Saturday, June 17, 2006

Remind me not to go twitching...

Much against my better judgement, I went twitching after work last night (again).

Things didn't start too badly - we headed for the Red-footed Falcon (see Steve Blain's photos) at Marston Vale Country Park. On the walk along the cycle path on the way to the bird, we came across this Common Toad, which I had to stop and photograph:


Regrettably, there was no sign of the Red-foot, nor of much else. A group of bored-looking birders was loafing in the area. But we did bump into Tom McKinney and Miss Sarah Cole, which was good, and agreed to meet up in the Boat Inn at Thrupp, our next destination, where there is a Scops Owl...

Tom had already been once, on Wednesday night, and witnessed some amusing scenes. The bird had been clearly audible but could not be seen so easily. To get from one side of the tree where it was to the other, you had to go through a kissing gate, which only allows one person through at a time.

There were around 400 people trying to get around in a hurry, so twitchers started hurdling the fence next to the gate, with predictable results: 'It was like Becher's Brook in the Grand National... one bloke caught his leg on the fence and fell into a blackberry bush...'

There had also been sporadic fighting in the cramped conditions. Great!


Big lamps were employed to try to pinpoint the bird's location, but were unsuccessful (though it did keep calling). Disappointingly, there was no fighting while we were there, but we did spot Lee Evans. Ha.

We saw the bird several times, but always as a silhouette as it led the assembled crowd a merry dance


In the end, following the owl around got a bit boring and it was late, so we went home.

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995