I’ve never really admitted to being much of a twitcher, but its safe to say I am becoming more of one. Having said that, it’s currently all local…ish. In recent weeks I’ve had 3 lifers: Hudsonian whimbrel, black-eared wheatear and Terek sandpiper; 2 in Pagham Harbour in Sussex and one in the New Forest in Hampshire. I can see why people twitch so much too. You do get a thrill from seeing a few bird. That said, it can be just as enjoyable visiting you patch!
Before I continue, I apologise for the terrible photos I’m about to inflict you with. I promise I’ll (hopefully) improve my digiscoping soon…
So, these recent twitches all began on 9th June when the Hudsonian whimbrel was found at Pagham Harbour. I was at work at the time, and immediately thought to myself how inconvenient it was that I hadn’t driven in. All was not lost though, as after finishing the day at the Hayling Island Oysterbeds with Wez, I managed to arrange a lift with Dave and Ian, two local birders.
It was packed with birders when we arrived but we found a spot and had very distant views of the bird in question. Thankfully, it flew once or twice to convince us it was indeed a Hudsonian whimbrel. I was fortunate enough to spend some time down at Pagham Harbour the next day as part of work. With it being low tide at lunch time, I had much better views.
Only a few days later (13th June), I was down on my patch when I saw the news that a black-eared wheatear had turned up at Acres Down. I’d been meaning to return to the New Forest for a while and this seemed like a perfect excuse. To make things better, I bumped into Dave again and we agreed it was worth a go! We were joined by Ken and set off.
We were lucky enough to see the bird almost as soon as we arrived, and enjoyed watching it for at least an hour, while also chatting to some fellow local birders. Again the site quickly filled up with birders all eager to see the bird and they weren’t disappointed.
Only a week later (21st June), news broke that a Terek sandpiper had turned up at Pagham Harbour. The thought of another rare wader was exciting – I particularly like waders! But I then realised getting there might be difficult. Although I can now drive, I don’t own a car, and share it with the rest of my family. Thankfully Sean was passing so was happy to give me a lift.
There weren’t quite as many people present at this twitch which was nice in a sense. As well as good views of the bird in question we saw 6 dunlin, a ringed plover and a turnstone – all returning birds I guess! I had a single grey plover when out with the RSPB a few days earlier too.
So, 3 lifers in 2 weeks! What’s next?