Monday, 3 December 2007
On this day ... 03/12/1994
Thirteen years ago today – oh man – what a mega! After receiving news during the working day on Friday 2nd, myself and John Hackett hastily made plans to get ourselves up to Burghead on the Scottish Moray coastline. By early evening we had been picked up from the LFE services by Peter Colston (co-author of Rare Birds) and one of his mates and we were on our way. A bloody long way at that! We reached the site before daybreak, and at first light (along with c1000 others) we were getting crippling views of a juv Grey-tailed Tattler! Definitely a CMF. The tattler was completely unfazed by the hoards of lenses pointing at it, and was showing so close you could scrutinise its toes without optics. The excellent Birding Plus video series from that era has some fantastic footage of the tattler – must see about getting this series transferred onto the PC/DVD. It wasn't the first for Britain – that occurred (coincidentally) 13 years earlier on the Dyfi estuary in Oct-Nov 1981. However it was suppressed, so this was certainly the first available for the birding masses and I doubt that many (any?) listers in 1994 missed it as it lingered for a good while. Must be a major blocker for birders of the current generation though. Here's to another 13 or more tattler-free years – cheers. However as it breeds closer to Britain than a few other more regular vagrant waders I can't believe another hasn’t turned up yet. To round the day off, we also spent time at Findhorn grilling the scoters, and I managed to get Common, Velvet and Surf all in the same scope view. Magic. The trip turned a little sour when it transpired on the way back that the petrol was only being split three ways (Peter's mate was freeloading for some obscure reason or other). As if that wasn't bad enough we had to stop a couple of times on the way back so he could throw up. What a facking C*** on casters! At least we avoided any speeding fines – the Sunday newspapers were full of stories about car loads being caught in speed traps on the A9. In one article, Neal Eves claimed to have been let off 3 times on the way – fuck me he's even competitive when it comes to traffic offences! Can't remember who gave me the clipping but I certainly didn't buy the Sunday Express myself.