Getting my 500th British & Irish Bird was obviously on the cards for 2010, so when RBA mega'd House Crow on Sunday 12th September 2010 at 21:15 phone calls had to be made.
The first person I rang was Lee Evans, he couldn't go on Monday (he had a date with a King Eider in
On Monday at 8:06am, I was kindly greeted with a text from Mark Commody stating that “Indian House Crow showing very well at Kennedy pier
John Lees rang me to say he has booked 2 days of his annual leave, but needed to be back at work by 3am Thursday.
This restriction didn’t suit everybody ..so pager adverts went out…lack of interest thankfully forced us all to travel in one car. During the Monday, it transpired that only 4 British travelled (Chris Batty, Stuart Piner, James Hanlon and Steve Webb) for the Crow. The only other British and Irish record of 1974 stayed 2 whole years and was only seen by a couple of birders including a 14 year old boy called Killian Mullarney.
I got home at 5:45pm, packed my rucksack with a few essentials (toothpaste, bins, scope, new Collins field guide, credit card, hammer, masking tape etc. John arrived 15 minutes earlier than schedule and had the pleasure of watching me nibbling on Kim’s breasts….well I was actually munching chicken breasts,...married men are allowed to dream aren’t they?
At 6:30pm, John & I left my home in
At 8:30pm, team is fully assembled and we now embark on the 5hour journey to Fishguard.
During the journey it becomes fairly obviously, it’s going to be very difficult to arrive in Fishguard in one piece….The wind was buffeting the car constantly; and John’s car was consequently drifting between lanes 1, 2 and 3 without turning the wheel.
I pulled into a service station on Junction 36 of the M4 (Shell at
John, Chris & I popped into to this Service Station shop to buy some supplies. The service station had a Coffee section, with stools and small tables. Most of the stools were occupied with lorry drivers with their tongues hanging out….I’ve been to many service stations over my 43 years but how many service stations do the staff pop over for a chat when not serving? This one had a slim girl with luxuriously long blonde hair and little makeup. Whilst I was decided what size red bull to buy, I noticed she left the till unattended and glided over and sat on a stool opposite a seated lorry driver. The lorry driver moved his coffee from the small table section as this girls massive breasts were now resting on the table and covering most of the tables surface area …so there you go, some lorry drivers can be very considerate creatures.
We boarded the ferry at 02:30 and I immediately tried to find a place to lay my sleeping bag. I found a nice flat section off the floor near the lifts. All I need to do now, is arrange all my pocessions in such a position that if anyone tries nicking them during the night..it will wake me up instantly.. I can then grab my trusty hammer and bash the assailant on the bonse. Kids don’t try this yourself, you might get locked up and when you get released, the bird will probably be gone.
The Ferry Captain wakes everybody up with the tannoy 20 minutes before you the Ferry docks. I then got up and I wandered aimlessly around the Ferry trying to find the others. I cannot believe my eyes ...is that 3 of Premierships finest I can see before me. Yeah I spot Brett Richards, John Regan & Tony Ford. They decided to take their car on the ferry on a day return basis for just £170. I do hope our trip works out cheaper than this, as one of my passengers moods will change for the worse if he shells out more pennies than anyone else. Lee please don’t worry I’m not going mention any names.
In the Ferry terminal Lee makes a beeline for the Car rental desk and gets the cheapest vehicle Budget has in stock. Which happens to a 7 seater 4 by 4. Fantastic news, I am so use to squeezing 4-5 adults into a Metro, with scopes, rucksacks, sleeping bags and picnic hampers…you normally end up getting someone like Chris sitting on your lap.
We leave Rosslare at 07:15 and we make our way west to
We arrived at
Once I clapped eyes on my 500th wild Bird for
I would like to point out the following:- I love the Irish, I love your accent, I love your kindness, I love your Country, I love your birds. The most enjoyable bit of keeping a British & Irish list is twitching birds in your magnificently equipped country.
So I would now like to apologize for the wording on my T-Shirt. It should have stated
It has taken me 12 years to see 500 birds…I’ve upset (more than once) nearly every important person in my life, just to satisfy my listing passion.
Lee and me enjoying my big moment.
What a beautiful place Cobh is. We had an Irish breakfast in Cobh and on the way back to Ferry we stopped at Ballycotton and Tacumshin. Got home at 7:30am Wednesday morning. My share of the trip was £65 plus food.
The Fishguard – Rosslare Ferry runs daily and a day return costs £26 (per person) plus a £2 booking fee. If you miss the return you’ve got to buy a new ticket. The Stena Ferry goes twice a day from Fishguard (02:45d-6:15a) & (14:30d-18:00a) and twice from Rosslare (09:00d-12:30a) & (21:15d-00:30a)
CAR PARKING AT FISHGUARD
The Ferry Car Park charge £7 for 24 hours and £18 for upto 3 days. Alternatively you can park the near the Tesco on the approach road. which is only a 20 minute walk from the Ferry Terminal.
The journey to