Saturday, 26 September 2009

The Gloss

Twenty years since the last one as others have highlighted meant a pre-dawn start this morning to stake a claim on what was sure to be a popular choice of destination, Druridge Pool.
It's not very often that I actually have specific species in my dreams but last night I dreamt about a dozen Glossy Ibis all in a single flock. Arriving at the Budge Hide for 5.50am with dawn still a while away and clear skies resulting in a rather chilly morning one would do.
On my tod for the first twenty minutes till Alan Giloney trudged up a Barn Owl along the wood at least gave me something to focus the bins on. Gradually light brought a steady stream of local birders eager to get to grips with a long overdue county tick.
Unfortunately it didn't bring the bird. Despite an overload of optics focused on all corners of the field the only thing with a curved beak was a distant Curlew in a far field. With no knowledge of last night's finders and no one locally having received any sort of call inevitably doubts were cast including my own.
By the time Tim "The Curlew" Cleeves had arrived many had dispersed to other hides and locations.
Soon after I left for home, a brief stop at the Lyne next to the sewage plant and had a couple of Great Spotted Woodpecker, migrants? probably not.
A quick call at Woodhorn then home past the Linton Roundabout where I scoped three Pink-footed Goose and about 25 Herring Gull in the fields.
Mid-way through my fried egg sandwich, middle son was on my laptop playing Internet games, I sat beside him and got him to login to Birdguides. As the Bird News Extra page scrolled down the first bird.....Glossy Ibis......Longhirst F......09:40 Fifteen minutes earlier. With shoelaces slapping my ankles I was on the move in 14 seconds, the steam still rising from the half eaten sandwich all that remained to mark where I had been.
I arrived at a deserted Longhirst Flash, "surely I couldn't be first?" I pondered. Three minutes later I was heading for Bothal. A line of cars stretched east toward me and people still had bins trained out on the water alas it had gone but not before seven or eight birders had connected with it including many who had been in the hide earlier, Roger Forster and 'Lucky' Andy Mclevy who had inconceivably managed to time his flight back from Ecuador just in time to connect with only the third record of the Gloss in Northumberland in living memory.
I had been so close Sexton was still sketching, touching distance. I pondered going elsewhere to search as it had flown north west. AG headed for the smaller ponds to the north on foot. I hung about drawn by tales of 300+ lifers in Ecuador and warm sunshine.
Suddenly a shout went up and behind me coming back toward the pond perhaps flushed by AG the Gloss arced back over the road and made to land. Grabbing camera from car I fired off a couple of shots before it once gain lifted and moved off north again.

I tried to follow, by the time I got to Longhirst Flash, it had been and gone again. Tim Dean and a couple of others had watched it land, take some grief from a few gulls and depart again north. 42 seconds of exhiliration as good as any rollercoaster.


Blyth Birder said...

Pleased I saw it at Longhirst Flash cos I dipped it in the Bothal area.

I checked the pools in the fields and I can only presume while I went to check the southern pool that it must have upped and went from the area I'd already looked at.

Some patch tick that would have been :)

Andrew Kinghorn said...

Glad you saw it Allan.
I had to do with Buff-Breased Sandpiper, Red-backed Shrike, and Blue-winged Teal all life ticks for me..... awfull day!;)