Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bittern safaris and my 1000th post

Welcome to my 1000th post today. Well, gosh. Huge well done if you've read all of them, and many congrats to me. Somebody hire me a secretary - I definitely need one! May the celebrations begin.

While we're all popping our champagne corks, Lord H and I have been busy bird hunting today, with great success. First off, we got up at 5am (no, don't laugh - that's a lie-in after our last early birder session) in order to be out of the house by 7am. We then drove two hours to West Hythe in Kent on the trail of the night heron. We thought our chances of spotting it were approaching nil, but in fact it was asleep in front of us on the river when we arrived. It promptly woke up and hopped onto a branch even nearer in a very helpful fashion while we gazed our fill. What a beautiful bird. Amazing yellow talons. And a new bird for our lifetime lists, hurrah! While we were there, we also saw a kingfisher (new bird for this year) actually on a branch (they're usually nothing more than a flash of electric blue out of the corner of your eye as they swoop out of sight) where it stayed for some time. And a Muscovy duck. Birds in West Hythe are just soooo helpful.

We then joined the Bittern Safari in Dungeness RSPB Reserve, along with a fair number of other hopefuls. Chances of spotting a bittern: nil. They're hugely shy. Number of times the organised Bittern Safaris have actually seen a bittern: um, nil (something they don't tell you when you book!). First bird spotted as we set out: yes, you guessed it. The bittern. It flew lazily and slowly across a reed bed and the river so we had a grand look, and it was very close too. Double hurrahs and crack open the champagne. Another lifetime first. The third lifetime first on the walk was the Slavonian Grebe. Other birds we saw which are new for this year: the golden plover, the goldeneye, black-necked grebes (no, I can't tell the difference between that and a Slavonian, so don't ask me but thank the Lord for experts ...), the smew, red-crested pochards and ruddy ducks. So a wonderful day all round. Fabulous.

Back at the ranch, we have done the necessary cleaning and are planning an evening of Chinese takeaway and flopping. The ironing beckons me but I am bravely ignoring it ...

Today's nice things:

1. Three new lifetime birds
2. Seven new birds for this year
3. Chinese takeaways
4. My 1000th post.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website - she's older than she looks ...


Peter said...

Night heron. Nice.

Anne Brooke said...

It was lovely. So cuddly and cute (well, apart from those claws!) that I wanted to bring it home ...



Nik Perring said...

Cool. Wow. Brilliant. And woo for number 1000!

Nik X

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Nik!