Love those sweet and sour grapes

Generally speaking, I’m not one for regrets. Since leaving the south-east in 2003, there have been a few birds down there that have caused a little wince, a momentary shudder, a “bloody hell, I could have got there in time to see that…” – and then the moment passes – Trumpeter Finch; Green Heron; Black-winged Pratincole; Crested Lark… (actually, I lie about the latter species. They’re rare, but that’s about as far as their appeal goes for me). Oh, and Blue-cheeked Bee-eater. I tried to tell myself “oh, they’re not that special…“, and then… then I saw the photos of the Bockhill Blue-cheeked, and oh! it hurts.

You know what? I could have got there in time to see that…

Heyho. The last few years have been more than good to me up here, and I’m not complaining. (Just feeling wistful, and not a little jealous!) And just when I needed some sour grapes to make the bee-eater easier to swallow, along to my rescue comes the good old BOU with a press release. Our 2004 Brown Shrike has been upgraded from “race undetermined” to “nominate cristatus” – which is what we thought it was at the time, so it’s nice to be right. And even nicer to be reminded, just when I was feeling a little blue (cheeked), that I’ve had some truly remarkable birds right on my doorstep here. In some cases, literally!

happy days

Rarities like this are the icing on the cake – and lest I forget it, rarities notwithstanding, I’m lucky to live where I do. Autumn isn’t far away now… and who knows what it may bring. 😉


2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the visit. It was truly an amazing day. When I realised Jack was getting too excited for a European Bee-eater and we both concluded it was a Blue-cheeked as it took off, my pulse rate must have gone through the roof. Waiting for it to be refound or for it to return to it’s original perch was painful, but it came right in the end.
    Not been to Bitter Bonxie before, its great, we could do with a Lesser Grey Shrike sometime.

    • Congratulations Tony on such a stunning bird! Surely the ultimate find for the local patch-worker.

      You’ve had Lesser Grey Shrike in the past there (or at least, a little way up the road from St Margaret’s). 1995 – back in the bad old days of being a mad twitcher, we went from Kent to Cornwall on spec to seawatch; then across to Suffolk for Olivaceous Warbler; then up to Northumberland for Red-necked Stint; and finally back down to Kent for Lesser Grey Shrike. All in the space of 48 exhausting hours!

      Even now I smile when I remember that weekend. Good times. 🙂

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