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Amusing stories thread anyone? (recovered) (1 Viewer)

Andrew Rowlands

Well-known member
Amusing stories thread anyone?
Mike-Dale
The Nancy's cafe thread has brought back all sorts of great memories. Does anybody have any amusing stories to tell of birding days gone by?

Does anybody know the story of the Dutch? bloke camping on the garrison on St Marys who ate nothing but Mars bars for a 10 days or so? I'm told he was so constipated he had to be airlifted to hospital! I would love to hear about that one first hand.
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Andrew
This autumn there was a fella with a black bike hanging around both pond hides on St Mary's with a massive grin everytime you rumbled him in the hides. More often than not had a supect roll up on the go. Anyone know who he was?
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Tim Allwood
too many to tell!

most i couldn't tell on here either

I'll try and think of a few short ones that won't get me into trouble...

shame but i really don't think there are quite the same characters around the 'twitching' scene now - the source of many stories. Not many folk hang around much on site after a good bird for a day or so...or at least a 'big' evening, and the old 'young twitchers' from the 80s and early 90s have all moved into other areas of birding.....i wish i could tell some of em!

Tim
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Mike-Dale
Here's one for you, it was partially related by Bill Oddie in one of his books and it's all true.

Way back when, 1976 I believe, at the end of a long hot dry summer with record-breaking temperatures. Ken Spriggs and I made an early morning twitch one Saturday from Leicester down to the West London reservoirs for a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. We dipped on the Sharpie and were considering leaving when we came across a group of lad's we knew from various twitches. We approached them from the downwind direction and were appalled by the smell coming from them. As we got closer the smell got even worse if that was possible. They were covered in pig and/or cow poo! They told us they had been to a sewage farm near Reading to see a Black-winged Pratincole and had really upset the farmer whose land was adjacent to the pond. They told how the farmer asked them to leave but they actually hid in the undergrowth and tall grasses on the banks of the settling pond. The farmer returned with his tractor and the heavy artillery in the shape of a muck spreader. He proceeded to spray the banks of the pond and the concealed twitchers in the process. As I had magnificently dipped the previous year on a Black-winged Pratincole near my home in Leicester I pleaded with Ken to risk a spraying with the pig poo to enable me to gain a much-needed new tick. We parked the car near the path to the sewage farm and stealthily made our way to the pond keeping a sharp lookout for Farmer PigPoo. We were just getting to grips with the Pratincole flying up and down the pond when the farmer appeared on the opposite bank and bellowed at us to leave. At one end of the pond was a fence and what was probably the main London to Bristol train line. We crossed the fence thinking the rather irate farmer wouldn’t mess with us once we off his property. Wrong! The rather irrational farmer set fire to the railway line bank behind us! The fire took hold very quickly thanks to the aforementioned long hot summer and record-breaking temperatures. We decided that as we didn’t want to get incinerated in the ensuing fire or drowned in pig poo we had better leg it out of there. As we walked back to the car we bumped in to none other than Bill Oddie who listened intently to our tale of pyromaniacs and muck spreaders. It never put him off; I hope he saw the Pratincole!
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Chris D
My friend and I were filtering water to drink out of a trickle of a stream 600 kilometers north of Cairns in Iron Range N.P. The stream was 3 inches deep and about 5 feet wide. We heard a group coming down the trail. It was the first people we encountered in 4 days. Well, up walked this Auzzie bloke with binos and a large mustache. The leader. Behind were about 10 elderly citizens of the U.K.--- all birders. Words were exchanged in a friendly matter about the location of this kingfisher and that pitta. The leader said, "Well then" and they were off.

The trail was wide and the water shallow as we ran it through our filtering device carefull not to diturb the bottom and muck things up. The leader led his group across the span perhaps 2 feet UPSTREAM of our operation. Brim cocked back, mustache flowing, and eyes glued to the skies. One by one the followers followed and looked down at my friend and I as we crouched in the stream. The last was a beautiful kind looking old man. Actually they all were of the most excellent sort. As he walked by and looked down into the muddy 3 inches he said, "Well, that wasn't very nice, was it?" We didn't care. They, and us, were on an adventure.
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weather
According to the Knight-Rider News Service, the inscription on the metal bands used by the U.S. Department of the Interior to tag migratory birds has been changed. The bands used to bear the address of the Washington Biological Survey, abbreviated Wash. Biol. Surv. until the agency received the following letter from an Arkansas camper: Dear Sirs, While camping last week I shot one of your birds. I think it was a crow. I followed the cooking instructions on the leg tag and I want to tell you it was horrible… the bands are now marked Fish and Wildlife Service. The proper version of this story, which crops up here or in uk.rec.birdwatching about annually, dates back to the 1920s or 1930s and was related by Ronald Lockley in his 1953 book Bird Ringing. The farmer was described by him as from Kansas rather than Arkansas and the reason the farmer was disappointed with the instructions he tried to follow was because a batch of rings was wrongly stamped with the words Boil.Wash.Surv. Sadly for your story, the marking on the rings was changed in 1940 when the Biological Survey was merged with the Bureau of Fisheries to form the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Mike
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tom mckinney
shame but i really don't think there are quite the same characters around the 'twitching' scene now - the source of many stories.I know where you're coming from Timster. They are still there, it's just that nearly all of them are (so I'm told) the same people from 20-30 years ago! Many around my age (the yoofs) are tragically a pretty humourlessly-bland and overly-serious bunch - it seems as though their "great" stories revolve around who paid the most money to see whatever bird - fascinating I'm sure (!), but not really my bag.

I hope that the generation of twitchers after me will be gun toting crack fiends with an appetite for women/men (sexism in birding will be abolished) of ill repute etc...
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Jane Turner
I have one.. its an epic... and I have some work to do... later chaps!
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Jane Turner
A couple of friends (Tony and Alan) had planned (well in advance) a trip to Fair Isle in Autumn. With short notice there was a cancellation and my former partner (Mark) and I were able to join them for a week out of the two. The night before we left to drive to Aberdeen (no I didn't fancy the Good Shepherd .... in another tale I do know someone who descibed it as like being strapped into a coffin. When the Sheep started being sea sick he though if its good enough for them its good enough for me... anyway I digress........ the night before we were due to leave, the Sibe Thrush turned up on North Ron. For me the impact was this was simply excitement that the weather conditions were clearly good for the Northern Isles, but for Tony it was all too much.. he went into overdrive trying to work out how he could get to see the bird.

One of Tony's friends Mike, had a pilot's licence, and Tony persuaded him to borrow a plane and pick us up from Sumbrugh airport on Shetland and drop him back on Fair Isle. So we were sat there at the Airport when all hell broke loose.. Fire engines, sirens... the lot. Apparently one of Mike's engines
had started spluttering somewhere over the North Sea. Since he was in a one engined plane, this was not good! Mike.. looking a little ashen eventually came to greet us. I was all for going onto Fair Isle... but unfortunately all the commotion at the airport led to the cancellation of the flight, so we hired a car and booked into the MeadowVale Hotel (highly recommended, with views over the Pool of Virkie). With what light was left of the day, we managed an effective clear up, Dusky Warbler, Sardinian Warbler (perched on a garden gnome for added value) Sibe Chat, Red-breasted Flycather, Black-headed Bunting and Great Grey Shrike. With 5 of us, bristling with optical equipment getting in and out of the (small) car was a comical performance. Mike, who was not having a good day with modes of transport managed to run over Tony's foot during one of the running "dismounts". When Tony shouted at him, Mike compounded the error by reversing over him too and stopping the car with the rear nearside tyre perfectly on top of his foot.

The next day the plan was re-hashed. Mark and I abandoned plans to go to North Ron. Tony and Alan took the first flight to Fair Isle, while Mike had his plane fixed. He planned to pick up Tony and Alan from Fair Isle, go to North Ron, and bring them back. He's then spend the rest of the week ferrying people from Wick to North Ron (and making considerable sums of money!) Just after lunch we finally got on the plane to Fair Isle, just a day late. Surreally, we shared the flight with a sheep, which bleated pitifully behind us... presumably it was not a good sailor and it was an even more useless flight atendant!

When we got to Fair Isle we were surprised to see Alan and Tony still there. Apparently Mike had squeezed a trip to North Ron into his schedule, gone down a furrow on the runway... which was actually a football pitch, and shortened his propeller slightly. When fixed that, he'd taken off to come to Fair Isle, initially failed to find it in low cloud, and then, with Alan and Tony watching from the runway, came low enough to be clearly mouthing... "I'm not F***ing landing on that!" before flying off. For those of you who don't know it, the landing strip on Fair Isle also doubles as a footy pitch, with the added excitement of a precipitous cliff at either end.

We had a good afternoon's birding - a couple of Olive-backed Pipits, Yellow-browed Warbler, Woodchat and Great Grey Shrike, Rosefinch and a Pallas' Warbler in a poly-tunnel (not quite as good as a Sard on a gnome).

The next day was the best days birding I will ever have... this is a page from my notebook

http://www.birdforum.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=17330

We had all brought a bottle of whisky each to celebrate a lifer... and Eye-browed Thrush was a lifer for everyone at the Obs, apart from one chap (another Mike) who was at the North Light and didn't see it and was consequently sulking spectacularly; we were one and all sent to Coventry. We drank huge quantities of whisky.. mine was a rather nice 17yo Lagavulin, when at 2am, Dave Suddaby phoned to say that he had persuaded two Lerwick fisherman to come and pick us up and take us to see the Siberian Thrush. They had set off already and would be with us close to 6.30am. Mike came out of his sulk remarkably quickly.... we decided it would be prudent to wake him up and tell him!

The following is again an extract from my notebook


At 0650 the boat arrived, skippered by Geordie and crewed by Billy. We stood huddled on the quay while Geordie sailed confidently towards us, straight into the quay. It was apparently their first trip "abroad" and the only map sported a postage stamp-sized Orkney, Shetland and the outer Hebs. Confidence was not boosted by Billy asking which of the hundreds of dots appearing on the horizon was North Ron! After running aground and collecting several lobster pots and a fishing net. We eventually arrived at the right part of North Ron, Geordy blissfully ignoring the aligning buoys!

The thrush was in typical habitat. Under a pallette on the beach.

While watching it a Richard's Pipit nearly took my head off. It landed beside us and carried on feeding. There was a Yellow-browed Warbler audible in the adjacent field as well.

The journey back was less tense. Franco managed to honk mid sentence without any break in the words (he was hitching back to Lerwick having been banned from setting foot on Fair Isle). We avoided colliding with anything on the way back, though got close to 7 Risso's Dolphins and a Sooty Shearwater.

Just when we thought that we were back safely, we got caught up on a cable securing the dredger in North Haven. The ensuing Cockney-Shetlandese slanging match was unintelligible. Tantalisingly close to shore, it was 25 minutes before we finally landed. We had missed nothing, miraculously bearing in mind the day before, and had seen the thrush for £150 less than the going rate.

Mike (the pilot) did continue to make flights from Wick to North Ron... and I am reliably informed that during one of these he developed "stiff flaps" and had to divert to Sumburugh for his second emergency landing there of the week.


I will never again get into a mechanical device with him in control. Never I tell you.
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Andrew Whitehouse
Good stuff Jane. My first ever time in a plane was flying from North Ron to Fair Isle. A good job I didn't know about those cliffs.
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Tim Allwood
anyone know the one about Clive Byers on Shetland and his little 'brush' with the legal system - fantastic story and true to boot

or the one with Mark Pearman being taken off Scilly 'ill' several years back.....

Franko's part-time 'job' and enforced absence from the twitching scene

find out about them - well worth it

plus put a few lairy keen young birders into a foreign country, plenty of cheap beer etc. and a propensity for trouble and you're guaranteed a 'story' or two.....

Andrew Grieve (Blacktoft warden at the time) getting a tripod round the head in the 80s was quite amusing.
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Jane Turner
Andrew Grieve (Blacktoft warden at the time) getting a tripod round the head in the 80s was quite amusing.

I have a lurid first hand description of that - from the perpetrator!
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Mike-Dale
I SO want to hear some of these stories!

In my pig poo story I purposely omitted to mention that one of the smelliest of the birders involved was none other than Clive Byers if memory serves me correctly.

I really, really, really wish I still my copies of Not BB. They were absolutely hilarious, if you should manage to lay your hands on a copy then hold on to them, they are superbly funny.
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Mike-Dale
I have a lurid first hand description of that - from the perpetrator!

Amazingly I very nearly asked if anyone knew of the tripod test!

Please tell it!
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Jane Turner
Amazingly I very nearly asked if anyone knew of the tripod test!

Please tell it!

I can't recall the fine details, but I believe the phrase uttered Andrew that led to Steve crowning him was on the lines of "I bet you are glad that I was here to identify that for you"
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Andrew Whitehouse
I can remember a few stories about Andrew Grieve from my (rather distant) RSPB days. He was supposed to be one of the more character-building wardens to work with. I think there's a story about life-members of the RSPB resigning because of something he said to them, but I can't remember them.

I can remember being told that Maurice Colclough, the warden of Coombes Valley, elicited a similar response when berating two members for walking the 'wrong way' around the reserve.

I should try and remember some good stories about the ex-warden of Strumpshaw Fen, where I worked. He was another 'character'. A good one (that happily I didn't witness) involved a a guy who turned up for an interview for a place on the training scheme. He turned up with his mother, who had given him a lift. The first thing the warden did on their arrival was to change his trousers in front of them.
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tom mckinney
I can remember being told that Maurice Colclough, the warden of Coombes Valley, elicited a similar response when berating two members for walking the 'wrong way' around the reserve.

He banned myself and my YOC Group for sticking bird stickers in the tree top hide - 'nice' guy! :C
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Andrew Whitehouse
I vividly remember being told by the warden at Strumpshaw that if I worked for Maurice Colclough I'd be a 'snivelling wreck'.

Of course I was already a snivelling wreck anyway, so the joke was on him really. Wasn't it?
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Jules Sykes
Just a quickie for the St Agnes officienado's. Whilst staying at 'The Hump' we always endulged ourselves during the evening meal, in fact some of the eating competitions between messrs Dukes and Brazil will go down in the annals of Scillonian history. This particular night we had the added treat of a blackberry and apple crumble made by Mrs PFN. For the people who do not know Peter he is the most fastidious, particular, infuriating person you could ever meet (also the nicest). Anyway there were seven (I think) eating this night and Peter wanted to ensure everyone got an equal share to the last %. Half an hour has past and he still hasn't satisfactorily worked out the portions. Then the normally very placid Paul stands up grabs the spoon and roars at Peter with a volley of expletives, which Cleese would be proud of and then throws the pudding into the surrounding bowls spraying everything. Thankfully Peter never said a word or I think he would have worn that spoon like a lollipop stick.
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Ronald Zee
Near where I live is a lake which during the winter months has a fair portion of Tufted Ducks and Pochards. Last year January I wanted to have a look at night so I took my videocamera (which has night vision) along. When I was cycling on the path next to the canal, in almost total darknes, I saw something about 100 metres away from me which made me stop and get off my bicycle. What I saw were 3 red lights just above the ground moving about in a very strange way, almost never in a straight line, but rapidly going sideways, forwards and backwards. I am ashamed to say that my first thought was that it were some creatures from space, having come to investigate. After 40 seconds or so I had come to my senses (I mean space creatures) and started cycling again towards the lights, but still cautiously. When I was near them I suddenly saw what the lights were, it were three small dogs with a red lamp strapped on their backs. I then saw that a woman was with them so I stopped and told her what I had been thinking, she then had to laugh. She told me that she had strapped the lights on the back of the dogs to be sure of their movements and whereabouts in the dark.
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Tim Allwood
anyone remember the locals v birders punch up on Mary's?

people ended up in the water and my mate got a broken arm....

they were the days

Tim
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Adey Baker
A lot of aggression and violence in the 'good old days,' wasn't there :eek!:
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Mike-Dale
anyone remember the locals v birders punch up on Mary's?

people ended up in the water and my mate got a broken arm....

they were the days

Tim
What sort of time frame are we talking about here?
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Tim Allwood
mid 80s

Adey, not passing judgement, merely reporting events...

Tim
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Adey Baker
mid 80s

Adey, not passing judgement, merely reporting events...

Tim

Yeah, I heard plenty of stories but seldom saw anything too untoward myself.
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Tim Allwood
only ever heard of the one punch up - were there others?

I'd post the names of the guys but don't know wether they'd appreciate it - Derby boys Adey - you might know em.... ;) always getting into scrapes :eek!:

Tim
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Adey Baker
On a slightly different 'aggression' theme: there was a Radio 4 programme produced about 20 years ago called 'In Search of a Mega-tick,' the reporter was a Scilly Islander, Susan(?) Hicks who followed the birders around for a few days after the eponymous mega of the title (Eye Browed Thrush eventually filled the position, nicely).

At one stage everyone was watching a particular bird in one of the tight-packed Scilly scrums when one very plummy-voiced Scillies resident lady fixed her attention onto a tripod which had been left leaning against her wall or hedge. 'Who does that belong to?' she boomed!

Now, it's often been asked if anyone knows who's foot was run over in the famous Channel 4 programme but what about that poor old tripod - who did that belong to?
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Mike-Dale
Now, it's often been asked if anyone knows who's foot was run over in the famous Channel 4 programme but what about that poor old tripod - who did that belong to?
I know my tripod got run over in the YB Cuckoo Channel 4 incident. It still bears the scar (well bend actually) to this day.
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Tim Allwood
er Adey

I was occassionally on the film crew for that film! (as a gopher though, fetching brandy for the director similar duties) Don't know the guy though.

we had a laff then too (it was the Derby boys who made the film) I remember getting plastered, going back to the hotel only for my mate to insist we carried on drinking - he'd been chilling some white in the sink....

we got well and truly done and i went to the toilet on the landing in my boxers, door shut behind me, mate was gonna let me back in, only he passed out and i was left in the freezing cold in my boxers, sat under the shower for a good hour to keep warm after vigourous knocking before i plucked up enough courage to get the door opened.

there are several tales from the filming but that's the 'cleanest' one by far!

Tim
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Adey Baker
Amazing how drink tends to feature in a lot of stories!

I remember back in the '70s several of us had a weekend at the Beaulieu Road Hotel 'doing' the New Forest specialities.

After everyone else had gone to bed ready for an early start for a pre-breakfast Woodlark hunt two of us stayed down at the bar intent on emptying the shelves of their stock of Newcastle Brown ales.

When we finally went upstairs I had to help my mate up and when I got to his room I just opened the door and shoved him in. Imagine my surprise, next morning, when I went to wake him, to see that he was well tucked-up in bed (I thought he'd be still on the floor). He grunted some profanity so I just stripped all the bedclothes off the bed and left him to it!

I went down to join the others telling them that I didn't think Simmo would be out before breakfast but, amazingly he caught us up after only about 5 minutes and we went off and got crippling views of Woodlark - a new tick all round at the time.

It just shows what the thought of a 'new' bird can do!
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Docmartin
only ever heard of the one punch up - were there others?

Tim

There was a punch-up at the Big Waters Pine Bunting, pre-dawn.
Ghostly Vision
....And the famous one at the Norfolk Red-breasted nuthatch on its first day, plus one with a certain northen/midlands birder, well-known for his bullying of lesser mortals, at a Black-throated thrush in Redditch (1996?).

The same, afore-mentioned bully also clocked someone in Norfolk at a twitch for a Lanceolated warbler at Blakeney in the 80's. The bird had been seen in a patch of sueda bushes, so the bully decided to organise eveyone into a circle round said bushes. This was the next morning, and it was not known whether the bird was still present at this point.

Everyone duly got into their position around circle, afraid of the consequences, and waiting for the order to move in to flush the bird (behaviour that would raise a lot of hackles these days, but let's bypass that for now, for the sake of the story).

The idea was that we all stood and waited for the order from colonel bully to move in, as one.

One unfortunate chap took a step forward out of line, perhaps to pick something up, or just to keep the cold out. Our "leader" leapt at him, remonstrating him in a broad northern accent that he hadn't been given permission to move yet, and promptly shoved him back into position, and nearly onto his back. Funny, but not for the poor bloke.

To complete the story, the line moved in to order, and got closer and closer to the bush, until everyone was virutally on top of the bushes. Someone saw movement - small brown bird. I was on the wrong side of the group to see anything.

Out flew a Dunnock - the only bird n the bush to start with.

Still never seen Lancy in the UK.

Sean
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tom mckinney
Post deleted out of a very real fear of having all my teeth kicked out!

:eek!: :eek!: :eek!:
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Tim Allwood
I think i once met him when i was 19 or so and didn't know who he was - he started on me verbally but i stood my ground and gave as good as i got. Didn't realise at the time that i was playing with fire!!!
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tom mckinney
Tim,

Ditto! Only I didn't give back as good as he gave me. Infact I think I ran off... crying...

You are either very brave or very crazy!
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Tim Allwood
don't think i'd do it now i know the score though Tom!!!

I have a mate or two (that Sean probably knows!) who would though......

Tim

just read the PM sean - you do know him....and his 'little' brother
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Mike-Dale
Does anyone know the story of the infamous Nighthawk shaped cow pat on St. Mary's?

Come on own up! Tell us the story!
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Tim Allwood
yeah, i was one of the first to 'tick' it

someone went bombing past my flat shouting Nighthawk - wasn't far so i tanked it all the way to be greeted with a cow pat, Laser Lee GRE and a few others studying 'it'

Tim
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Ghostly Vision
Since there are Scilly stories aplenty, and since there are Sora threads, this one combines both, so is topical.

During the early 80's I stayed on the Garrison during my Scilly break. Sometimes just two to the tent, others more.

Even in those days, when I could get 10 ticks in a week on Scilly, my enthusiasm used to run out a little by the end of the first week, and I would often find myself going bck up to the Garrison during quiet periods to have a coffee, or even a shower (perish the thought in those days!! Having a shower wasn't considered hard core) during the quiet times in the shower block.

On one such occasion, I went back to the tent in the afternoon, having had a number of hours fruitless searching or seeing birds I'd already seen several times that week.
So, I spent the rest of the afternoon to dark freshening up, relaxing myweary feet and cleaning my bins etc.

Then, it was off down to the Bishop for my evening meal and to have a drink or two of pop(!).

Even though it was quite early in the eveing, the Bish was full of people all still clad in their birding gear, bins round necks etc, and thee was an obvious buzz in the air.

My enquiry as to the reason for the excitement produced the news that there was a Sora on Tresco, and basically everyone staying on Scilly had seen it - except me!!!
I had completely missed boat after boat going out of the quay, full of noisy excited birders, all going for the first twitchable Sora since 1973 (ie in modern twitching times)!!

The next morning I was pretty lonely and despondent. The only other people on the first boat (there was no ealry boat, as everyone had seen it) were people gripping me off or those who had flown from the mainland.

In the end I did see it, but even some people from the Mainland managed to see it before me!!!

The same thing happened with a Black-billed cuckoo on St Mary's two years later. My mate and I happily having a coffee and biscuit at our tent, to save paying cafe prices. Later, we wandered down to find the cuckoo had been showing, and by the time we joined the ecsttic crowd, it had not shown for about half an hour, despite being nearly dead when last seen!!!

Once again, the bird put on a second (and final) showing, but it wouldn't have been a good day if that thing had expired after its first showing.

Add to this missing a 2barred xbill in Derbys after getting sick of waiting for five hours in the cold. The xbill showed 10 minutes after we left to go and look at a smew. We returned to the site to be severely gripped.

I think the lesson here is - staying power pays off!!!

Happy memories??

Sean
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Mike-Dale
Hearing the Great Horned Owls last night made me remember a story that I read about, some people will probably find it more horrific than amusing.


They were doing one of those 'nestcam' programs on the TV over here in the US. One of the nests being filmed was that of a Great Horned Owl.The GHO is a monstrous evil looking beast almost 2 ft high and if they look at you it sends a shiver down your spine. Anyway there they are filming away at the nest with the broadcast going out live to millions of people when Daddy Owl brings food back to the nest. The food in question was a fluffy pink Poodle! The live broadcast stopped rather quickly!
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joe cockram
i dont really know the Nighthawk cowpat story, but a similar thing happened down at minsmere while looking for the funny curlew, which at the time was at the height of its SBC possibility
There was quite large crowd looking out over the levels struggling to find any curlews at all because of heat haze and distance involved. Several people were claiming they had the bird only to be put right when one guy next to me started shouting," i've got it, this is definatley it" i followed his directions and all i could see was a lump of muck with a curved stick poking out. i told him that that was what it looked like to me. He invited me to look thru his scope (how that would make a difference i dont know) but it still looked like a cow pat and i told him so. He was still adamant but eventually others nearby got onto it and assured him that it was in fact bovine poo whereupon he fell silent and unsurprisingly didnt say another word til he left.
just goes to show that if you want to see a bird badly enough its not diifcult if you really use your imagination.
joe
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tom mckinney
Anyone heard the story about the North Ronaldsay Siberian Blue Robin Charter Flight Catastrophe? I was told it 1st hand and it's brilliant.

But I can't be arsed to type it out.
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Mike-Dale
Anyone heard the story about the North Ronaldsay Siberian Blue Robin Charter Flight Catastrophe? I was told it 1st hand and it's brilliant.

But I can't be arsed to type it out.
OH! Go on tell us.

PLEEEEEEEEZZZZZE!
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Ghostly Vision
They got in the plane, it was windy, plane wing hit fence, they went back to mainland, got in another plane, arrived, saw bird, happy ending.

That's the one isn't it?

S
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Reader
A few years ago I was birding in Majorca. I went to the twice nightly log meetings in Porta Poullensa (I think that's spelt right). On the 2nd meeting someone was excited about a Scops Owl that was regularly seen in a very small hole in a brick building, which was situated at the Albufeira Depudora. At the time I had never seen one so the next day saw me and the missus racing back to there (we were based on the eastern side of the island at Porto Colom). The building was about 100 yards into a field and sure enough something was in a small glassless window. I raised my scope and looked at a pefectly formed --- stone. The missus & I had a good laugh about it then carried onto the hide. An hour later the guy that had told us all about the Owl turned up and when he started to talk about the Owl we told him what we had found. He didn't believe us at first until we put the scope up to it, then muttered to himself and sloped off.

I must admit that the next log meeting was interesting when we reported our findings.
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jurek
We all know that birding abroad can be bombastic, right?

So, a group of twitchers went to flush Nubian Nightjar in Arava Valley. When they were doing it, they noticed a military car coming, which parked on the other end of the field. When they finished, soldiers pointed to them warning signs. They just trampled across a mine field.

Heard from one of those twitchers, who is a very good and credible ornithologist.
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white-back
We all know that birding abroad can be bombastic, right?

So, a group of twitchers went to flush Nubian Nightjar in Arava Valley. When they were doing it, they noticed a military car coming, which parked on the other end of the field. When they finished, soldiers pointed to them warning signs. They just trampled across a mine field.

Heard from one of those twitchers, who is a very good and credible ornithologist.

I remember a variant of that from the Golan Heights back in the 80s- bunch of Finnish birders after Calandra Larks were rather surprised when a truck pulled up and a soldier started shouting f'ing and blinding at at them in perfect Finnish- turned out to be UN soldiers coming to haul them out of a minefield.
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Jane Turner
Then of course there is the new gamebird to science discovered in the bottom of a casserole dish.
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David Bryant
In terms of FUNNY stories: I went to Wells Woods Drinking Pool many years ago to 'see' a Red-breasted Flicker that had spent the previous (work) day in a bush at the West end of the pool. There was quite a big 'nothing else about' gallery who sat patiently for about two hours, hoping that the flittery object deep in cover would emerge. When it finally did, it was a Goldcrest. But STILL the gallery persevered! But not my mate! He excused himself quietly from those near us, saying he needed the loo. A minute later, a tubby figure (naked but for grey Y-fronts over its head) ran across the end of the pool, shouting out 'How's this for a Royal Flush!' Everyone sat in stunned silence. A minute or two later, my mate returned (fully clothed) He sat down before quietly asking if the RBF had shown yet!
Anyone remember this? It was a HOOT! (No: I will NOT reveal the name! LOL!)
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Jane Turner
Anyone heard the story about the North Ronaldsay Siberian Blue Robin Charter Flight Catastrophe? I was told it 1st hand and it's brilliant.

But I can't be arsed to type it out.


Mike (stiff flaps) Edgecombe wasn't the pilot was he?
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Steve Babbs
Hi

I was thinking about starting a thread along this lines after getting the book Blokes and Birds edited by Stephen Moss for Christmas, which is a collection of birders telling a birding story. I found this very disappointing and immediately thought we could put together a better collection on Bird Forum.

Probably my most crazy days birding recently was around La Paz, Bolivia. My self and the birder I was with Paul, were up before first light trying to find a minibus to El Cumbre. The main problem was we'd completely ignored the advice not to drink or smoke at high altitudes and had stayed up late and got up very drunk in a bar the night before. I suddenly felt rather peculiar and while Paul was sorting out minibuses I had to disappear for a descrete 'chunder'.

I then got in the minibus and somehow managed to haul my sorry body around El Cumbre (4700m) and the slightly lower but steeper Pongo. Even more remarkably we actually saw quite a few birds such as rufous-bellied and grey-breasted seedsnipes. After a long exhausting day it was time to head back, after a worryingly long wait, when it was getting dark and very cold, we finally managed to get on a bus.

We definately having an early night we said. The stories of that night are too long to go into here but I ended up finding myself alone and extremely drunk in a very scary La Paz nightclub at 3a.m.not knowing where I was or where my hotel was. Remarkably I survived OK apart from the loss of my fleece which had disappeared with a drunken Bolivian woman.

Remarkably I was up and ready at 7a.m for the bus to Apa Apa, although I did spend the 6 hour journey curled up in a ball.

Perhaps we could all share a story and some enterprising sole should publish it.

Cheers

Steve
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Tim Allwood
hi steve

i wrote a similar one in a different thread about our journey up the rio de las piedras in Manu with some nutter Peruvians - 4 weeks of Apocolypse now

i'll try to find the link
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Tim Allwood
Jane

i know edgey's mate is a pilot

didn't think Mike flew himself on twitches though...

Tim
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Steve Babbs
hi steve

i wrote a similar one in a different thread about our journey up the rio de las piedras in Manu with some nutter Peruvians - 4 weeks of Apocolypse now

i'll try to find the link

Tim

I'm probably going to be in Peru myself this summer, imagine I'll collect a few stories on that trip.

Then I've promised to have a year or two of civilised 'family' trips. Which reminds me of the Spanish Sparrow in Cumbria twitch. No big deal Ipswich to Cumbria except for the fact that I'd got married the day before - that one even freaked out the hardened birders I went with. I made it up to my wife I took her on a nice honeymoon, 6 weeks birding in Indonesia. Remarkably we are still together!

Steve
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Chris D
Along those lines. My wife and I were running around with our guide in Ecuador looking for the Seed Snipe at 15 or so thousand feet. Finally we had to sit down and rest. Our guide continued his search and we watched him with our binos feeling utterly useless. After a few minutes he looked at me with his binos as I watched him with mine,,,,,,,,,then he poited straight up. 2 condors flew right over our heads. Well worth his fee........
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Reader
I have started a thread which is the opposite of this thread, namely horror stories anyone. Here is the link to it.
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?p=283802#post283802

I say this as the story I am about to tell I don't know if you would class it as amusing or a horror story.

It was years before I started birdwatching. I was an angler at the time and on this day was fishing for Barbel in the River Teme at the edge of Worcester. I had waded out into the middle of the river and set up all my stuff in mid river, Landing net, Creel and all my bait etc.

As I was fishing I noticed three Swans downriver of me. They looked like a pair with a Cygnet. They gradually came closer and closer towards me. I thought nothing of this due to the fact that I had regular contact with Swans along this stretch of river without ever encountering a problem.

I was into a good fish and my concentration was totally on playing it into my landing net. I didn't notice what the Swans were doing. Just as I landed the fish I noticed that one of the Swans had developed a threatening pose and was within 6 feet of me. I turned to see where the other two were. The cygnet was close to my right and the other adult bird was close behind my, in effect I was surrounded as to the left of me was deep water. They started hissing and the bird at the front lunged at me, at the same time the bird behind did the same.

Everything went up in the air as I was hit both sides and I raced for the bank as both birds kept up their lunges. I had to run almost a hundred yards in my waders, whilst being chased by both adult Swans, and then jump over a fence before these birds broke off their attack.

It was almost 15 minutes or so before I could return to my equipment. When I got there I had lost my rod and reel, a landing net, keep net and all my bait and other equipment that had been lying on my trays. A very expensive moment in my life.

Thankfully it hasn't made me afraid of Swans although perhaps just a little bit wary of them.
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Tim Allwood
the Peru one........my friend works out there in Tambopata reserve and he offered us a very cheap chance to visit some of the best birding places on the globe....so we jumped at it. We decided while we were there to explore a river called Rio de Las Piedras (River of Stones)......a place where birders haven't been to the best of our knowledge. We hired a boat and me Dave. Claire, Pedro and Arturo (Dave's workers and a laugh a minute but toal loose cannons) set off up the river. We also had a guy called a tripulante whose job it was to guide the boat in the shallow bits etc. Needles to say we all got plastered the night beofore in Puerto Maldonado and ended up in a seedy bar until 3 in the morning. We found Pedro next morning still ina local bar but the tripulante was too pissed so we had to get another. We got a guy we thought was experienced and about 22 (turns out he'd never done the job and was 14). We set off fully stocked and had a great 16 days getting 250 Kms up river to a spot where the few loggers had been arrowed by natives a few days previously. We played footy on the sand bars, canoed on the oxbow lakes and fished for Piranhas. The birding was ace (we saw at least a new subspecies of antbird, possibly something even better) and the mammals were unbelievable. Pedro had bought stacks of rum and we spent most nights in the jungle getting drunk listening to potoos. He had also bought a gun.....(say no more!). The last night on the way back we stopped of at a new lodge being built and had a monumental piss up with a few Peruvians we'd given a lift to down the river. It was very 'apocalypse now' and before long the Peruvians drank a large stash of pure medicinal alcohol and were into a fist and glass fight in the pitch dark in the middle of the jungle. They were all so scared of each other (they were trying to hide in our bunks with us) that they slept alone in the jungle. One by one they appeared next morning still absolutely plastered, petrified and cut up and our little 14 year old had the hangover from hell, had peed all over his trousers and slept in it and still couldn't stand up at tea time! He was a good lad and we paid him well and he seemed fine when we saw him a few days later in PM all kitted out in new gear.

That's the stuff i CAN mention......ah the joys of birding

the girl i went to Mexico and Belize with got a bot fly larvae, that's quite an amusing one too...
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Mike-Dale
In the mid 70’s to mid 80’s I used to be a service commissioning engineer for a machine company and as such I traveled all over the world often for weeks at a time. I had several memorable side excursions on some of these trips but they are other stories. On time that I was in Korea in January, it was the Korean New Year and as such the Hyundai tank factory that I was working in all had the day off (that’s tank as in hulking great armoured vehicle rather than a container to hold petrol). I was in a place called Masan on the South coast which was also a ship building port. At the back of the hotel was a range of mountains and one looked quite inviting and Matt the lad I was with and I decided that we would climb it. We didn’t have any maps or anything so basically we started walking uphill. We strolled through a village and carried on up toward the mountain of our choice. All the Koreans that we came across in our trek were dressed in their best clothes the women in particular wore the Korean nation costumes which were particularly colourful. On the outskirts of the village we came across a large area in the hillside which had hundreds of small mounds on them. These mounds were perhaps 3 or feet across and about 2 or 3 feet high, covered in grass similar to moguls for the skiers amongst you. We walked towards our mountain of choice across this ‘bumpy’ field. As we walked up we just went in a much of a straight line as possible which entailed walking up and down the little hills. At the lower end of the field a large procession of villagers entered the field and seeing us walking up the hillside started shouting and shaking their fists and waving the flags they were carrying. It was pretty obvious to us that they didn’t want us to be where we were so we left in a big hurry. We eventually made it up the side of the mountain scrambling up the scree field on it’s Southern slope. When we dragged ourselves over the last rise we were gob smacked to see people walking around on top. Turns out there was a much gentler path up the other side. On our return to the hotel we asked about the bumps on the hillside …………. turns out they were the graves of their ancestors. Oops!

I did see lots of nice birds on that trip though.
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Ronald Zee
Pedro had bought stacks of rum and we spent most nights in the jungle getting drunk listening to potoos. He had also bought a gun.....(say no more!). The last night on the way back we stopped of at a new lodge being built and had a monumental piss up with a few Peruvians we'd given a lift to down the river. It was very 'apocalypse now' and before long the Peruvians drank a large stash of pure medicinal alcohol and were into a fist and glass fight in the pitch dark in the middle of the jungle. They were all so scared of each other (they were trying to hide in our bunks with us) that they slept alone in the jungle. One by one they appeared next morning still absolutely plastered, petrified and cut up and our little 14 year old had the hangover from hell, had peed all over his trousers and slept in it and still couldn't stand up at tea time! He was a good lad and we paid him well and he seemed fine when we saw him a few days later in PM all kitted out in new gear.

From reading your account one would almost conclude that a lot of Peruvians who are in charge of something can't keep from the booze. I thought my experience in Peru in 1976 was exceptional. During a train ride from Cuzco to Puno, which took about 12 hours, I got off the train during a stop and walked over to the front. Both the engine drivers invited me into the cabin, so I rode with them to the next station, the whole cabin was full of flowers and besides that 4 crates of beer from which they drank, they also offered me a bottle.
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Aquila
Here's a very short and silly but true story from n years ago. I was approaching the Weaver Bend, an excellent wader site on the Wirral in Cheshire, in search of a reported Baird's Sandpiper.
A guy with binoculars came along.
Me: "Have you seen the Baird's?"
Him (with thick scouse accent): "There's bairds all over the place!"
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Jane Turner
Here's a very short and silly but true story from n years ago. I was approaching the Weaver Bend, an excellent wader site on the Wirral in Cheshire, in search of a reported Baird's Sandpiper.
A guy with binoculars came along.
Me: "Have you seen the Baird's?"
Him (with thick scouse accent): "There's bairds all over the place!"


Its still there... but strangely not as excellent. What year... might have been my first Baird's too!
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Reader
Its still there... but strangely not as excellent. What year... might have been my first Baird's too!

I must admit that I have found Frodsham in general not as good as it used to be. I used to see a Hen Harrier regular from where the log book was kept overlooking the Weaver bend but the last time I saw one there was March 1998.
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Jane Turner
There was a brief period where number 5 tank was looking like it did in the 70's.... low and behold it got, Marsh Sand, Terek Sand and Broad-billed Sand in a couple of weeks.... then it dried out again. I always find the place depressing... but some of my best friends are regularls there so I better be careful!
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Aquila
Its still there... but strangely not as excellent. What year... might have been my first Baird's too!
Can't remember the year but I didn't see the Baird's. Saw lots of other good bairds there though - Semi-p, Stilt Sand, L-b Dowitcher, Sharp-tailed Sand, W-w Black Tern, etc etc. Wonder why it's gone downhill - water quality (should have improved!), change in river profile?
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Jane Turner
I missed the Sharpie... I was phoned and told there was a Pec.. I couldn't be bothered...was driving up north and went through the tunnel rathr than round the bottom.. how peeved was I when it was re-identified!!!!!
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tom mckinney
From LGRE's Rare Birds 1800-1990:

Three juvenile Baird's Sand at Frodsham: 1975, 1982 & 1985

Sharp-tailed Sand 1983

Stilt Sand 1984

Semip Sand 1982
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Aquila
From LGRE's Rare Birds 1800-1990:

Three juvenile Baird's Sand at Frodsham: 1975, 1982 & 1985

Sharp-tailed Sand 1983

Stilt Sand 1984

Semip Sand 1982
Thanks Tom. Was the '82 bird I dipped on (was in on i.d.ing the Semi-p though :bounce: ).
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Aquila
Can't remember the year but I didn't see the Baird's. Saw lots of other good bairds there though - Semi-p, Stilt Sand, L-b Dowitcher, Sharp-tailed Sand, W-w Black Tern, etc etc.
P.S. Wilson's and R-n Phalaropes too!
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Jane Turner
The Stilt is in my birds that got away file... I was at Red Rocks... 30 miles away... can't remember the date now...... and this medium sized wader with a White arse and trailing legs flew past me... It wasn't a wood sand and I was well confused..... it went missing from Frodders that day.
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tom mckinney
Seen Red-n.Phal, Woodchat Shrike, Lesser Scaup, Grey Phal and Pec Sand at Frodsham in the past.

Went a couple of times last year and its very poor there now. The ICI tank is no longer bird friendly.
 

helenol

Well-known member
Andrew, how come I can't find my original Nancys Thread? I think it was in RF, so not "googeable"?
 

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