This is the second (I somehow deleted the first draft?), shameless, effort at a post which is a plagiarism of some original thought by Steve Gale . Birds which make me happy to encounter, no matter how often I've seen them previously. Steve has ruled out rarity, because it can induce adrenaline, without optical delight. The birds that make me "fizz" are likely to be part of my annual cycle, yet not necessarily UK regulars, such is my casual approach to "official" recording areas. I recognize the same man-made/political borders as the birds I look at. Our holidays around the Mediterranean, ensure I am able to get my fix of some fantastic species which, if their UK appearances were a factor, I would struggle to record.
My encounters with this species go right back to the early 1980's and time spent fishing for Zander on the Ten Mile Bank, just outside of Eley, in Cambridgeshire. I even found a nesting pair way back then! The Bryant & May poplar plantation, at Hilgay, was Golden Oriole central for every twitcher at that time. To know that I can expect to see these spectacular birds, during the course of a twelve month cycle, is a great comfort. Doesn't prevent every sighting being a "Wow" moment; they are forever birding royalty.
A species which was a fancy image within the pages of my first "Collins" Field Guide. I saw my first on a family holiday, Tenerife 1978, and have seen them in many other holiday destinations, and even in Kent, since that original sighting. That spectacular crest, striking black and white wings and tail, which can morph into a stunning orange/pink vision just cannot be ignored, however many I see.
A bird that I worked really hard to see when I started out "twitching". I found it difficult to comprehend that it was a woodpecker, it behaving in such a skulking manner. It was Spain that allowed me to see another side to this cryptic plumaged bird. Brazenly feeding along field margins, perching on fence posts and generally showing off. I've been lucky to find a few in Kent over the years, but it remains a holiday bird for me.
If a child painted a picture of a bird using the combination of colours involved in this magnificent species they'd be told to tone it down. The mix of bedazzling colour and enigmatic calls make this bird a must see on every trip around the Mediterranean.
A bird that reduced me to a gibbering wreck when I discovered one flying above North Foreland Golf Course on 29th March 2010. It was a long awaited Kent tick and a very enjoyable experience. Although I have plenty of previous encounters whilst travelling around the holiday destinations of the Med. To see the massed flocks assembling over Corfu town, as dusk falls, is spectacular and involves many thousands of birds. I've watched them hunting over Turkish hillsides, Greek farmland and Kefalonian mountains. Every time Bev and I board an aircraft, these fabulous birds are at the top of my wish list.