Monday, January 17, 2011

24 years ago this week

I was a 14 year old Young Ornithologist Club (YOC) enthusiast. On that day, January 13th 1987 there had been about 6 inches of snow in Sheffield and my mum and dad had just left the house to collect my 7 year old brother from school, at around 3pm. They had gone on foot as the roads had come to a standstill. A few minutes later a casual glance out of the patio window changed my life for ever, there sitting in our 10ft rowan tree was a bird akin to winning the lottery to a teenage birder.

My diary reads - "sat watching song thrush from downstairs window, suddenly saw a bright bird landed in the garden tree, first sight saw a large brown buffed bird, size of starling, prominent feature was it crest and yellow tail band. I quickly ran upstairs and got my bins, bird was still in tree, I focused and identified it as a WAXWING ! It flew off then came back two minutes, my parents saw it and then it was not seen again before dark, WOW!"

My first ever WAXWING ! Even now I can still point out THE very branch it was sat on, a short twisted branch facing skywards at 45 degrees. My dad recalls the incident quite well as he was greeted by me, stood outside in bare feet waving like crazy, he thought there was a serious problem and was faced with a son who could hardly speak and just dragged him to the window and thrust binoculars in his face!

Today I took Blyth to see his first Waxwings, despite the pouring rain they were every bit as special, proving birds can be brilliant life long companions, remember that son !

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