Tuesday, May 18, 2010


This is turning into a what-Barry-ate-in-Britain essay, instead of a birding trip log.† Oh well, I guess it must be important to me, if I go on about it so much.† Last night my chicken, cheese, veggies, and bread dinner went down great again.† So much better for me than restaurant fare.† This morning I walked across to the food place and got a Breakfast Bap.† I brought it back here and added a couple of slices of my half-fat cheese to it, and it was ok, although high in fat.† A sausage, some bacon, a fried egg, and a little triangle of hash browns on a soft roll.† At about US $7, it was expensive, but it sufficed.


Today was a pretty slow day.† I didnít expect to find any new species for my list.† I stopped at Leighton Moss reserve and walked to one of the hides.† Not much around, but it was a beautiful morning.† Then I drove south along the coast a little way, through Morecambe.† The tide was out, and the water was farther out than you could see.† I had the tide range wrong yesterday, by the way.† I though the tide table was indicating that the high tide was 9 feet, but it was 9 meters.† Today the difference between low and high tides was about 25 feet.† That is a very big tide, in my experience.† Docks either have to be very high, or the boats sit on the bottom most of the day, while the tide is out.


I wandered on down as far as a town called Heysham and I stopped at a reserve there, near the nuclear plant.† Very disappointing for birds, but I had another nice walk in the sun.† I made my way back north again, and when I got tired of the town traffic, I headed back up toward Leighton Moss.† I had my lunch at a McDís, as the British choices just didnít do it for me.† For one thing, they never have any place to park, and parking is a big deal in a crowded town when you arenít familiar enough with your car that you want to parallel park.


I stopped at the Tesco in Carnforth again and stocked up for dinner, along with another yogurt for breakfast (Iíll have another Breakfast Bap, I guess).† I got more chicken breast and veggies and restocked my cheese supply.† I enjoy eating it, it satisfies me, and I feel much better than if I ate a restaurant meal.† It is a whole lot cheaper, too, and I like that as well.† I can imagine that my supermarket meals arenít very appealing to most of my readers, but I am quite happy with them, considering my options.


After Tesco, I stopped at a hide that is part of the Leighton Moss reserve, called the Eric Morecambe hide.† I had been there yesterday afternoon, and I thought I might get some pictures.† I had no other expectations; I was just sort of passing the time on a sunny afternoon.


Pretty much the same birds were there today as yesterday, and I was looking around, and then all of a sudden, Whoa Nelly!† What are those two big white birds?† Britain doesnít have any big white birds, except for one uncommon species that just passes through, the Spoonbill.† By golly, these were two Spoonbills, feeding away in the lagoon, right out in front of me!† They feed by rapidly sweeping their bills back and forth through the water while walking around.† It was hard to get pictures of their ďspoon billĒ as the spoon part was usually underwater, and they moved rapidly.† Eventually, they came out of the water and rested for a while on an island, tucking their bills under their wings.† Later they flew off, and I even got a mediocre shot of them flying.† OK, maybe it is a poor shot by any kind of professional standards, but I like it, and you can identify the birds.† Spoonbill.† My book says that they are usually seen in the south and east of Britain, and Iím in the northwest.† Go figure.† It also says that over 100 of them were seen in Britain last year.† If there are only 100 that visit each year, I am very pleased to have seen 2 of them.† So, I got a lifer today, and it is bird number 150 on my British list.† Approximately 110 lifers so far on the trip.


I ended up hanging around that hide for a couple of hours, and it was very relaxing and fun.† I got some bird pictures for Photos13.† I came back here at about 4:30, and settled in for the evening.† I want to go through my bird list and spreadsheet and make some lists of target birds for Scotland.† Tomorrow I head north to Scotland, for the second to last phase of the trip.† The final phase is 8 nights in the London area, which wonít have much birding in it.† I have 12 nights in Scotland, to see how many birds I can add to my lists, and to sightsee as well, which is one of the main points of going to Scotland.† I plan to visit places I enjoyed when I was there the first time, about 30 years ago, and new places as well.


Tomorrow my plan is to drive for about 3 or 4 hours (I need to look at my maps and bird guides and see what I might see on the way) to a suburb of Edinburgh.† I have been invited to stay for three nights with a couple I met for the first time about 20 years ago.† We exchanged houses with them in the early 90ís.† They (Alan, Margaret, and their son Gareth) lived in our house and drove our cars for three weeks, while we lived in theirs and had the use of their cars.† It was one of our two ďfamily vacations of a lifetimeĒ, and it was an absolutely outstanding experience.† The other was a house exchange with a family in a London suburb, two years earlier.† Iím assuming that I will be able to use their internet connection to stay connected, but I havenít asked about that, so we will see.† It will be interesting to see them after all these years, and it will be fun to be a houseguest again, I think.


The weather has definitely taken a turn for the better, and that is expected to continue.† It must have gotten up into the mid to high 60ís today, with sun all day.† Even Scotland is having good weather, and they are famous for their rain, like Seattle is.† Weíll see how long it can hold.


So, thatís my story, and Iím sticking to it.† Bird of the day Ė Spoonbill!