Saturday 13 February 2016

A Dear Friend from So Long Ago

Saturday 13th February Fresh E Rain for most of the day

An email has photographs attached of the long-billed dowitcher from two days ago sent to me by Alison Allison.

It is always lovely to meet people, share the excitement of a bird and then receive a lovely email. Thanks Alison, superb photographs, and all the best.
A morning rendezvous at a Gosport cafe, I am thinking I have been stood up when the woman I am waiting for taps me on my shoulder. Thirty two tears ago, back when I was a young teacher at a secondary school in Wolverhampton, I had the privilege of having a group of amazing, wonderful young children for my form for three consecutive years. From that class there was a girl of a sparkling character, Lisa Gaye. Here she is opposite me at the table, now as Lisa Hillier.
Two hours pass with family talk, memories from the past and future plans, laughs and past teacher character assassination all enjoyed.
Lisa'a husband, 'Scooter' John joins us and another hour passes. What a wonderful couple.

I cycle off towards Titchfield Haven but notice that my arm is camouflaged instead of Hi-vis. I have left my my Hi-vis jacket at the cafe! Twit. I cycle back and luckily it is still there.
I reach Titchfield Haven and hear from Kate behind the counter within the superb visitor's centre that the penduline tits, the birds I am after, haven't been seen since Wednesday. In fact even that report they feel was erroneous. My chances don't seem high. I head for the area where they were last seen and as the rain falls I stare at the only greater reedmace, the favourite seed provider for the tits.
The reserve closes at 4:00pm and I leave without having added to the year list. Does it count as a dip? Hardly but it still hurts. I want this record and every bird counts.
In the evening I access the Biking Birder 2016 – The Quest for 300 facebook page and find a message from a young German birder, Annett Jaegar. Annett had recently got in touch with me over Green Birding and I had asked her about her birding. Here is a reply:-

Dear Gary,
I did share your blog in my (still very humble) Birding Germany Group as well as in Birding NRW (northrhine-westfalian birders and slightly bigger group) I am thinking as my group doesn't have that many members yet it would be too much to ask you to write an article. I will definitely ask you to once my group has grown a little.
So thank you very much for your offer.
...So if you happen to know anybody birding in Germany feel free to add people to my "Birding Germany" group. Posts in english or any other language are very welcome.

I started birding quite late ( about 3 maybe 4 years ago I think ) basically without knowing anything about birds at all. So I still have to learn a lot (not just the gull identification is killing me
) . 

After not being too ambitious for the first year I am now looking for birds whereever I go.

Birding mostly in Germany, occasionally in the Netherlands (as I live quite close to the dutch and Belgian borders). I have been to Iceland for longer visits twice now (but always travelling with a non-birder, which makes it a bit more difficult sometimes.) Looking forward to Heligoland in April this year, hopefully the black-browed albatross will turn up again which I missed last year.

Actually, I do have some lists on bubo,org, as my friend, Mike Wheeler (I think you know him) convinced me to list my birds there. I do find it a bit embarrasssing to be yet again the only person who has a Germany 2016 on but hey, at least I do stand a chance to end up number one

It would be fabulous to see more Germans taking up the pastime. Please if you are a German birder visit the facebook group pages mentioned above.

The year list still stands at 163. This is nineteen ahead of where I was this time last year.

14.49 miles 312 feet elevation up 310 elevation down

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