Doing Things Differently

By PhilWWalton

Once Bittern, Twice Shy

Big Day today.

With only two birding days left in February, I was two birds short of my goal - 100 Patch Ticks by the end of the month. Before anyone comments, I know that this is a leap year and there are three days left in February. But Wednesday is no-car-no-birding-so-chores-to-do-day. OK?

My first visit was Temple Newsam, to scour the woods for Nuthatch. Apart from a brief glimpse of a sillouette of a low-slung bird with a big beak, that I am too honest to call a tick, all I saw were the usual suspects. Such asChaffinch, which you can see here. Still, all the birds were singing their hearts out, so it was a pleasant way to while away a couple of hours.

From there, I headed off to the Hide, where two Med Gulls had been seen at the weekend. On my way, I called in at the Filter Beds, just in case. Again, only the usual suspects.

On the off-chance that Red-legged Partridge were in the fields opposite, I crossed the road and heard before I saw my 99th patch tick of 2012 - Yellowhammer, which you can see here. As you can see, this colouful bird brightened up a very dull day.

After Tweeting Lawrie to gloat alert him as to the Yellowhammer's location, I carried on to the hide. As so often happens, I was greeted by " just missed it!!!" The Med Gull had been seen earlier in the morning, but now I was in the hide, it had disappeared.

Ah well - c'est la vie! I settled down to eat my lunch and chat. And then number 100 turned up - and I spotted her first!!! It was the chasing gulls that caught my eye first. Then I moved my bins left to see what was exciting them - and I got even more excited than those gulls. "BITTERN!!!", I yelled.

It flew right to left in front of the Hide and landed in the reeds at the back of the lake, as you can see in the top picture. After posing for several minutes, it flew off to the right, again pursued by gulls, as you can see in the bottom picture.

Cracking bird, real excitement and my 100th patch tick for 2012. Also number 110 on my total 2012 list.

Unfortunately, Lawrie arrived for his lunch break mere minutes after the Bittern had flown. So now my BCWL is +2. Ah, sweet revenge for the Jack Snipe........

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