I guess most of you know i'm not the greatest twitcher in the world and for several reasons : Firstly I would sooner bird our home county of Oxfordshire because while away I could be missing recording an important sighting, secondly I believe there is more virtue in finding ones own birds rather than short-cutting to secondhand glory, thirdly some twitches i've been on have shown the nasty side of minority thoughtless birders caring more about their tick than the welfare of the often lost and bewildered bird, fourthly i'm not very good at it, what with suspect hearing, average eyesight and mediocre identification skills and lastly I have no wish to contribute to the serious problem of global warming that motoring plays a part . I cycle within the county weather permitting whenever I can , yes I know i'm pissing against the wind as more and more Indians and Chinese throw away their bikes and jump into cars but I can only live my life as I see fit. I fully understand why some birders are twitchers and must admit to reading our local birder twitching blogs with great relish most of them are really well written and most entertaining and it is for themselves to decide the moral aspects . I do have a great deal of admiration for our local twitchers , their determination , resourcefulness and courage is often to be witnessed through their writing.
The relatively close sighting of a Red-Flanked Bluetail not far from Bath and just about an hours drive away had me regretting the dental appointment for a crown fitting scheduled for 2.pm Friday 21st but on receiving a text from the dental practice on Thursday informing me the dentist was sick and leaving me free I decided I would make the journey, fortunately a mate who had already visited the site and clocked the Bluetail emailed me explicit travel instructions making the driving and finding pretty well stress free (thank you so much friend) . I arrived to find several vehicles parked about three quarters of a mile away and walked down a steep hill into a pleasant valley with a lively stream (complete with waterfall) running the length of it although muddy the going was fairly easy and my attention was taken by the presence of two Ravens with their guttural calls . Seeing a group of some half dozen birders training bins, tels and cameras on a Hawthorn bush told me I was where I needed to be and also that the little blue gem was still here . I stayed for about an hour during which time 'bluey' showed really well especially when it moved to the garden of the nearby farm. I know this is an insect feeder not only from the bill shape but my "Collins" also mentions the fact, and I was fortunate enough to get a rough photographic sequence of the capture of an insect by 'bluey' . A Goldcrest put in an appearance and I even managed to get this delightful all action beauty on film.
I had a smooth drive back making my day most enjoyable.
The Oxon Feather.