Thursday, April 13, 2006

Limited success

Today was a funny old day.

Mid-morning, I received a phone call from Darren to say one of his colleagues had seen a Firecrest in the gardens. At lunchtime, Mark Ward and I went to have a look for it - without much optimism, it has to be said. There's a lot of habitat for a 'crest to hide in and my previous success in refinding them has been zero.

We'd been searching in the right spot for about 15 minutes and it wasn't looking too promising.

Then, all of a sudden, the bird popped up in some shrubbery in front of us. It quickly flew up into a tall yew tree and vanished into the branches.

'S***! It's a Firecrest!'

I had a rather brief view, mainly of its backside, but got a glimpse of the eyestripe which made my heart race.

(Have a look at Steve Round's stupendous Firecrest photos)

Next, I reached into my pocket and phoned Darren's mobile.

'This person's phone is currently switched off.'

Doh! Tried again, and then his landline, but he'd gone to lunch and was uncontactable! So that was a tad annoying, to say the least.

After work, we spent an hour or so trying to relocate the Firecrest (without any joy) before heading off to Fowlmere to see the Hoopoe which was found there earlier today.

Sadly, by the time we arrived it had gone to roost in a dense hedge, and if a nice man with his scope already on it hadn't given us a look, I don't think we'd ever have been able to find it ourselves. You could see some pinky-brown bits and occasionally some black and white wing, but that was it. Just bits of Hoopoe in isolation, never the whole bird in all its glory.

It was decidedly unsatisfactory. I hope we'll manage to go for another one later this year.

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