beating the blues

Coming back from a bird filled holiday is never easy; even if you do have a to-die-for job. I wasn’t helped by the relentless cascade of news, comments and photos relating to a Bluethroat just inside the Lincolnshire border. The fact it was a male and quite fearless gave me itchy feet. So on Wednesday I jumped in the car to scratch the itch and went to see the little chap. I wasn’t disappointed.

bluethroat-red-spotted-_z5a9698 bluethroat-red-spotted_z5a9948


10 Responses to “beating the blues”

  1. Mar 5, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Awesome! I’ve dreamt of seeing this bird! You’re a lucky guy!

  2. 5 Ian Gordon
    Mar 5, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Carl, Missed you on Wednesday as I paid a return visit. Almost a patch bird. Lovely confiding bird but behaviour totally changed since first found by overfeeding with mealworms. No longer foraging naturally. Behaviour of some twitchers has been diabolical too. It makes you think about current state of some aspects of modern “listing” and how wise it is to widely publish finds.

    • Mar 5, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      Hi Ian – Sorry we passed without meeting. I went onto Kings Lynn docks to check the gulls during the afternoon. The behaviour of bird watchers when I was there was somewhat frustrating with one couple in particular talking very loudly and obviously influencing the behaviour of the bird. Other than that everyone was well behaved. Although some flattening of the grass verge was observed which I guess is to be expected where there are continuous gatherings of people; although I suspect this will come back over time. The bird had some mealworms offered by another photographer which it visited a couple of times but in the main it was foraging and finding grubs and caterpillars from the reedbed and grass borders as well as in the adjacent field . However, I guess an easy supply of food is the reason why it has stopped so long and why it is so confiding.

      Some people get hung up on feeding rarities. I’m not sure if it’s wrong or right. I feed birds in my garden all year round. If this Bluethroat turned up in my garden (I should be so lucky) underneath the feeders where I put mealworms down for Robins I don’t think I would stop feeding because it had started to feed with the Robins. I guess I feel ok about the Lincolnshire Bluethroat being fed if it is fed daily and it doesn’t suddenly stop … which would be my worry. Although the bird did seem to be finding enough food naturally when I was there. Maybe it’s got fed up with just mealworms? ;0)

      • 7 Ian Gordon
        Mar 6, 2017 at 11:45 am

        Certainly is a smart bird. Singing now so could be around for a while yet, if it avoids the resident sprawk. Problems have definitely been noise at the twitch. shouting and shoving and plenty of “OH MY Gods” at top of voice when bird appears. The flattened area of grass you observed between the track and the part-flooded meadow was actually uneven rough, reedy grass. This was the bluethroats foraging ground and where early observations were made, The bird only occassionally retreated into the reeds when it was disturbed. Not so easy to see but nice, natural behaviour. It was respected by local visitors and local birders who stayed either side of the bird on the track. Still got views down to a few feet. People with no patience started to ingress it when the bird was fed mealworns and started to retreat into the readbed for longer as it did not need to forage so much. You also probably noticed the broken tape in the gap in the reedbed. This was put there to stop people going over the fence to try and get views of the bird in the reedbed from the other side. Needless to say it was ignored and broken down. Famous comment from one supposed birder was “I thought it was to show me where the bird was”. Oh dear. One of my local birding colleagues was roundly abused when he asked people to observe and respect the habitat. Taken together with stupid behaviour at our local GGS the locals are not amused. Most depressing fact is lack of fieldcraft or patience. Most interesting fact about the Bluethroat was that less than 1% of the people visiting bothered to walk another 300 yards up the trck to where 28 White-fronted Geese, 2 Tundra Beans and a Pinkie were feeding for several days. Seemed to be about ticking, photo and go. Locals are also sensitive as the last big rarity at Willow Tree Fen, a Red-footed Falcon, which had been extensively fed in Stoke before arriving. It was not fed by locals whilst present, but was very familiar due to the previous feeding. It was shot just after moving on and in part the familiarity due to feeding may have contributed to this.
        I also feed all year round,but mealworms seem to be the crack cocaine of birds and bird photographers.

      • Mar 6, 2017 at 8:04 pm

        Well my Robins would certainly kill their grandmother for a handful so you may be right!

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Mar 2017


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