A UK Green birder, birdwatcher, twitcher and environmentalist, Gary Prescott aka The Biking Birder is preparing for the Biking Birder Adventure of a lifetime, a 6 month journey in Peru.
Starting in April next year, he will cycle from the Pacific, up and over the High Andes. Then leaving his bike, he will kayak down the mighty Madre de Dios river through the Manu Rainforest.
Monday, 19 September 2016
Even More rarities and a New British Green Year List Record
15th September continued . . .
one meets makes travel endlessly fascinating. Melia and Rick are from
Alaska originally though now they work from Aberdeen University. Rick
is an archaeologist working on recently uncovered Eskimo site in the
Arctic, uncovered due to the excessive ice melt. Global warming in
works in the Aberdeen university museum and she tells me that they
have just uncovered a box covered in thick dust from under a
stairway. Upon opening it she found bird skins with labels on each
detailing where they were shot and by whom, John James Audubon!
Sue from Coventry have arrived on Fair Isle in a small airplane
piloted by Micel. It soon becomes apparent sitting them that Mike has
a very similar sense of humour to me. We love the same films; Blazing
Saddles and the like. Gary Larson soon has us all laughing as we
share which of the World's best ever environmental minded cartoonist
cartoons we love, like and remember. How do snakes say goodbye?
Smoking cows and dingo farms. (Look up Gary Larson on google images
and you'll find which cartoons we referenced here.)
point out a spoof TV series produced in Australia for the Sydney
Olympics. The 'Prime Minister's' apology to the indigenous aboriginal
tribes is wonderful.
Sue also talk about flying and how they have flown around Europe and
Australia. What a life! They show a video to capture the feeling.
16th September Light SE Thick fog and heavy rain AM, clearing
to sunny intervals with mist over hills PM.
morning watching the rain, wander to the airport to watch Mike and
Sue leave but they don't. The front wheel on the small plane has a
puncture and they aren't going anywhere until that is repaired.
short-toed lark is still by the water tanks. Otherwise there are
common migrants around in small numbers; whinchat, garden and willow
warblers as well as a yellow-browed, blackcap, reed warbler, lesser
whitethroat and a couple of spotted flycatchers, 35 Lapland bunting
and the ortolan. Still a highlight are four brent geese, a very rare
bird on Fair Isle.
17th September Fresh S Cloudy cool
Riddiford thinks he has seen a bluethroat at Shirva but isn't sure.
He phones the Observatory and Susannah, the warden, David's wife sees
me near to the Gully and tells me the news. Shirva soon after, wait
and search. No bluethroat. A couple from Wakefield arrive to search
with me, Maureen and Keith are fresh in, keen birders and eager to
see a good bird. Suddenly it pops up from an area I had searched. It
must have been behind a pallet leaning against a dry stone wall.
Anyway it hops up onto a five-bar gate and then onto the wall.
Stunning bird and in no way diminished by having no blue and red
. Bird number 288; only one behind the British Green Year list
the south of the island with an interruption at 4PM when everyone
staying at the Bird Observatory tries to flush out a very hard to see
great snipe, in fact no one sees it, I find a reed warbler on a
barbed wire fence. To see an acro' so close and so tame is
some time sitting on a high cliff at North Raeva watching as
Warwickshire Cricket Club (You Bears!) thrash Surrey in the One Day
final at Lords. Brilliant.
On the way
to the Observatory for the evening, with the light fading, I meet a
couple I remember from last year at Chalet. Karen and Ray from
Nottingham have returned for another week in Paradise and are staying
at the self-catering croft, Springfield. Ray climbs over the stile at
the back of the superb Chalet garden and flushes a barred warbler.
The bird circles the garden, a large silver warbler, before diving
straight into the roses never to be seen again. My seventh barred
warbler of the Autumn so far.
Harvest Moon appears over the horizon . . .
18th September Light to Fresh S/SE Sunny intervals with high
starts with a lesser whitethroat, a willow warbler and a song thrush
around my 'patch' Pund.
warbler is at the Observatory in the garden.
explore the north of the island upon reaching Wirvie Burn a text from
great snipe at Da Water.
minutes later. . . . .
SNIPE. Confirmed with a photo.
down to an area of marsh just south of the Kirk where Lee has seen
the bird go down.
Cath Mendez and Lee Gregory
After waiting for all birders from the Observatory
to get there, an organised flush begins and despite extensively
searching three fields there is no sign of the rare bird. Once again
it has eluded everyone.
leaves for lunch at the Obs except me. I have few boiled eggs and a
banana. What more do I need?
I zig zag
the area just searched and have the occasional common snipe and a
single jack come zig-zagging out. No great snipe.
couple of hours of doing this, and just after a female sparrowhawk
has glided past low over the ground, Lee arrives back and tells me
that he will help in the search in an hour or so, after he has
finished his census.
hour of zig-zagging the area I left my coat and sweatshirt at Kennaby
as the sun came out.
Kennaby's dry stone wall, along the barbed wire fence to the potato
my binoculars as rock doves came out from amongst the spud.plants. A
snipe, a big one, grunts and flies straight and low before turning to
go in front of a group of four people on the nearby road. I scream
'The snipe' to them.
disappears over a ridge and is gone.
snipe – bird number 289.
Lee. I am practically screaming and laughing down the phone to him,
"I've got the snipe!"
An hour or
so later, calmer but searching for more views of the bird another
text from Lee.
PIPIT near .Da Haa
a call . . . Phil Andrews, The Oracle....
a red-throated pipit."
know! I'm running for it!"
call from Lee . .
just coming past Deryk's"
minutes later, standing with a group of birders, Catherine, David and
Howard, the rare pipit is on the grass about thirty yards away.
RED-THROATED PIPIT Bird number 290 and a new British Green Year List
with the famous Tommy Hyndeman of Da Haa Guest House. Tommy is a
friendly American and his garden list, 280, is the envy of many a
birder. Indeed the dead tree in the corner of the garden has had 80
bird species in it including . .
. . . to
name a few.
19th September light SW One rain shower then glorious day,
blue skies and warm.
Moon is still quite high to the west as I walk towards Da Water and a
group of 16 pink-footed geese fly high heading south. The aim is for
another organised flush by all at the Bird Observatory in order to
try and see the great snipe.
attempt ends with all fields where the bird has been seen walked
through and with rain falling. A rainbow heralded the arrival of the
depart and leave just blue sky; indeed hardly a cloud is seen for the
rest of the day.
the sun at my back I explore the geos and burns to the north, rest
and have lunch at the fog horn by the North Lighthouse and see a
couple of puffins and a razorbill from here with countless gannets
and fulmars passing and the occasional bonxie. A woodcock is in
the bracken of Wirvie Burn and my first chaffinch of the Autumn on
Fair Isle passes me as I look down a high cliff.
complete a beautiful day as a group of them cavort in the tide rip
off South Buness.