Although not averse to the occasional twitch, my birding has long focussed on finding my own birds. It is my prime motivation for getting into the field for recreational birding – as opposed to the paid bird survey work which, somewhat oddly, more often than not takes me to places where there are frequently very few birds. Although I am certainly not a prolific finder of rare and scarce birds, the result of an excellent home patch here at Long Nab (frequently punching above its weight - apparently) and the chance to spend a great deal of time in the field means I do get to find notable birds on a fairly regular basis. Increasing my find list has been a motivation for a while now and I am now getting pleasingly close to the 300 mark. However it remains difficult adding to the list, despite some seemingly reasonably ‘easy’ prospects for a Find Tick. I do sometimes wonder just how many of the nation’s pager-following twitching fraternity realise just how much effort is put in by many of the nation's rarity finders or how much effort is required to get a substantial list of Self-found birds? However, I digress.
I began this autumn with the target of adding at least one species to my Find List. Richard’s Pipit was the prime candidate as it was perhaps the most regularly occurring scarcity that I hadn't found somewhere. Readers of this blog will be aware that I found one on 4th October, a very welcome find on a quiet day and target achieved. Amazingly however, just two days later in the company of Andy Mckee I found another at Cocklawburn Beach in Northumberland. The best part of 40 years birding without finding one, then two in less than 48 hours! Amazing. And so to this morning. A short visit to Nab initially focused on the Cover Crop and the stubbles. I was pleased with my first Lapland Buntings of the autumn and a Snow Bunting was quite obliging. However, I was utterly amazed to find two Richard’s Pipits flying around the ‘Short-toed Lark’ field north of the Obs calling loudly and making sure I could not miss them. Talk about being like buses!
|Record shot of one of the Richard's Pipits at Long Nab|
Of course, I’ve been wondering if I have been overlooking them over the years or just been plain unlucky. As I see and hear Richard’s Pipits most winters during the course of leading birding tours in various parts of Asia, it’s a call I am fully familiar with so I very much doubt I can have been overlooking them. After all it is a call that demands attention. So, I have to conclude that I have probably been just a little unlucky with this species in the past.
Such little clusters of finds are something that I have experienced in the past, with my first two Black Kite finds just three weeks apart and my first two Pectoral Sandpiper finds separated by less than 10 days. Curious stuff and no doubt just some kind of coincidence, but I am left wondering, do Siberian Rubythroats travel on buses?
|Snow Bunting at Long Nab|
An update to this blog post on Friday to include a couple more ropey photos of the Richard's Pipits, this time on the ground in the field behind the 'Obs'.