Okay, I'll just start by saying I am not a twitcher.I am just a regular Birder who enjoys being in the company of any of our Avian friends whether it be Goldfinches in my garden or skeins of Barnacle Geese flying in from Svalbard to Winter in the UK.
Due to health, work and finances I am not someone who is able to drop everything and spend hundreds of pounds rushing up to the Outer Hebrides to try and see an Eastern Kingbird for instance(though I'm sure it would be very nice to do).If something interesting turns up a bit more locally then I think it would be rude not to go pay the feathered traveller a visit ;)
Twitch One (Sept 2016)
A few weeks ago a large blue chicken arrived in my county of North Lincolnshire.At the time I was still in Ireland and so had to hope it would stay til I got back(I didn't need to worry as 6 weeks later it is still there lol).A Western Purple Swamphen(usually found along the Mediterranean and Southern France)had decided to drop in to Alkborough Flats just 20 minutes from my house so after arriving home from Ireland at 12.30am on Sunday morning (due to a 2.5hr delay on a 40 minute flight) I was up and out by 7am in hope of seeing it.
When I arrived at Alkborough Flats a group of birders and twitchers(as some had come up all the way from Hampshire) were already in attendance along with tv naturalist Mike Dilger who was filming for BBC The One Show.It's always great to catch up with Mike who is also a patron of the Spurn Bird Observatory.They had already got some good footage of the "Moorhen on steroids" as Mike put it and was now chatting with birders to edit into the clip for the program so I got my 3 seconds of fame on tv lol.
My very brief The One Show appearance on BBC1;)
The Purple Swamphen was a bit too far for my camera lens to get a clear shot so this is what one looks like just in case you see it on a lagoon near you :)
Twitch Two (Oct 2016)
Anyone reading newspapers, watching the news or social media may have noticed the first UK appearances of a few Siberian Accentors over the last couple of weeks.One such bird landed at Easington near Spurn Point, a regular birding patch of mine especially during migration, so a trip had to be made.
We arrived at around 7am just as the morning light was waking and walked down the lane to join a small queue of impatient birders.We were soon joined by fellow Hen Harrier heroes and young birders Findlay Wilde(with chauffeur and Mum, Heather) and Georgia Locock.
The Siberian Accentor was very accommodating, foraging just a few metres away in between getting hassled by the local Robins.It's mind blowing how such a small bird can make it to the East coast of Yorkshire all the way from Russia and the Far East.
Findlay & Heather Wilde on the left having one of those birding moments you never forget :)
Not only did I have the privilege of being within feet of the Siberian Accentor, I also saw my first ever Shorelark too in the scrub along the beach.
Other birds around Spurn included Dusky Warblers, Pallas's Warblers, Raddes Warbler, Ring Ouzels, Tundra Bean Geese and hundreds of Goldcrests, Fieldfares and Redwings.Spurn is truly a Birding mecca.
If I go to find a rare bird in my local area does that make me a "twitcher" or just an enthusiastic Birder? I'm not there for a life tick, I just want to marvel in the diversity of bird life that we are fortunate enough to share the British Isles with :)
Thanks again for reading and for getting me past 10,000 views :)