Thursday, June 26, 2008


Blue-cheeked Bee-eater - 19 years of pain.

Instead of watching Germany slip undeservedly into the final of Euro 2008 I should have been at Broom GP and scoring Beds first county record of Roseate Tern with the masses. Its not that I didn't get the call - I had plenty of them but any number more would have made no difference.. the mobile was in the car. Why was it in the car? because earlier I had been playing rounders - yes female cricket and I had left my phone in the car. Gutted by the umpires inability to correctly ad up the scores - meaning we lost, I had come straight into the house and left my lifeline to the outside world in the car.

So everyone in Bedfordshire enjoyed Martin's Roseate Tern...... I suffered the match and went to bed - unaware it was going to still be present at dawn the next day. Short of someone knocking on my door it was destined to be missed.

OK, it's not the end of the world but Roseate Tern on my local patch consorting with my colour-ringed Common Terns... it hurts !

I have suffered this pain before, several times, but worst of all goes back in time to July 11th 1989, a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater was at Cowden - a little coastal village in East Yorkshire. I begged and pleaded with family for a lift to see this absolute mega but no joy. So on the birds third day I got up at 3am - got a bus to Sheffield Train Station, caught a train to Hull and then biked the 39 miles. I arrived at 11am to find out the bird had gone high south an hour before. I sat around for a few hours and then biked home. I was well and truly gutted - there hasn't been a sniff of a mainland record since and I doubt it will happen in Yorkshire again.

I caught and ringed a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater in Eilat on my birthday in 2002 but was it the same - NO ! equally, has it lessened the pain - NO !

Terns used to be my favourite bird family......

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