The Spaniard and the Yankee

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday 15 January 2012 19:35

At shortly after 9.00 am this morning I found myself looking OUT of a stranger's house, bare foot and surrounded by even more strangers in matching waterproofs. What was I doing you may ask? Well, I headed to the New Forest today with Oli and my new house mate Simon on a double twitch in search of a Spanish Sparrow and a Dark-eyed Junco
Firstly to Calshot, a tiny little place where a Spanish Sparrow (species 3740) has taken up residence in, get this, a birder's garden! So, a bucket out of the front door for donations was filling up pretty quickly as the bird was well embedded in a trellised hedge and could only be seen from within the house. It all felt a little too easy and was perhaps the most strange birdwatching baptism that anyone could have. Assuring Simon that that was pretty odd, even for a twitch, we headed into the forest for the junco...
...Crossbills featured heavily throughout the day and were singing readily as I opened the car door. We walked the very short distance to where the junco had been hanging out only to see a stump metres from the path where it had been showing, you guessed it, minutes before we got there. A cold hour went by when we saw nothing but Chaffinches, Reed Buntings and Crossbills. Then I spotted the little bugger lurking in a fallen pine tree. It was just right of the knot in the lower branch in the crown and then it flew into cover. A few minutes later, it flew into a tree right in front of us. Here is the photo but it is pretty awful as ever. Nice bird though, great to hear it call too. My 340th bird and my 3741st species. I fell over, dropped my scope, landed on my cameras and looked like a right plonker in front of loads of birders. I rock.

But that's not it! I wasn't wasting anytime in the forest and we went for a walk. I spotted this amazing bryophyte growing on the sides of a ditch. I wasn't sure at first if it was a liverwort but I had a hunch I new what it was and it paid off. It's the rather smart looking moss Hookeria lucens and my third and final tick of the day leaving me on 3742 species. Also, I just listened to episode four of our podcast and Mat has done an amazing job, watch this space.

3 Response to "The Spaniard and the Yankee"

Anonymous Says:

Great pics but can't see the sparrow!

Graeme Lyons Says:

There is a very vertical red stem just right of centre. Look behind the top of this red stem and you will see the bird.

Janneke Says:

Lol, I wouldn't have found that Spaniard without directions...

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