Monday, 17 January 2011

Blue Monday

Today is the most depressing day of the year, or so the radio told me this morning. It is because it is the third Monday of the year apparently. Well, if that's true, wouldn't it be better to tell us all towards the end of the day, or even better have it as a good news story tomorrow - Headline: It's official!! All remaining days in year better than yesterday!

Birdwise they might have had a point as all I managed to glimpse in the garden today was a Woodpigeon and a Pheasant. Actually, the latter is a good bird in the garden but thinking about it that's pretty depressing if the avifauna of my garden is so poor that a category C1E species is a highlight...

So how to cheer up? If it is Blue Monday maybe some blue birds are the answer? After all, two species of blue birds were highlights for me in 2010.

The first, the Western Bluebird is the first of the Sialia bluebirds that I have managed to catch up with. This particular male was seen on our first full day in California in April. It is a jaw-dropping combination of vivid blue, orange, white and chestnut. Just one of those birds that is more mouthwatering in the field than in the field guide.
The female may be a little more subdued, but the male is so bright that it could only lift the spirits.
Oh, hang on, that habitat doesn't look very nice - a little off-putting with the barbed wire... And what is that little sign next to the picnic table. Oh, dear me, that's not very nice...
Well, ignore that blue bird, what about the other one. Fast forward to 16 October - I am on Fair Isle and happily photographing Mealy Redpolls in Tommy's garden at the Auld Haa when I get a shout - Red-flanked Bluetail on Ward Hill! Now I'm one of those non-twitching, low-listing birders who is quite happy to stare at a couple of Herring Gulls for a few hours, but the shout of RFB turned me into a raving twitcher ready to mow down any sheep that got in my way. After a red flag lift in the van up to the airport and then a near sprint up the side of Ward Hill to the area, all the birders on the island were assembled for that Fair Isle field craft technique - the mass flush! After some nerve-wracking minutes the bird gave up and sat for the next hour quivering (its tail) next to a rabbit hole. So absolutely amazing scope views of a RFB for a whole hour!

Here's my phonescoped pic. Oh, how come that picture is soooooo bad? Arghh, how depressing, it was there for a whole hour and that was the best I can do. Oh I can't believe I'm so bad at this. That must but the worst Red-flanked Bluetail picture on the whole web...

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