I have never been a “twitcher” – a birdwatcher whose main aim is to collect sightings of rare birds – however we all, I’m sure, like to come across something out of the ordinary or that we have never ever seen before. Quite a number of ornithologists will keep lists – I think it is largely a male trait (but I stand to be corrected!). Now there is a new number one “world lister” who rules the roost and can crow from the top of his tree!
American birder Noah Strycker has beaten the world year-listing record by notching up an unbelievable 4,342 species, and he still has over three months to go! I imagine this obsessive hobby is costing him an absolute fortune as he wanders the world. Mind you, I bet this quest of his is taking him to some amazing out of the way places. I only hope he is stopping to take it all in – not just the bird he is “ticking off”!
Back down to earth and a little closer to home, it must have been quite a shock for Kentish birder Martin Casemore (or is that a birder from Kent) to be pootling about on his Dungeness home patch last week, only to come across an exhausted Acadian flycatcher sitting on the beach!
The little bird eventually perked up and moved to nearby gardens, which offered it some habitat in which to shelter and find food. If the so called “experts” do indeed confirm that it is an Acadian flycatcher, then it will be the first British record of this North American species, and only the second on this side of the Atlantic after one was found dead in Iceland on 4 November 1967.
These diminutive flycatchers weigh less than half an ounce and yet amazingly, it has made its way across the Atlantic ocean, albeit probably blasted here by storm force winds. The poor little thing obviously got itself in a right old pickle as it should have been in either an eastern North American forest, where they breed, or in another woodland in northern South America where they over-winter.
Meanwhile, back on my own patch surrounding my house, I am being royally entertained each morning by the delightful song of a Woodlark; he is just a small dot flying high up in the blue sky, making the most of these still, windless mornings, brought about by the huge high pressure which currently sits over the UK.
A woodlark singing away above my house - definitely a big enough treat for me!