Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A Fitting Way To Go

Well a heck of a lot has happened since my last blog post!  Obviously the Green-winged Teal was fantastic, and winning the Buttons has literally made my hour, but there's been one major change in my life which comes above both of these...

My 106
I've had this car since I started driving in September 2004.  110,000 miles and eight years later the time has finally come to say bye bye.  This car has been just brilliant for me, yes I have spent money on it, but it's always kept going.  I have had a few near misses, a few bumps and prangs (as you can see!) but it's never let me down.  It was the middle of last year when my garage first advised me to start thinking about getting a new motor, so I started looking around - although I was always reluctant to let the Peugeot go because of how economical its 1.5 diesel engine is. I could drive from Seaton to Spurn (320 miles) and use only 2/3rds of a tank of fuel. And whenever bits did need replacing, they were always at the cheap end of the scale.

It has been getting more unwell within the last few months though, in fact within the last few days it hasn't let me reverse!  I actually think this was the cars way of protesting at me as it knew what was coming. 

Tuesday was my last day driving in it, and on the last 'lap' of the river, and the very last pull in, I found the Green-winged Teal.  This car has so many birding memories for me - good and bad (Pacific Swift...ouch!), so I thought this was a wonderful way of ending our time together.

So, out goes the old.  And in comes the new...

Say hello to Mr Toyota!

I have always wanted and often needed a 4x4, so I have gone with the most economical of them all - a diesel Rav4.  I've just come back from Plymouth in it, and it averaged 50.6 miles per gallon, which has really impressed me.  It's much bigger than what I'm used to, but I'll get used to it! :-)

Ok - enough about cars. Bird talk now...

I just have to start with the bird that won me chocolate yesterday.  I was only out because I'd be told about a Glaucous Gull that was seen heading our way.  Earlier in the day I had been to Colyford Common (dipping Stonechat - yes I still need it for the year!) and noticed lots of gulls on a flooded Colyford Marsh, which is why I went to the 'Farm Gate'.  I was disappointed on the gull front, but that soon turned to jubilation when I panned over to the main scrape and had a look through the Teal.  A long awaited addition to the patch list, and pleasingly one that we have (almost) all seen - hope you get it Ian and Dave!

The Green-winged Teal wasn't the only year tick yesterday, I managed another one during an hour's sea watch from Beer (08:30 - 09:30).  At 09:15 a Great Northern Diver flew close west, this is the first non-Red-throated, Diver that I've seen this year (oh, except a distant larger diver sp. on Jan 2nd), but the larger Divers have been very scarce so far this year.  The full totals of my watch were:

1 Great Northern Diver
7 Red-throated Diver (5w, 1e, 1 on sea)
14 Gannet
24 Kittiwake
6 Dunlin (flew w - unusual in a mid winter sea watch)

I will admit now, as I touched upon it earlier, that I then went to Colyford Common to twitch a Stonechat.  I found out Gav had seen one here a couple of days ago during my sea watch.  I just haven't bumped into Stonechat yet this year, and yes I know I will see one, but I was hoping to get all the easy stuff before I tot my list up at the end of the month. So I went to Colyford Common, I saw a second-winter Med Gull, but no Stonechat. Probably because of this...

Flood!!!  There was in fact a Little Grebe just the left of this picture - very odd for Coly Com!

Well you know what happened next (well after an hour at home and a half hour sea watch anyway!)... Green-winged Teal.  And it's about time I pointed you all to here:  Superb photos too considering the distance and weather!

So that sums up yesterday. To sum up the weekend, I had a brilliant weekend off, and even squeezed in a patch year tick thanks to Phil and Karen.  I've dipped these little critters several times this year, so was very pleased to see them feasting on alders on Sunday afternoon....

They are both in here - I think I did extremely well to ensure both were out of focus!

Monday was a day of lots of patch birding - just no birds! The six Gadwall being as good as it got.

I have very limited birding time for the rest of this week and this weekend - so nothing until next week please birders!!!

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