Sep 27, 2009

The suckier side of birding.

What a manic day. My early start didn’t happen and im cursing myself for it now. I managed to get to the Gloup a little before eight I think. My spirits were high as I approached. The road gets narrower as you get there and the flocks of small birds were all over with lots of activity in the air. The car park had one car in it and two birders on the Gloup path. Seeing they were heading back I waited at the head of the path to see what was occurring. It was to be crap news tho, this was Dave and Stuart returning from their first light check. They had been spending all this time looking for the bird. The area where the bird had roosted had been heavily trampled down to only twenty feet from the spot. The ground had been clean when every one left last night. Two cars were there over night but gone when the lads arrived. Draw what conclusions you want..i ken what I think. If I had the reg numbers I would have spent my time tracking them down rather than half the day looking for the cuckoo….altho probably not.
The cuckoo blown out I head off to Burwick to meet the boat . Sitting about the car park I get the cannon out to get a few snaps. Once again it insisted that the batteries are flat. Spinning them over usually does the job however even changing them for fresh wont get it going….what a pain. The boat disgorges a sea of twitchers dressed in olive drab clothing and matching pallor. The bloke im looking for I have met before but cant see. I sit till every one is boarding busses. No one says hello and I am the only biker there…another bummer.
Still never mind. With this its back to the town for the bike run to the Stromness bike show and a hang out with the bikes for a while. Its blues weekend there as well so its going to be a good day in strombo. The lure of the birds is to strong tho so I head off after an hour, get a coffee and a sarnie before heading out to search for the Cuckoo. It was to prove a long afternoon starting at the Wideford burn, Tankerness, Deerness and as big a swath of the east coast as I could manage. In the end I cut my losses and headed off to Winnic to look for the Crane. Fortunately there was a nice parking place with the bird conveniently located in the adjoining field. There were a good few folks about in various places enjoying the views. The bird was a good distance off with the angle of the sun doing us no favours. The wing was dropping and the air warming. The skys had broken to show an increasing amount of blue. My mood was lightning by the minute. Moving down the road speaking to some folks as I go every one is friendly and enjoying the views. Speaking to Barry and Rebecca and watching the field a Hen harrier quarters the ditch right behind the Crane. Amazingly the bird is completely unfussed with this and ignores it with a wary eye. More surprising still is the goose that is grazing beside it. Ordinarily it would be up and away with this threat but it seems there is safety in numbers…even if that number is two!! I met the furthest travled twitchers here with one young lad that had made it non-stop from south Devon. Like I said at the time ..outstanding effort!!!..i did wonder if his name was Joe Ray.
Having used up the vantage points below it I move off and go to Hestly for a look from the garden. There are several folks here and the view is surprisingly good. Looking over my shoulder back to the house its obvious you could sit inside and view this mega from the comfort of your own soft seat…..that is if you wernt in Spain…ouch bad luck Andy.
The midgies are starting to bite so I head back to the bike but not before I have a yarn to yet another birder this time about bikes. It makes a nice change and a good note to end on before a nice run home. The birding day ended better than it started that’s for sure.

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