Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll start ticking...

Stewart Sexton alerted me, via his ever readable blog, to this Birdwatch post regarding the new British Ornithological Union species splits. He can celebrate the addition of two 'armchair' ticks whereas I can only put out the bunting (no pun inteneded) for just the one - Siberian Stonechat.

My first was a stunning male that was present on St.Mary's, Isles of Scilly, in October 1979. If memory serves me right, I had just jumped off a boat that had been to St. Agnes (where we had queued to watch a Blyth's Reed Warbler that was, in fact, a Marsh). The second was an immature bird at Spurn, East Yorkshire in October 1985 of which I was a co-finder.

We are currently enjoying an era of 'splitterdom', where adding to your British life list while sitting in an armchair is becoming a regular event. Hooded Crow, Water Pipit, Common Redpoll, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Gull and the like have all been greedily gobbled up by the birding fraternity - and if you are a big lister then you can possibly milk two extra ticks from your Bonelli's and Olivaceous Warblers.

I've got a few possible 'full species' squirreled away, including Balearic Woodchat Shrike that I hope will get the nod, although some birding chums don't reckon on this one being likely.

At this rate I will reach 500 for the UK even if I don't ever go out birding again, but only as long as I live to be 150. Although by then we may have entered the era of 'The Lumper'...

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