Monday 31 August 2009

It always happens....

You go away on holiday, see a heap of new birds, and have a great time. Then you come back to hear that one of the species you saw all over the place on holiday has turned up in the UK, where you've never seen one.... But despite the pile of dirty laundry, the obviously you've still got to go and see it, haven't you?!

If this sounds in any way a rational activity, then you are surely a birder. And probably a birder that keeps lots of lists, as well. Otherwise, you should probably seek medical help. Do not buy a pair of binoculars or look at birds, either. It's a slippery slope.

Anyway, the bird in question was a juvenile Blue-winged Teal, which reappeared in Hampshire this morning, and which I went down to see with JL this afternoon. Not even a particularly good bird to look at: ducks aren't many people's cup of tea (a work colleague remains convinced that they aren't birds at all!), and as a youngster, this one was essentially brown and unexciting. It's only partially redeeming features were the strikingly blue forewing panels, as shown in these pics...

So, assuming that it doesn't reveal a penchant for Mother's Pride any time soon, that's another new bird in the UK. In fact, according to BUBO Listing's stats, it was the most likely addition to the list (or alternatively, the commonest bird I hadn't seen in the country). Next on the list should be Black-throated Thrush, Semipalmated Sandpiper and Unmentionable Pipit (dipped seven of these so far).

Given a few more months or years, though, I may look back on today in an even more favourable light: it will probably become a two-tick day, thanks to the American Black Tern I went to see first thing this morning. (No, I hadn't seen hundreds of these in Canada). This time, the diesel-sharers were Howard and Paul, and we all enjoyed pretty good views of a surprisingly obvious bird alongside single White-winged Black and European Black Terns, all juveniles. I'm led to believe that this is likely to be 'split' from European Black Tern as a separate species at some point in the not-too-distant future, giving me the second tick.

No photos of the tern though, since it was always too far away! Also noted was an adult Yellow-legged Gull, and 3+ Swift - getting a bit late for the latter by now.

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