Wednesday 20 April 2011

Eye ache, year ticks and the big dipper

The moment I dread, checking Birdguides just before bed to find a mega on the local patch - in this case Blue-winged Teal at Wheldrake. Doh! Stupidly, I had left my phone in my work bag and hence missed the calls from my birding mates.
So, a dawn star on Tuesday (19th) was warranted. I rolled out of bed at 5.30 and was heading down the track at Wheldrake before 6, having met Russell in the car park, who was heading off surveying. Pete Piringer was already on site, and we were joined by one other birder. I was surprised how few birders had bothered to have a crack at this bird. The first hour or so was hampered by mist. As it lifted I noticed two Avocets on the pool. They departed as the mist lifted. I spent until 8 really grilling the refuge and swantail, but sadly I could not even locate a Garganey in the tall vegetation, let alone the teal. Not much else doing, apart from a single Dunlin, several Reed Warblers and a couple of Yellow Wags.
After work and putting the kids to bed I thought I would try again. Pretty shattered. Russ was just leaving having failed to get another look at the bird. Again gave the site a good grilling until dark. Rewarded with another fine year tick in the form of 9 Whimbrel which came in from the north and roosted on the refuge. No sign of any good ducks. The BWT must be still here, but is just very good at hiding. Went home, exhausted and with eye ache. Pesky bird.

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