Monday, 25 April 2016

Bird of the month - April

The bird of this month is without doubt the stunning adult female Montagu's Harrier which was here between 17th and 19th.

I am going to keep this polite as directly insulting people never does anyone any favours, even if what is said is correct. Unfortunately one of the other local birders has had a bit of a public rant over the finding of this bird, claiming it primarily as his find. If you've read this then you'll know to what I am referring. Due to the content of this text being both incorrect and degrading to another person, I personally challenged him over it and proved his opinion was wrong with timings of texts etc as factual evidence. I didn't get irate but instead simply visually showed him the evidence and explained where & why he was wrong. You can argue with opinion but you cannot uphold an argument against factual, evidential proof. He now understands the correct course of events as per my original write-up HERE, and the air has been cleared.

Update - unnecessary & sarcastic comments are still appearing on his site despite the matter being settled face-to-face. I won't retaliate as his behaviour is quite frankly below me; the matter is not worth any more of my time.
Also I've been pleasantly surprised by the support from quite a few of you, so many thanks for that!

My account gives all relevant parties the correct level of credit due to them. The only possible area of doubt is that I gave the credit of first sighting as likely to have been that of a visitor ('Brenda Bishop' - thanks for the ID Steve...) who had reported a Hen Harrier. It's possible that this was a separate bird, but it is very unlikely. Such 'politics' shouldn't be necessary, but alas credit should be given where it is due and not taken where it isn't - I am proud to uphold that 'duty' responsibly and I will continue to do so.

Back to the brighter side of birding! April has been excellent so far, producing good numbers of the usual visitors and a couple of predictable but perhaps unexpected ones (aside from the Monty). Firstly a 2-day Red Kite on 17th & 18th was great to see, especially when it had a battle with the Monty. Redstart and Yellow Wagtail numbers have been strong on Seaton Marshes over the last few days, and Whimbrel numbers have now just reached double figures at the highest count. Best bird of last week has to be the Tufted Duck on the Lagoon at Seaton Marshes on 24th (see yesterday's post), found by Peter Mason as per other Tim.

So here is the new blog header! I have a feeling that this may end up being bird of the year, but I hope that that doesn't prove to be the case...

My bottle of wine is now nearly empty so it's time to wrap up this post! Hopefully tomorrow's post will have some more migrants in, but if not then I have a photo (of a common species) to share that I am rather chuffed with...


  1. Actually, Your texts prove me correct as between the timings -16:20 Red Kite & 16:26 harrier wasn't it? - I sent you a text at 16:23 saying Monty's. I never intended to claim this bird until other local birders started telling me "That's your bird as you i.d.-ed it not him." I'm happy for Steve Waite to give it to Mrs. Bishop if he wants to. Just write me a letter of apology and post it in bold red font and let that be an end to the matter.

  2. No your first text to me was 16:25 and my pics were 16:21. And yes my text was 16:24, 16:25 and 16:26 depending which list you were on. I'm guessing Phil said that you called it so it's yours? That comment is fair as you were in the hide together. My initial write-up gave you that credit. I never took that away from you. I wrote that we both had it independently. A gent was in the hide with me when I also ID'd it as Monties. I gave everyone the right credit, including Brenda Bishop, saying she likely had it first but under the wrong ID, then that you and I called it from our respective hides. I have nothing to apologise for, other than if you took offence at me writing a completely accurate account. If that's the case then I'm sorry that you took offence at my correctness. The phone conversation recordings are also in my favour. I will post them here if you'd like me to.