Dips and Dippers…

Oh dear, I’ve been quiet of late, haven’t I? The house move is tumbling on, and that and a few other bits and bobs I’ve been doing has meant I’ve not had a lot of time to go out and see anything interesting, and no time to write about it when I do…

The weekend before last I decided to have a big birding blowout before I started getting stuck in to packing, thinking I’d fairly easily pick up three juicy year-ticks. You should never set out with such a cocky attitude, as you’ll anger the birding gods, as I soon found out!

I started off catching the bus to Leash Fen for the great grey shrike that had been hanging around for the few days before that. Aiming to get there for around 8.30 on the bus, I idly checked Twitter on the way and saw one of my contacts had just been stood watching it. Excellent! I got there and found two happy birders who had just seen it perched on a dead tree for twenty whole minutes before slinking off into the mist at about 8.25. I waited two hours and… nothing! Bah! I did get a few nice signs of winter, though, with around 80 redwing over, and a skein of around 120 pink-footed geese, the latter being my first of the winter.

Slightly dejected I made my way back into town (thanks to Chris for the lift!) for my second journey of the day, catching a train to Wombwell and on to Old Moor. Two birds to mop up for the year there, I thought, were the little stint and garganey, and (can you see the theme of the day?) neither were playing. There were a few good waders, including spotted redshank, green sandpiper, greenshank and golden plover, but not my targets!

Green Sandpiper

Last weekend I didn’t get chance to get out much, bar a walk on the Loxley Valley, possibly one of the last times I’ll get to call it my “local patch”. Nothing too out of the ordinary, bar a small party of siskin, a few redwing feeding on Hawthorn, a classic tit flock that included all the expected species, including goldcrest, nuthatch and treecreeper, a mute swan and a good count of eight tufted duck at Old Wheel Dam, and a grey wagtail and dipper. The latter was the first I’d seen in ages, showing just how much I’ve been neglecting my patch recently as they’re easy to spot in the Valley. Maybe I deserved my twitches the week before to fail so dismally!


I’m not sure how far I’ll get in the next couple of weeks, but I’ll try to keep the blog ticking over with something, even if it’s just lunchtime birds, links or photos of fungi… After that I’m hoping my patch-watching flame will be rekindled after I move, so expect a lot of posts about that.


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My name is Pete

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