Tuesday, 5 May 2009
On this day - 05/05/1999
In the last few days of April this year, a lot of people will have twitched both Portland (Collared Flycatcher, Eastern Bonelli's Warbler) and Kent (Crested Lark) and no doubt a fair few did it all in one day. Of course twitching Portland and Kent in the same day is slightly mad - but nothing new .... 5th May 1999 saw me and Brian (definitely not John Hague) Moore grilling a Chiffchaff on The Verne, Portland. It didn't look anything special, but the constant singing clearly distinguished it as an Iberian Chiffchaff. We were impressed on the day anyway. After this outstanding bird (it was very rare at the time, having only recently been accepted as a split and this being the first long-stayer for the masses to get to grips with), we spent some time birding around Portland Bill. At some point in the day, the pagers bleeped in unison with a MEGA Alert. We eagerly checked the pagers to find that - fucking hell - Slender-billed Gull at Grove Ferry, Kent. It didn't take long to decide whether to go, and we set off on the long trek. Almost immediately after our arrival we were onto the bird, a superb adult Slender-billed Gull. Everything after that is forgotten - I was probably asleep at the wheel for most of the way home!