Thursday, 12 May 2016

Patagonia Picnic Table Effect

A major advantage of the fact that good birds keep getting found on the patch is that people come to see them and find more (In the US this is know as the Patagonia Picnic Table Effect, PPTE).


And so to today an, unknown to us, visiting birder scored a beautiful drake Garganey on the West Warwick and kindly put the news out on the London wiki. I had just got home from twitching a Stone Curlew at Rainham, a bird that has occurred five times on the patch in recent years but with which I still have to connect and dutifully started cooking when I saw RBA broadcast news of the Garganey. I mentioned to Mrs. Prof what a lovely evening it was and how suitable it would be to take a postprandial stroll, perhaps on the reservoirs, 'I hear the West Warwick is especially lovely at this time of the year'. She knew what I was up to of course but decided there was merit in the scheme.


It didn't take long to find the fellow, although it was at the extreme Southern bank amongst some Coots. Wind shake and harsh light didn't help my woeful photography skills but I will share.

As I left I flushed a drake Garganey from the reeds halfway up, thinking this was a second bird I checked the southern end only to see a fisherman's  remote-controlled bait dropping machine sailing around, it had flushed the bird up to the middle and I had flushed it, accidentally, to the West side. I left it there but I guess the naval maneuvers proved too much for it as @porthkillier was given a merry dance around both Warwicks before finding it betwixt hide and island on the East Warwick.

Always a pleasure to see on the patch, Garganey seems to be becoming a bit more regular in recent years and may yet turn out to be annual. Spring birds are often one-day jobs but the autumn birds can linger.

I wonder what the Garganey twitchers will find for us tomorrow?

@birdingprof


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