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Filthy twitchers - which birds do you regret NOT going for? (1 Viewer)

JWN Andrewes

Poor Judge of Pasta.
Only three sprang to mind when I first saw the post, and none have occurred to me since, so here they are.

Clevedon Black-winged Pratincole. Should've bunked off college but didn't.

A Little Swift seen goiung to roost near Cromer (I think). Was at the end of attempting a big year list and I suppose I was just burned out. Even had someone phone and offer me a lift! It's a bit like John and his Red-throated Thrush, I struggle to understand what my thinking must have been. Don't get it.

Druridge Curlew. Kicked myself for years over this. Was out in Liverpool with friends the evening the news broke but it sounded so unlikely... We did a pub quiz and got drunk instead of getting an early night and heading up. Even though it now looks like its been binned as a record it would have been good to be a part of the debate, and I did still experience over ten years of genuine regret!
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
I generally don't twitch the islands, though increasingly to see mega's you have to.

Caught the ferry to Scilly to see the Waterthrush and Wilson's Snipe, but should have also gone when the B & W Warbler was there...........too slow off the mark.

Also been to Shetland twice by throwing silly money at it by flying there.........but worth it to see a male Rubythroat, and then the 1st Siberian Accentor. Of course another dozen of the latter then appeared around mainland Britain, including an easily twitchable one at Kilnsea. Had to laugh at myself !

Would probably fly to Shetland again, if a twitchable White's Thrush comes up or a Siberian Thrush. But otherwise will stick too mainland, or even enjoy my WP birding. 5 days in most Western Palearctic places costs about the same as flying to Shetland :)-
 

gandytron

Well-known member
The Chestnut-sided Warbler at Prawle Point will haunt me forever.

When I got the news it was a quiet mid-afternoon in my office in Exeter, the message on the info service had it at the end of the message, as a possible. I discussed it with a birding mate but we concluded we’d wait on news. Stupid, stupid, stupid!!!
 

edenwatcher

Well-known member
I don't twitch much (and mostly short distances) but these come to mind:
white-tailed plover (as mentioned above - but we were close by at a wedding when it was at Leighton Moss and could have gone for it the day after the wedding).
The Holy Island White's thrush - I could have made it, but assumed it would be difficult to see only to discover it sat still in a bush for hours!
Also a greater sand plover at Tyninghame in about 1999 - didn't need it but it was a summer plumage male.

Rob
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
The Chestnut-sided Warbler at Prawle Point will haunt me forever.

When I got the news it was a quiet mid-afternoon in my office in Exeter, the message on the info service had it at the end of the message, as a possible. I discussed it with a birding mate but we concluded we’d wait on news. Stupid, stupid, stupid!!!

RBA ran it as 'an unconfirmed report of a possible Chestnut-sided Warbler' so I didn't give it a crack from Bristol. I rang a friend in Taunton though who connected. It was called into the Flint pager who broadcast the observers' description eg the bright green, wingbars, etc with the observers' belief that it was a Chestnut-sided Warbler. However, my friend who would have relayed that message was on the Scillies without pager reception. :-C

All the best
 
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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Regrets I have a few.........

My first rarity twitch was in summer 1987. My list could definitely be two higher maybe more.

Needle-tailed Swift - I did not go for the Hoy bird in 1988 but if I had still been on campus at the time, I may have been on that twitch. I remember my shock on hearing the news on Birdline in a phonebox on Anglesey. I dipped the Kent bird by an hour or so in 1991. The June 2013 bird was phoned into Birdguides as an unidentified large swift on its first day (24th) but between the operator and the observer describing it, it got away..... It was refound by another observer the next day (25th) but I had a potential merger meeting with our CEO and another firm the next morning (26th) and was dropped at Birmingham airport as soon as it had finished so only got to the Hebrides in the evening in time to hear of its fatal collision. I dipped the 2017 Barra bird. I wish that I had blown out that 2013 meeting.

Philadelphia Vireo - when the October 2008 Loop Head bird broke on 13th, I tried to get there the same day but there were no flights in time. I had a work meeting in Brussels with another firm the next day (14th) and the logistics just did not work to get there by dark after the meeting. When I went on 15th, I dipped. I wish that I had blown out that 2008 meeting.

Otherwise, the Chestnut-sided Warbler at Prawle on 18th October 1995 may have been just twitchable from Bristol if I had gone immediately on unconfirmed news. I certainly regret not trying.

I got as far as an airfield in Kidlington in Oxfordshire on 2nd October 2001 when the news of the Siberian Blue Robin broke on North Ronaldsay. As we put our money down, we were told that the plane could only land at Kirkwall as the North Ron airstrip was not suitable so we pulled out and hit the road to drive north. I doubt that we would have been able to make the hop that afternoon from Kirkwall to North Ron even if we'd risked it but I do regret not trying.

Otherwise, I remember hearing of the Cape Clear Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on Birdline on Sunday 16th October 1988 from a phone box on the seafront in Weymouth. I wasn't really travelling that far at the time but undoubtedly a regret.

I do no regret not trying for the Vega Gull or the Lammergeier (January & May 2016).

I do not think anything else counts. I either went as soon as I could or even if I had, it would have made no difference or I've gripped them back.

All in all quite pleased that the list is so short after 30+ years but sometimes as a result of having avenged past mistakes.

All the best
 
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Farnboro John

Well-known member
John

Could you have got there that night? I have it in my memory as breaking after 8pm?

All the best

Yes, but I'm sure you remember that the bird was correctly identified by the finder much earlier in the day, however a group of experts who shall be nameless doubted their skills and didn't go to check till much later. News could have been out much earlier, and the fact that the nameless group despite their (lets face it) cock-up still saw the bird but effectively denied the rest of us the opportunity, is still irritating.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Yes, but I'm sure you remember that the bird was correctly identified by the finder much earlier in the day, however a group of experts who shall be nameless doubted their skills and didn't go to check till much later. News could have been out much earlier, and the fact that the nameless group despite their (lets face it) cock-up still saw the bird but effectively denied the rest of us the opportunity, is still irritating.

If memory serves me, found and identified by some youngish teenagers ( maybe Scouts) who informed some adult well seasoned birders from BSF who went along and confirmed it as a LSTL.

Lots of angry glances and muted comments that year on Scillies, especially Tresco.
 

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
Ancient murrulet. The first year I didn't go because I was tied up with what I thought was going to be the start of a wonderful new career with the RSPB research department. Boy was I wrong about that. The second year, I went and dipped and didn't have the chance again. Looking back from the 'retired' twicher pov, I could really give a gnat's fart these days about anything else in the UK.
Apart from that. slender-billed curlew. I was offered a place on a trip but was unemployed at the time and wasn't sure where the next pay check was coming from. I also thought why does it matter as I'm not going to see every bird in the world? That was serious mistake.
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Poland
You just need to work more on becoming a WP birder. It's obvious that you have it in you, but first you need to get rid of such crazy thoughts as considering Gyrfalcon and WB diver, two WP-breeding species as more interesting than a Glacuous-Winged gull, which is incidentally yhe rarest WP bird I have ever seen!
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
You just need to work more on becoming a WP birder. It's obvious that you have it in you, but first you need to get rid of such crazy thoughts as considering Gyrfalcon and WB diver, two WP-breeding species as more interesting than a Glacuous-Winged gull, which is incidentally yhe rarest WP bird I have ever seen!
Come, come! Even being a WP birder, Gyrfalcon and WB diver are both waaaay more interesting than an ugly scabby seagull, however rare it might be 3:)3:)3:)

G-w Gull is probably the most underwhelming WP rarity I've seen ;)
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Poland
Come, come! Even being a WP birder, Gyrfalcon and WB diver are both waaaay more interesting than an ugly scabby seagull, however rare it might be 3:)3:)3:)

G-w Gull is probably the most underwhelming WP rarity I've seen ;)

I think I have had this discussion several times already :) I found the bird cracking, with a lot of prominent field marks - maybe I have just spent too much time looking at large WP gulls with next to no discernable features, so that seeing a large gull that is obviously different was quite cool. Whereas a Gyrfalcon is a super cool sounding bird, but in fact, it's not really that different from any other large falcon, is it?

Aesthetics aside, the very idea if seeing a bird that is only listed in the table at the end of Collins with 1-3 recorded WP sightings just makes my heart race.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
I think I have had this discussion several times already :) I found the bird cracking, with a lot of prominent field marks - maybe I have just spent too much time looking at large WP gulls with next to no discernable features, so that seeing a large gull that is obviously different was quite cool. Whereas a Gyrfalcon is a super cool sounding bird, but in fact, it's not really that different from any other large falcon, is it?

Aesthetics aside, the very idea if seeing a bird that is only listed in the table at the end of Collins with 1-3 recorded WP sightings just makes my heart race.

I do know what you are saying Jan, but it is each to their own. I know lots would also call it sacrilege to not bother with a GW Gull based on its scarcity here in the UK, but for me, at that point, there was absolutely no contest.

I love my raptors and a white Gyr is about as good as birding gets for me. I spent 2 nights in the back of my Punto before I eventually secured dream views of it Also a beast of a White-Billed Diver down to ten metres, as back up, and my first Dusky Warbler, Central-Asian Lesser Whitethroat, Juv Frankin's Gull, and Spotted Sandpiper all in the same area.

Nah, I have absolutely no regrets. Don't get me wrong, Ivory Gull and Ross's Gull are class birds, but really any other gull doesn't get my juices flowing.

But yes, in terms of rarity, you are right, but in terms of birding enjoyment and adrenalin-rush, I feel I made the right decision. There were literally hundreds turning up to see the Gyr, which makes me think many agreed. It was probably my best weekend of birding ever on these shores.
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Poland
I would be definitely partial to seeing a Dusky Warbler, Franklin Gull and Spotted sand at once too. Reminds me to plan another rarity run to UK in October ... unless I go to Corvo this time :)
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
I would be definitely partial to seeing a Dusky Warbler, Franklin Gull and Spotted sand at once too. Reminds me to plan another rarity run to UK in October ... unless I go to Corvo this time :)

It seems to me to be a few years since we have had a good spell like they used to get in the 1980s in the UK. Virtually impossible to predict with any accuracy Jan.
 

Britseye

Well-known member
There's a fair chance I will at some time Paul, as I have a tendency for this sort of tiresome but reminiscing thread :)-

Definitely not tiresome, Wolfie. Go for it. That weekend you speak of was six months before I got to the south-west, but I got a phone call from a friend who was in the middle of the same clean-up you experienced. I was living in Ireland at the time, seeing nothing for months, and was totally gripped - not ticks, but seeing 4 or 5 quality birds in a weekend from different points of the compass is one of the most enjoyable highs to be had in British birding. Plus of course you got to experience the mystical majesty of Cornwall, which far exceeds the site (and sight!) of a rubbish tip in Essex (if that's the GwG you're referring to? I didn't really follow the story of that thing from afar.)
 

Britseye

Well-known member
It seems to me to be a few years since we have had a good spell like they used to get in the 1980s in the UK. Virtually impossible to predict with any accuracy Jan.

Duskys are virtually annual on Scilly nowadays; usually between about 22nd October and 10 November, and nearly always hang around for a minimum of a week to ten days. There were half-a-dozen in that period last year.
 

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