News of the bird broke around 3pm on Wednesday 3rd October and PRESSURE was on immediately to get the Thursday off work. Fortunately the boss didn’t mind me having the day off. This time I didn’t have to lie, bribe, beg or offer my body for sex. Just passed her my holiday card to her with a £5 note held on with a paperclip??
I was looking forward to the trip, especially as I had just endured a fruitless coach trip to Scotland. Every year between September and October I select a bird I have no chance of getting and embark on a coach journey to Aberdeen to look at the Shetland/Orkney ferry I never get on. This time I was lured to Foula by a 1% chance of getting a normally skulking Siberian Thrush posing on a grass lawn. I got off at Aberdeen 3 hours later than schedule, this was due to a breakdown on route. Returned home later the same day after being crippled by carrying around a sleeping bag, scope, tripod, rucksack, large coat , food & drink bag around Town Centre for 6 hours. The journey home is the best bit, you generally sit next to a complete moron, who talks a lot of sh?t for the whole 12 hour journey home. On this occasion I had the pleasure of sitting next to someone who told at least 15 people on his mobile during the night how he witnessed someone getting their fingers cut off by opening a safe.... Magic no sleep, look forward to the next Aberdeen dip….probably going to happen in 2008. The coach can be as cheap as £26 return if you book a day or so before departure.
Anyway back to the main event,I left my house at 3:30am Thursday morning with Ian Barnard, Christain Melgar & Sussex Sports Celebrity "John Lees". We picked up and Chris Heard at 4:30am at junction 18 of the M25.
For my 40th Birthday this year, on June 13th, my wife Kim bought me a Sat-Nav device. She has been quite fed up of me getting lost and refusing to ask directions on our European holidays, so voila an exceptional & thoughtful present I was given.
As you probably know Sat-Nav’s are not cheap, I think it cost her around £200 and is probably more valuable that my P reg. Ford Mondeo.
We took it on the twitch and for some reason it wanted us to get off the M1 at every junction and go on A/B roads to Flamborough. We did get there the same day/time the sat nav predicted though, give or take a couple of hours.
I think these devices will revolutionize birding, only if you can keep your composure and refrain from smashing it up every time it beeps for mobile speed cameras.
Arrived at 9:10am and everybody run off from the car and left me to lock it up and make my way to the Flycatcher. 400 birders were apparently there at first light. This bunch probably included the FAILED overnight STEEL TOE-CAPPED TREE-BEATERS and associated SPOTLIGHT brigade. (Don’t worry folks I’m sure there is an element of exaggeration in this story…!). On arrival I encountered about 150 birders. It didn’t take me long to almost get into a fight with one of the birders. He said to me "Can you "f**k off please, your head is in the f**king way?" My scope was there before him, but rather make a scene I shunted forward to give him some space and more importantly he was bigger than me.
The amount of Mr. Grumpies that turn upto twitches and turn into Mr. Happies after seeing their target bird is definatley on the increase. If this is you, maybe you should serious consider the side effects of keeping a list! Is my face like that...? If so, please lie to me because listing keeps me penniless & gets me the weirdo status at work.
This hobby is portrayed by Bill Oddie on TV as full of cuddly-wuddly. Fun-loving people who would lend you their Pager, Scope and WIFE for the day in exchange for giving them tips on how to find a Great-crested Grebe’s nest on a village pond. Where have these types of people gone?
The Flycatcher performed well for me for a continuous 5 minutes just before midday. It was at a range of around 20 meters and I watched it with Bins and noted the salient features.
Next stop was Isabelline Shrike at Bempton & then Siberian Stonechat at Spurn.. John had a particularly good day, he got a couple of lifers and managed to collect some superglue dog sh?t on the bottom of his Wellington boots that stunk the car out for most of the day.
Got home at Midnight with more rattling noises in the car now than in a babies bedroom.
650 miles driven at a cost of £17per person.