I am reluctant to start my first ever blog entry with a sour taste in my mouth (and I'm not talking about congealed christmas leftovers), but an incident that has burdened me whilst birding, the resulting feelings of which left me somewhat self-aware of my ethnicity as a passionate birder.
On the 30th September 2013, I set off on a four day trip to Spurn Point in East Yorkshire in anticipation of connecting with rare autumn migrants hopelessly off-course as they battle their way towards promised wintering lands. Maybe the early part of September is a much more sensible time to visit demonstrated by large falls of Wryneck during the first couple of weeks and the confiding Great Snipe that delighted many during its short Yorkshire life.
View of the Humber Estuary from the Crown and Anchor pub at low tide
The trip started slowly. Common Redstarts were noted early doors covorting with a Lesser Whitethroat in bushes opposite the Crown and Anchor pub. Seawatching too provided interest…
A fine day started at Turtle Beach followed by a fruitless search for Crab Plover. I believe this was the right location for them, but despite a long muddy trudge, they failed to materialise.
I was up early to have a quick look around the scrubby barren areas around the hotel that yielded a couple of male Desert Wheatear, a Red-tailed Wheatear, and a surprise Wryneck.
Firstly driving round the lagoon at Ras al Hadd produced plenty of waders including both species of Sand Plover, my first ever Terek Sandpiper with one group holding 35 birds, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Gull-billed Tern just offshore, and small groups of Grey Plover and Greenshank.
A Black-headed Wagtail flew past.
Moving onto Khwar Jirama just off the Sur road, I could sense that the beach was muddy so made conservative efforts to keep the rental car away from the sinking mud. This was made evidently clear to me as I watched one poor individual, his car sinking deeper into the the brown gunk while a 4x4 made several attem…
A couple of days in the Peak District to end off the year. Driving up on the 30th arriving into the National Park, and setting off from the White Lodge Car Park for a river walk through Deepdale.
The weather was a bit dreary but the steady flow of the river and the rolling hills made for a pleasant walk to the quaint village of Ashford-in-the-water. Along the way, two Dipper were incongruously inactive by the river margins.
The next day was a real treat with a trek up Mam Tor and the Ridge. The circular walk starts and finishes in Castleton with great views over the peaks from the trig point and the 'ridgeway'. The wind was literally breathtaking, surging through the valley and over the tops, punching its weight into our bodies as we clumsily made our way along the beaten track. A great experience.