05 May 2010

Down, but not out...

At the end of my last update I was thinking about an early start to the following Sunday morning so that I could try and catch up on some birding - that didn’t happen. Instead, I missed out on both my birding and cycling for the whole of the following week; I was laid up with an attack of shingles! The rash came out on my head, neck and face, looked none too good and hurt like hell - I do not recommend it as a way of getting time off work.

After that little set back it’s been a case of, once again, trying to play catch-up. Over the past weekend I managed to fit in just over 12 hours of birding and as a result added a further 14 species to the “10-Mile List”. Previously to that, on May 24, a short cycle ride to the pub (I was only allowed soft drinks!) resulted in my first sighting of a House Martin this year. Beer gardens have their uses, even when alcohol is not involved, as this was the 100th species located within my recording zone this year.

So, onto the past weekend’s birding. It started off with an hour of garden watching on Saturday lunchtime. By just sitting on the kitchen door step, binoculars in hand, I recorded 11 species with Sparrowhawk, 2 Common Buzzard, House Martin and Swift being of note. The group of around 40 Swift were my first of the year.

The remaining 13 new species all came from trips to Willington, and also Barrow-on-Trent, gravel pits over the holiday weekend. They were, in the order located, Garden Warbler, Cuckoo, Common Tern, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Redshank, Sandwich Tern, Wheatear, Reed Warbler, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Hobby, Yellow-legged Gull and Yellowhammer.

The bird of the weekend has to be the Sandwich Tern. This was the first time I’d ever recorded this species in Derbyshire let alone within my 10-mile zone. To make it just that little bit more special, I found the bird myself and managed to get the two friends with me at the time onto the bird before it flew off as quickly as it had appeared. A couple of photos of the bird, not taken by myself, can be found in the DOS photo gallery along with a great photo of the Cuckoo that was showing well the same morning.

The “10-Mile List” now stands at 114 species, 12 less than I had at this time last year. There is still a lot of birding to come this year but I’m starting to think that, maybe, I’ll not be beating last years total.