Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Garden Twitching ...

No - this is not about a new listing craze where you tear around the country ticking famous formal gardens. The weekend Rosefinch got me thinking about other times when I've been in - or looking into - other peoples gardens to see a rarity. So, I had a quick look through my British List - didn't take long seeing as it's currently a paltry 398 species since I stopped regularly twitching in 2002. I reckon the best five birds I've seen in someone else's garden are: 5) Dark-eyed Junco - the one at Vicar's Cross, Cheshire, on 21/01/1998 4) Spanish Sparrow - the chirpy male at Waterside, Cumbria on 21/07/1996 3) Collared Flycatcher - this year's superb bird at Southwell, Portland on 02/05/2009 2) White-crowned Sparrow - the well watched Cley bird on 13/01/2008 1) Northern Waterthrush - the superb bird at Portland Bill, milling about in the cottage gardens when I saw it ridiculously well on 17/10/1996 I'm sure that there are a fair few more exciting birds that others have seen in gardens, especially those that were birding when the Golden-winged Warbler was knocking about, plus a few Tanagers over the years. What's on your top five 'garden twitch' list?

16 comments:

The Leicester Llama said...

I would include the same Junco and Waterthrush in my top five garden twitches, plus Yellow-browed Bunting in a garden at Periglis on St Agnes in October 1994 and the Brown Shrike on Whalsay in September 2004, but my number one, because it was such a character and performed amazingly at such close range (including taking peanuts out of people's hands) would be the October 1991 Staffordshire Nutcracker.

Anonymous said...

Never seen brown shrike or yellow browed bunt in a back garden...unfortunately!
Off the top o me head tho, i remember an OBP in Bracknell..[viewed from someones livingroom]...a northern oriole...in another garden...somewhere else..[not in Bracknell]...and o course..the golden winged warbler...which was...again..in a garden..but not in Bracknell....

ps..not much in Bracknell is there?...apart from that OBP...and that's gone now...

Skev said...

Hmmm - that bloody Yellow-browed Bunting appeared the day after I left Scillies that year whilst I was year-ticking Red-flanked Bluetail in a cemetary (not a garden).

I would certainly get me skates on to see a Nutcracker though. Think there have only been two short stayers accepted since 1991. A single would do, but another 1968 style invasion would be better!

Stewart said...

Now then, I had the same Junco and Spanish Spuggy, now I'm struggling, Red flanked Bluetail in the Walled Garden Holy Island, Arctic Warbler the Vicars Garden Holy Island, Chestnut Bunting ( no its not on my list) at Duncans Garden, Salthouse, Masked Shrike ? maybe not quite a garden in Fife, Black throated Thrush in Peterborough...

thedrunkbirder said...

Hmmm, I'd put that Northern Oriole in Oxfordshire on mine, along with the Spanish and White-crowned Sparrow. The Junco was in gardens but I watched from that back alleyway. A Pallas's and Rosy Starling in Rams Valley are also contenders but I suppose the prize ought to go to one of my neighbours years ago in Bolton. I have to admit to a gross act of suppression there though!

Skev said...

Stewart - wasn't that Holy Island Red-flanked Blutail an adult male? I would have loved to see that - mine were both 1W/female. I left out Black-throated Thrush - couldn't decide which one to include.

John - of course I mean't Oriole, not Tanagers! That turned up during the years when I completely lost interest in rare birds - another midlands one would be appreciated now. What's this about suppression in Bolton then?

thorntonmothman said...

Well, the Nutcracker would be right up there for me as would the Sardinian Warbler, on a rather unpleasant estate,near Bude, back in the day.....And aren't we forgetting the Ashby Yellow Browed!!

Skev said...

I'm not forgetting the Ashby Yellow-browed - I just didn't see it! Still need YbW for my lame county list.

The Leicester Llama said...

It wasn't in a garden when I saw it.

thedrunkbirder said...

That was just a joke - bird = girl... sometimes.

Skev said...

Righto ... wasn't with you.
That's a whole different top five list that I'm not getting in to on a public forum ;-)

The Leicester Llama said...

Shouldn't it have been an act of gross indecency rather than suppression in that case?

abbey meadows said...

I've seen pretty much the same birds as Boulmer birder but my Arctic warbler was on the edge of someones garden in Hartlepool. I have also seen an Isabelline shrike in a garden in Whitley bay.

Anonymous said...

Just played the white crown video...which i neglected to do before....and i have a stupid question to ask...[humor me...i'm bored at the moment]!
What is it 'exactly' about head stripes..crown stripes n supercilliums that turn birders on so much...especially with rare passerines?

ps...and i mean 'turn-on' in the cerebral cortex sorta thing as oppose to the trouser department...[John]....

pps...a pointless question perhaps...but any equally pointless answers...?!

Beast....

Skev said...

Beast - you may have something there -I was certainly transfixed by the Sallyport B&W Warbler - all those stripes.

Anonymous said...

Strange ain't it Mark?!
Whenever i see a photo of 'that' uk varied thrush...i just think...'sheer fuckin porn'...then kick meself for not having seen it....!!
I suppose it is always a combination of visual factors which attract and excite folk. The way a bird moves is, as we all know, a very important part in the 'turn-on' department. A streaky lancy will have you salivating...a 'streaky' rosefinch?...well...it'z good...but not quite in the same league is it..?..[rarity value aside].
Northern Waterthrush is a good example i suppose...amazing 'super' and a wacky 'walker'...! of course...it helps that a bird is considered rare...but i still don't know why these head stripes n wing-bars attract birders so much...

ps...sorry this ain't about rare garden birds...[me is rambling at tangents...as usual]....!

Beast.....