18 May 2008

The final score

It mostly went to plan, crappy weather and a couple of dubious tactical decisions probably cost us a few species, but in general I think we did alright. Given that it took us 45 minutes to register a single species and we dipped on two of our first three targets (largely due to the weather 'up-county'), I'm amazed we didn't retire somewhere around breakfast time. Luckily things picked up and we clocked 80 by about 08:00 and were over the ton before midday. The afternoon then became a battle of attrition and as dusk loomed fatigue was taking its toll. By the time we decided to end the pointless proceedings one team member had a severe limp, another could only stand for short periods and communication was being carried out in shlurred shingle shyllables. We probably should have bagged Little Owl and Water Rail before surrendering but we just couldn't be arsed.

The Gwent day record, which had stood since 1991 (largely due to the fact that no idiot could be bothered to do a bird race in a largely birdless county) had been 111, so we comfortably surpassed that one. Mind you, what with the appearance of the Newport Wetlands since the last attempt, I think we'd have hung up our bins if we hadn't beaten it. As usual a smorgasboard of species eluded us the worst being: Sparrowhawk, Red-legged Partridge, Water Rail, Snipe, Stock Dove, Little Owl, Kingfisher, Grasshopper Warbler, Willow Tit and Lesser Redpoll. Equally predictable, was the fact we stumbled onto one or two birds we hadn't counted on with Little Stint, Arctic Skua, Mediterranean Gull, 'Commic' Tern (does that count?) and Fulmar the 'highlights'. If we had managed to turn an incredibly dull Little Stint into something a bit more interesting it would have helped but reality intervened (it will be interesting to see if any team claims Temminck's at Goldcliff).

I'm guessing, with today's better weather, the teams finishing tonight might have done rather well; we may yet be able to claim the title of 'the briefest holders of a county day record ever'. Will update when I know more...

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