On Saturday I celebrated my fourteenth birthday, I know, I'm getting old. I should probably buy myself a tweed suit soon.
But I did not write this blog with the intention of talking about my (old) age or my birthday itself for that matter. I think you will find the day before my birthday rather more interesting. I might have gone - 'cough cough' - twitching. When you see what I twitched you will agree with me, all moral codes against twitching needed to be broken. It was worth the risk of being called a twitcher (which did actually happen while I was there) to see it. I twitched this little beauty....
A Great-grey Shrike at Chanctonbury Ring, what fantastic birds they are too. To say the least it made my day. Plans to twitch Spoonbill were scrapped a few minutes after we first got onto the bird, it was about then that we realised just how good this Shrike was. At one point it came -for half a second- within two foot of where I was standing, just astounding.
I must have spent nearly two hours photographing this bird, it was pretty mobile never staying in one spot for more than a couple of minutes before flying to a new perch. So it kept me on my feet, I only lost it a couple of times but it was easy enough to re-find.
What a birthday treat, it was a great bird, it showed well and the light was good. What more could you ask for?
So that was a great to start to the day, we didn't leave the Shrike until about two in afternoon so we only had time for one more quick stop before the light went. A stop off at Shoreham Fort got me another life-tick - Purple Sandpiper. The light was pretty much gone by now, so this record shot will have to suffice for you. There were seven of them there, a bird I've wanted to see for quite a while. This one showed pretty well.
I'm not sure about by your standards, but for me that was one heck of a day out, a lifer is always appreciated, two is just amazing! And when they show as well as they did... I managed some shots which I was fairly pleased with too. So yes, a great way to celebrate my last day birding as a thirteen year-old. Do you not agree? Now how will birding be at fourteen...