Glaucous-winged Gull Twitch (Saturday 3rd to Sunday 4th March)
Do you go now?……..Do you go tomorrow?…….Do you ignore it?…..Do you see what others are doing?……Do you start crying?
I choose the sensible option of….start crying?
I left work at midday Wednesday with flu, and went straight home to bed. I stayed in the bed room for 48 hours. I did not eat, I did not smile, I did not sh* etc during that time. But I did get a call from the "Legend in his own lifetime". He warned me that the pager was just about to Mega "Glaucous-winged Gull in Camarthens".
Anyway you have to go for "First for Britains", don’t you? Even when there are major birds in Cornwall.
From midday Friday to 1am Saturday morning, I finally had my arm-twisted and I reluctantly agreed to drive the family hearse without the coffin to Wales. Loads of space for Chris Heard’s HI-NRG tape collection, Ian Barnard’s press photography kit bag, Christian Melgar’s waterproof clothing range, and I had enough space for a Kit Kat and my Box Brownie.
I left at 1am on Satuday 3rd April with Christian & Ian. I picked up Chris in Maidenhead at about 2am and arrived in Camarthens at 7am.
On route we stopped at a service station and I couldn’t believe how many birders we knew popped in for a sh?t and a chat. Famous sh?tters included Ron King, Simon King, John Archer, Steve Webb, Richard Fairbanks, Dave & John Cooper, John King, One-eyed Bill and his monocular etc etc.
At 7am we was really expecting a capacity crowd, but there was only about 20-30 cars there. Chris, Christian & I stayed in the car. Whilst Ian starting birding??? (I think chatting).
I got about an hours sleep on arrival and then tried to find the bird on the Estuary from the Car Park. Never really managed to find anything worthwhile as chatting got the better of me during the day. The number of birders soon rose to about 300 as the day unfolded.
I must recommend the Café, just over the Railway Bridge in Ferryside. For ١.50 you get a Full Welsh Breakfast and a cup of Coffee with a picture of an Anchor floating in it. And the same Coffee stayed warm the whole 4 hours I was in the Café.
By 2pm, people started get bored. Some people went for the Pacific Diver, some people went home, some people saw flocks of Goshawks, while others saw none. The only peple seem to still be looking for the Glaucous-winged Gull was one-eyed Bill and his monocular and "Les Holiwell"
Then all of a sudden someone shouts "They’ve got it". People start shouting, screaming and a Carnival atmosphere starts. Les Holiwell is the man of the day to get the Glaucous-winged Gull in view in his scope first.
I first ran to my car and helped "Sleepy Chris" out of his lair and tell him the good news. I then started to speed walk towards the Carnival procession.
15 minutes later I arrived at the epi-centre and a Crowd in excess of 200 birders were watching the Glaucous-winged Gull. It was distant, but some birders could see its blue-leg ring and some of the salient features. I was happy to be able to rule out Glaucous Gull from my view, so I also happily ticked it off.
I watched the Gull for a further 5 minutes and then it flew out of view.
What a reliet, we all thought we was going to "dip" and we didn’t. Who needs drugs for a quick fix…just get a pager…..and your troubles will be over.
We left the area at 5pm and made our way to Cornwall. Some of us had a nice view of Richard Bonsers Bare Bum has his chauffeur overtook us on the inside and gave us a wave with his middle figure. This was somewhere on the M5 near Exeter.
We arrived in the Bodmin area at 10:45pm and easily found a vacant B&B. I shared a room with Chris quiet as a mouse Heard??!!
I wish…..noisy bugger! I could still hear Chris snoring 16 metres away in a soundproof toilet
We all left the B&B at 5:05am and made our way to the Gyr Falcon at Stepper Point near Padstow. On arrival at the Car park was about 15 cars. Rain was extremely heavy and the only waterproof jacket was my fluorescent Coat. I knew it was not going to be popular, but I had no choice if I wanted to stay dry.
We had brilliant views of Gyr sitting on a stone fence. We stayed on site for about 3 hours and one of the Passengers got so wet he had to take his trousers off and wear shorts for the rest of the day. Wolf whistles could be heard all over town.
Birds seen in Cornwall included White-billed Diver, Spotted Sandpiper, Central Asian Lesser Whitethroat (sames as recent Aberdeen University bird from DNA analysis…no chance…..someone’s definitely made a bo bo there).
Got home Sunday at 10:15pm, what a great trip. 㿈 each.
Only low light was having my naked bottom being pinched in a public toilet cubicle near Exeter. Any ideas who it was?