9 Jun 2006

My first ever Curlew Sandpiper and Phonescoping.

139. Curlew Sandpiper.

There are times when one is doing a year list you think am I going to see any more birds this year. I hadnt seen anything for three weeks and then I saw the Spotted Flycatcher and yesterday I was in the Castle Island Hide on the Quoile after work chatting away to a couple who had come by motor boat from the Isle of Man. They were telling me about the Choughs and some of the seabirds they had seen on the way over. I had left my scope at home and only had my binoculars which are Leica 10 by 25's. However even though I could see waders on the far shore I couldnt clearly identify them apart from the Black Tailed Godwit. Then another couple of guys came in , one of whom was Dennis Weir, who I have subsequently heard is one of the best Northern Ireland Birders He had just come back from a birding trip in Venezuela on which one of his best friends Willie McDowell, another extremely well known NI birder,had died in his sleep.(I think when my time comes that is how I would like to go). Dennis's friend suddenly said I think thats a Curlew Sandpiper on the far shore and Dennis confirmed it. They then generously let myself and the couple from the Isle of Man look through their scope. A lifer for me.I decided to go home and get my scope and try out phonescoping, that is to say using the camera in my mobile phone to take a photo using the telescope as a long lens. As it was well out of reach of my 100-400mm lens . An artform that will have to be improved on as it is not easy.

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