White-throated Robin Twitch (Monday 6th to Tuesday 7th June 2011)
Both White-throated Robin shots taken by Matt Eade http://seafordbirding.blogspot.com/ on Thursday 9th June.
It’s Monday morning at 8:36am and I just load my laptop and sandwich box on the back seat of my Vauxhall Vectra and I hear the liquid sound of a text message hitting my HTC Wildfire. Without trying to open the message I decide to first look at my silent pager (I hate the mega alert going off whilst at work) and see if it is. Bingo it is. I read it as I simultaneous perch my derriere inside the Vectra.
My god it’s really a real MEGA. No less than a White-throated Robin in
(1) I’m due to be at work in 20 minutes time. (2) On Tuesday I’m flying to
I decided it was worth the risk in going (even if by alone). All I had to do was get permission, I rang up my
First stop was PETROL. Tank was more or less empty, so I totally filled it up. I tried to get some cash out at the Cash point but it was empty. No time to bugger about getting any cash out of another cash point as the adrenaline was starting to pump and my body was starting to twitch. So that’s why they call it twitching.
The only confirmed passenger I had before I left the petrol station was Tony Vials who was going to meet me at M1 junction 15A. I quickly entered the M23 and starting driving Northbound. The decision had not been made whether to go Clockwise or Anticlockwise around the M25, but after John Benham confirmed he wanted to come, the decision was made to go Clock wise. Seconds later I received passenger offers from
I put a tweet and a facebook message out, advertising my twitch.
It took 45 minutes to get to Leatherhead and John was quickly found patiently waiting, Then I get another call from a guy called Brendan who wanted a lift. I asked him to get to Junction 18 of the M25. That means the car is now officially FULL.
Lucky for Lee his partner
M25 has ground to a halt and it takes me 2.5 hours to get to Junction 18. Lee then rings me and asks “What am I doing about the Robin?” I said “I’m at junction 18 and can be at your in a few minutes time!” Immediately he wants to come.
Minutes later Lee is sitting in front seat of the car and making phone calls galore. John and Brendan are sitting in the back of the car and enjoying listening to THE colourful conversations Lee is embarking on.
Whilst on the M1 it becomes obvious that we need to take a detour eventually as Junction 19?-20? is closed. We pick up Tony Vials at 15A at about 12:30pm. I guess it becomes uncomfortable in the back, but what could I do different?
We came off the M1 a few junctions up and get back on the M1 at about one junction north of the closure.
Many of the phone calls Lee receives have us all in stitches. The phone call he receives that the Bowling team has just turned up was hilarious. Lee enquires if they can postpone their match to another day, and he was willing to give them money to stop playing. Well if you know Lee, you very rarely see him part with money. On this trip Lee brings a cardboard box full of food and drink. Lee has got no space for his feet in the foot well.
Another phone call about a barking dog was a classic. Constant barking was just too much for the Robin, she or he decided to fly back into the impenetrable
Chris Heard who was already on site said he missed the Bird by a few seconds.
10 minutes later Chris rings says he's now seen the Robin and its back on the Green. The Dog and Bowling Party are still in attendance. Lee at this point is apoplectic. I think that’s the right word for Lee’s condition.
At 3:15pm we arrive at
I am soon greeted by the two
I couldn’t believe how small the
Two and quarter hours then passed and there had been no sign of the Robin anywhere.
Twitchers/photographers were asked to move back and give bird space to fly in from the corner of the
I decided to have a chat with Chris Brown (the finder) and see if he would go back into the trapping area and try to push it back onto the
Chris Brown soon goes into the trapping area and comes out and announces he can’t see the Robin anywhere. Lee suggests we all independently start searching for the Robin in gardens in the vicinity.
After 20 minutes of searching I get a phone call from Simon Chidwick. He announces that the Robin is currently in the
The time is now 5:50pm and my shit mood has totally lifted. I get down from the Van and give others a chance to view the Robin. I wander back to the Car and devour my packed lunch. I send another tweet and facebook message announcing the good news. Time is getting on and it was getting a bit chilly and so I slip a fleece on and go back to the walled
The best news is that everybody connects and we decide to leave at 7:15pm. I arrange for John Benham, who wanted more prolonged views of the Robin to get a lift back with our mutual friend John Lees. I needed to get home as I was flying to
I must say that were no damage to the wall, but one Vans windscreen did get smashed by someone standing on the wrong section of the roof. The roof of the van I was standing on, did cave in a little bit...I think 10 people on the roof at the same time was just too much.
On the way home we stopped for fuel and a Burdger King. After I dropped off LGRE at Little Chalfont I got back onto the M25 and 5 minutes later I hear a loud bang coming from the front of my car. The car is still moving so I carry on…maybe I hit something on the road. 3-4 minutes later the battery light starts flashing. I felt instantly sick as my Breakdown and Recovery policy with Greenflag had only just expired in March and I’ve forgotten to renew it.
Where the M4 connects with the M25 is the exact point the RED battery light decides to stay on. What shall I do? Surely if I stop and have a look inside the bonnet I will not have a clue what to do! I’m a bloody accountant for god sake, the only thing I know about cars is changing tyres. I decided to carry on driving….I was still have 40 minutes to reach home. I did get home (without any recovery help) at 1:20am and the oil light also came on for the 2nd time during this twitch.
Petrol cost was £120 and £18 in Oil and a £1 donation to Tees Ringing Group. It cost me approxt £33.60
I should hear about the Car status on 13th June. Fingers crossed its repairable; I personally think it’s my 5th write off in 12 years (Volvo, Probe, Escort, Mondeo and Vectra). Kim is totally pissed off that I am the one constantly wearing cars out and thinks all passengers should take it in turns to use their cars as well. I guess there is only so many times a car can drive to
Photo above taken by Steve Dunn. 3/5 of my crew can be seen above:- Brendan, LGRE and the very MISERABLE Baggers.
Taken off Birdforum. Once I had a phonecall from Simon Chidwick about the 5:30pm re-location of the Robin. Brendan, LGRE and me legged it to where the Robin had been found.
At this stage LGRE had just seen the Robin. I'm sure I recognise the guy wearing the blue and grey coat.
Taken off Birdforum. Sue Bryan decides to give me a cuddle.
Simon Chidwick can be seen infront of the blue car.
The DSLR photographers were asked to move four times, but selfishly refused to move. The photographers were positioned bang smack in the centre of the birds flight path from Doctors Garden to Bowling Green. They were more concerned about getting more f??king pictures (yes they had all seen and photograhed the Robin) than letting the 1000 patiently waiting twitchers a chance to see this mega rare vagrant at very close quarters.
Picture taken above by John Bell, I was so cold I had to go back to the car and get my fleece.