipe and it helped me by calling once as it flew – that raspy little note.

This was the middle of March on an evening visit: I was killing time before Continue reading

The Ice Age

It’s fascinating to see resistance to an idea well beyond the stage when evidence for it is overwhelming. Especially with hindsight when other explanations now seem so outlandish. It’s also interesting to note the factions clinging to these weird hypotheses – the establishment, those who benefit from the status quo, those whose own standing depends on old ideas.

Thus it was with the new-fangled theory that Continue reading