Sunday, October 15, 2006


We all come in from the cold
We come down from the wire
An everybody warms themselves
to a different fire
When sometimes we get burned
You'd think sometime we'd learn
The one you love is the one
That should take you higher
You ain't got no one
You better go back out and find 'em

Ah yes. The words of Axl Rose in the G n' R song Breakdown. You'd be surprised how often I think of those lyrics when out birding, or not out birding, or coming back from birding, or just going out. Not that they are particularly insightful, but after a few hours in the field seeing bugger all, you have to remind yourself that good birds don't fly in front of the telly in your living room, if you haven't seen one, you have to get back out and find one. Hold that thought while I ramble on about today.

Looked good first thing in Newtonhill after 2 days of southeasterlies. Not too windy to bird properly, unlike Wednesday. Flushed a few Redwings almost immediately, then a couple of Song Thrushes, and as I got down to the Elsick Burn there were about 15 Blackbirds in the elderberries and 3 Mistle Thrushes flying over. Errr... OK, I'll take thrushes then.

Walk down to the beach wasn't the highlight of my birding career. Plenty Robins, few Goldcrests. Raptors were busy, with 3 Buzzards hanging in the wind over Cran Hill, 2 Kestrels coming through calling, and a Peregrine making a few passes over. The Elders in the Mill garden held a male Blackcap (good) and a Garden Warbler (better - second patch record, although the first was long overdue when I got it this spring). Sorry, this photo is hand-held.

Poor photo of Garden Warbler in errr.... a garden

Four Ruddy Turnstones on the rocks off the beach, with 3 Bloody Rock Pipits and 1 Bollocking Pied Wagtail.

Holy Sylvias - to the bat-allotments, Robin. CAn ANYONE explain to me why this not heaving with interesting passerines? Mind, I saw some good sheds. Gor blimey, I need a good shed. Stick it in the back garden, fill it with old half empty tins of paint, and bottles of Brasso, and drill bits for drills that broke years ago, and retire there until the kids are leaving home. Or until I've drunk all thre Brasso

The Joy of Sheds

More Blackbirds, Goldcrests etc. down the Muchalls Track, and 6 Yellowhammers. Water Valley was a write-off again, so I braved Muchalls. I have to say that Muchalls really did look the donkey's today, with Sycamores thinning enough to get a proper look into them, and occasional loose groups of Goldcrests and Tits moving through - had high hopes of a Yellow-browed. Sadly not to be. Still haven't seen anything decent in Muchalls. Retraced my steps back to Newtonhill, adding Reed Bunting to the day list, but by this time the Muchalls Track had become a motorway of dog-walkers, joggers, retired couples out for a stroll, and other ne'er-do-wells. Someone even mistook my tripod for a rod and started singing 'Gone Fishing'!! ffs! As you know, I try to control my misanthropic tendencies, but I do wish people would just leave me the hell alone! :-0 ;-)

So, back home with only really a Garden Warbler to show for it, and the words of Axl Rose ringing in my ears about going back out and finding something, you'd expect me to be out birding in the afternoon too. Well, no. Rounded up the family and we went out to Maccie D's for food in a box and plastic toys, then a trip t
o the bookshop (I got 'A People's Tragedy' by Orlando Figes , about the Russian Revolution), and HMV (Wednesday 13 'Fang Bang'). Wasn't sure about Wednesday 13. Downloaded a song from the last album about walking with zombies... and it rocked! But i've got bitten by that sort of thing before. e.g. Taking Back Sunday - heard a good single by them on telly, and downloaded their cover of Cure's 'Just Like Heaven'. Wow, thought I, good band, so forked out for their latest album, and it was shite! Apart from that good single. I listened a couple of times and put it away for good. Except the other day I was watching Kerrang and their good single came back on, and I thought 'they are a good band, must give that album another chance', which I did, and it was still shite! Anyway, I'm listening to Wednesday 13 right now... and it rocks! Such an 80s sound. I digress.

SOooooo, we got home about 4 pm, and I thought I could maybe see what footie is on tv today.
But argh!! Noo.... Lizzie and Peter want to play outside, so I'm dragged out into the garden to draw pictures of 'Boo' in chalk on the patio, and push Pea-brain round on his scooter.
And as I'm engaging in these delights (!) suddenly I heard a volley of
whistles from the shelter belt at the back of the garden 'seeouuueee seeouuueee seeouuueee'. F*ck. 'Yellow-browed Warbler!' I shouted at Diane and ran into the house for bins. For all I know, Peter was on his side, crying in the the tangled wreckage of his scooter, (I'd let him go a bit suddenly) but he wasn't my immediate concern. By the time I got back outside, it had stopped calling, but I got onto it deep inside a bushy Elder - two big wingbars flashing at me. I moved round an had some brief views of the rest of it as it moved through the trees, fortunately at low level so Ii got the supercilium, uppers and unders etc. It headed down out of sight towards the road, so I ran out of the garden to head it off at the pass, at the bottom of the tree belt. When I got there, there was no sign, but there was a Common Chiffchaff, which just goes to show there must have been a bit of migration happening. I headed back to our garden, where about 20 min later the Y-b W turned up again, calling, and I got another brief look before dusk.

Apart from having that smug feeling that only the dedicated patch watcher can experience after finally turning up a half-decent bird after weeks of trawling the same circuit seeing nowt, I'm especially smug cos I always thought that belt of trees looked good for a Y-b W one calm October day, and it was! AND a patch tick, starting to redress the balance of those unusually common Pallas's I can't help finding.

Oh yes..... finally! I saw an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Are you watching this Cornell and Auburn... THIS is proof.


Amy Rotan said...

Good Job! I think it's so cool that the first REAL photo premiered on an under-ground bird blog. Explains why we havent' seen any of the birds over here. They must have followed Madonna. Sorry 'bout that by the way. You give us Neil Gaiman and Kieth Richards and we give you Madonna. No wonder the rest of the world hates us.

Martin said...

Things the USA has given the World, that I like:

1) South Park
2) Peanut butter and jelly
3) Drive-thrus
4) Cloned Dinosaurs (actually, I'm not sure that that was real, might have been a documentary, might have been a film - couldn't tell)
5) Steaming Man-holes
6) The Simpsons
7) Britney (before she tanked)
8) Alice in Chains
9) The Space Shuttle

Harry said...

Hi MC,
I agree wholeheartedly with nos 1 and 6 in your list above (I thought that I should be getting more sense than to watch cartoons at this stage, but you're older than me, so no probs!), no 7 was only okay with the sound turned down, and no 5 reminds me of the excellent urban nightmare movie that is 'Taxi Driver'.

Menzie said...

Nice to see you implemented good ID skills with that warbler in the garden.

Did the chalk pictures stop at Boo! or did you get as far as a few Laughing Duck sketches, or maybe Snoring Bear or whatever it's called. Oh God, I'm showing my age now...

Martin said...

no, I just did Boo. Over and over again. it was like the bit in 'life of Brian' where Brian scrawls 'Romani ite domum!' all over the wall.