So why the Shat Birder?

I got a bit of stick for calling my blog The Shat Birder and contrary to the jibes it is not a description! Shat is actually (believe it or not) the local name for the village in which I have lived all my life, Skelmanthorpe.
Skelmanthorpe is on the outskirts of Huddersfield and in the 1870’s during the construction of the railway line (which is now Kirklees Light Railway), local unskilled labourers were drafted in to chip away at the rock that would later carve out Shelley Tunnel. These local lads were nicknamed stone “Shatterers” by the Irish navvies who had been employed to lay the line. The taunting from these “foreigners” actually ended in a 200 man mass brawl, which saw one of the Irish workers getting part of his ear bitten off! It was this incident that coined the phrase “Shat lug oyl biter” which when translated from broad Yorkshire is basically “Skelmanthorpe Ear Hole Nibbler”. Since then though, nearly 140 years on, Skelmanthorpe is still known as Shat! And all its inhabitants by the abbreviated “Shatters”!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Pectoral Sandpiper

Given that this little beauty was first found nearly two weeks ago it's only now Ive been able to get these photos online! My computer has been to see the doctor, due to a virus? A virus from one of my subscription sites, so tomorrow morning the support staff at Birdguides and Big Black Naturals will be getting a piece of my mind.

In the past I have mocked phrases such as 'showing well but distant' so when I read that a Pectoral Sandpiper was 'showing well' on the main lake at Pugneys my first thought was 'how could this be'? A bird with any sense whatsoever stays well clear of the main lake at Pugneys as it's like Walthamstow dog track. Fair enough the birds that can swim out of the way do so, but anything feeding on the fringes surely can't stay for long? And surely can't be showing well? It will be a bag of nerves! The dogs will have scared it off long before I get there?

Showing well was an understatement! I honestly couldn't believe how confiding this bird was. It was feeding obliviously, at times 3 or 4 metres away. It was actually one of the best hours birding I can remember. Not only that, the weather was superb.

Given how it seemed to prefer the company of humans and it's reluctance to fly, I am not against the idea that due to the physicality's of being blown of it's migration course, it kept humans at an arms length to avoid predators while it recharged it's battery?

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