Monday, 17 March 2014

Unblocked!

When you become a sad, washed-up, bit-part birder like I am, but you have many years of birding behind you, there does remain one type of 'birding currency' that is worth its weight in gold - and that is THE BLOCKER. This will normally be a species that has not been seen for a number of years or has contracted its range to the point that it will most probably not be seen again.

Three examples:

UK List: anybody who has visited this blog before will know the score - this is where I mention Wallcreeper. Both of them. But I won't dwell...

Surrey List: Cirl Bunting. We used to toddle along to Pewley Down near Guildford to see these - without fail. Then their range contracted and they disappeared.

Local patch: In this case, Beddington. The others may have seen Killdeer and Glaucous-winged Gull, but I've seen Willow Tit and Grey Partridge, the former now extinct in Surrey and the latter heading that way.

But then the weakness of the Blocker is that it can become unblocked. My UK list blockers have slowly been pulled back, with Belted Kingfisher, Orphean Warbler and Semipalmated Plover leaving my cherished haul of prize possessions to become public birding property. And now, one of my 'Beddington Bankers', the Grey Partridge, has done the same. The first since 1980 was seen today, flushed by the gate and then relocated by the southern lake.

For the faded birder, these blockers are a link with the past and the only way that we can stick two-fingers up at the current birding 'faces'. This is becoming more difficult by the day...

8 comments:

  1. You're getting some mileage out of those bloody Wallcreepers! I'm running out of blockers (as in blockers against my former twitching colleagues, rather than the whole of the UK listing scene). Grey-tailed Tattler, Steller's Eider, Cliff Swallow and Little Bustard remain, but Marmora's Warbler, Oriental Pratincole, Buff-bellied Pipit and Northern Waterthrush are gone. Got some goodies over kiddie-listers through, like Short-toed Eagle. Best county blocker is Crag Martin .....

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    1. You've got some good'uns there Skev. The eagle has blocker potential of the highest order - those kids will not get that back in a hurry.

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  2. Surely the sportsmen are releasing Grey Partridges in your area and so giving your blocker a lifeline?

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    1. The cynic in me thinks that it must have been a released bird. Those that saw it will, of course, call that sour grapes.

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  3. Replies
    1. Oops, yes, thanks Phil - forgot the 'e'

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  4. Tengmalms...two...have I not mentioned these?

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    1. Fancy swapping one of your Tengmalm's for one of my Wallcreepers?

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