Thursday, 8 November 2007

Welcome Back .. !

To me that is .. A full report on the GOA's venture to the Isles of Scilly will appear very soon .. !

Monday, 8 October 2007

GOA Shetland tour 28.9 - 1.10.

The first GOA pilgrimage took place on the above dates with varied amounts of success. Our journey was a pain free one that had us journeying from Manchester to Sumburgh via Aberdeen using planes supplied by BA and BMI for a small charge. Once on shetland we picked up our 'wheels' for the next 4 days and made our way to our lodgings, a fantastic 3 bedroomed detached house by the sea. Once de-bagged we set off in search of birds, as it is with shetland birds are everywhere but had insider info of the rare Sardinian Warbler near a house and a hotel. Whilst searching for the rare warbler we met some photographers and some twitcher types who we kept a carefull eye on. With limited views gained we got news of the very rare Swainson's Thrush which had been seen on an island near another house, so with the welfare of the bird in our minds we set off to search for the thrush, whilst on the ferry we saw the 'toy like' little auk just bobbing around in the water . The GOA were on sentry duty as twitcher after twitcher were spotted speeding towards the thrush but on arrival it had not been seen. GOA member 'The Apprentice' managed to find the thrush hopping along the ground feeding a mad scramble started but was soon under GOA control. We watched the thrush for about 40 minutes then it flew off. Whilst on the boat back we got wind of the even rarer Siberian Thrush on another island but this time not near a house. So the next morning we set off not in our car but on a boat with a mad skipper who wanted to get everybody drunk, so rare was this bird there were twitchers from france on-board but the news was not pleasing to all as the thrush had flown away so we all went back. Back on the mainland and looking for a bird near a stream GOA member Radar thought a wash was in order and disappeared into the stream only to emerge wet and phone-less. The next day was spent exploring the GOA true spiritual home Unst, it was an emotional day but this was overcome with a good days general ornithology with many unusual species seen (Radar has a full and detailed species list). The next day we stayed local to our base as this was the day of our departure, an uneventful half day was had but still enjoyable then we said our goodbyes and headed off home.
A great reunion and see you next year.

GOARC Press Announcement.

The full report of the Scops-eared Long Owl on Tresco has been submitted and i am pleased to relay the finders details of this world first to you.
Unfortunately we have no current images to upload but we will hopefully be forwarded some in due-course.
The SeLO showed well in a tree for quite a while, the finders commented on how close they where to the bird that they could have 'stroked it'. Its plumage was sort of a brown colour but was definately not the colour of a LeO but maybe not as cryptic as Scop's. Its size was questioned but it was definately to small for LeO but it was a little obscurred by a twig or branch, it did a tail projection of about 4 inches that was below the twig or branch. Eye colour was also questioned and even tho the eyes were kind of open the colour could not be clarified, Frantic searches were made using the available birding literature and the only possible match was Screech Owl, but obviously this was instantly dismissed and put out on the birding super highway information channels as possible/probable Scop's Owl showing well. But the GOA are pleased to announce that with all the information gathered Scop's-eared Long Owl has been included onto the GOA species list.
Mr.Stern Rig & Mr.Watts were the finders and observers.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

GOA logo winner !

Congratulations to Radar for his winning entry. With a little manipulation the logo has been completed and with any luck will be added to mechandise.
Watch this space.

Scops-eared Long Owl - Tresco

News reaches the GOA that a first for the world has been found on the Isles of Scilly.
A Scops-eared Long Owl ( Scops asio otus) of unknown origin was found by keen and observant G.O's on the isle of Tresco and showed well to passers by & dogs alike. A full and detailed account will hopefully be submitted to the GOARS and if all is well then the GOARC will include it on the GOABB list.

The GOA on tour 2007 - Shetland

Well the time is nearly upon us when the GOA embark on its pilgrimage to britains most northerly isles. The intrepid quartet (YoYo,LeDonis,The Apprentice & Radar) will be hoping for some real General Ornithology and with the prospect of a bird or 2 and maybe the odd rarer one.
With news that the islands are going to be swarming with twitchers the GOA will be present to make sure the welfare of the birds comes first.

Monday, 17 September 2007

GOA 'members only offer'.

The GOA are pleased to announce the next generation in General Ornithilogical Optics, The Hubble Birding Telescope. This innovation in birding technology allows even the most inexperianced G.O. to bird from great distances with no loss of image quality. With this state-of-the-art telescope troublesome bird identification will be a thing of the past. And with image stabiliser and inward lighting it makes it easy to use in high winds or in the dark. Be the envy of all G.O's and the laughing stock amongst twitchers with this once on a lifetime offer. Although slightly used it is in perfect working condition and can be yours P.O.A. All interested parties should visit

Radar tours Sweden !

The GOA are in possesion of some very disturbing news. It has come to light that GOA member Radar is to depart the UK for Sweden in the morning. We at the GOA are led to believe this visit is not for work purposes (as he told us) but an attempt to reform and join the swedish supergroup ABBA. If this news is true we shall be deeply disturbed and will only reinforce his desire to still live in the 70's

Eye Candy discovers Pecs on comeback tour.

This has nothing to do with the discovery of his nipple ringh during a body oiling session before meetinghis adoring largely female (or should that be large female) audience on his recent tour. It does however relate to his experiances with his own personal Venus. Contrary to rumour he was not examining Venus's pecs (she would have clattered him with her tennis racket). The Venus in question is a pool and the Pec a bird (not a muscle).
The honarary member of the GOA had discovered his own Pectoral Sandpiper and will now have to submit his record to the GOARC who will examine its mitochondrial DNA from photographs to determine its authenticity.

GOA member.

One of the original founder members of ther GOA, MP has many guises and alias's such as, Rick (above), Harry P and Adrian M to name but a few but with his be-spectacled look is easily recognisable in the field. Although he may look approacable be warned looks are very deceiving, in the field this GOA member can be very unhelpful and at times down right devious. His main attributes are his ability to upset the dead with his wicked tongue and manner and is an enemy of any twitcher.
You have been warned.

GOA Rarities Secretary (GOARS) request for information.

Dear Members after the recent sightings of Red-billed Herring Gull (Larus Chernobylus) at Hinkley Point, Somerset and an unknown location in Glamorganshire we are asking members to submit descriptions so the GOARC can substantiate these claims. The bird is believed to show characteristics similar to the picture above.
Please forward your descriptions to the GOARS.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

GOA rarities commitee (GOARC) Press Announcement

With reference to the recent sightings of Yorkshire Swift (Apus Yorkshirus) in York, Chinatown Warbler (Acrocephalus Blackbeanus) in Greater Manchester and Bishops Rosefinch (Carpodacus Bashinus) in Hale, Cheshire. These species have now been accepted onto the GOA British Garden list by the rarities commitee. In light of this the GOA Garden list now stands at 642 species. Can all GOA members please amend your life/year list totals.

Please note scientific factual incidence using the very latest up-to-date DNA testing of feathers was undertaken and has thus proven beyond reasonable doubt that these species are new to science hence there appearance within the GOA's listing criteria.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Duck watching with the GOA.

To the G.O. the sound of a 'quack' from a duck is music to ones ears. So when news reached the GOA that a lost duck from the USA had taken up residence in cleveland (why, god only knows) we decided to make the perilous journey across yorkshire. This was a valuable excerise in duck accents, 'did it quack in a yank accent ?' this was what we went to find out. On arrival my good self, LeDonis and Bluebirder made the exhaustive trek over an embankment to view the pool the duck was residing on. With news from some G.O's that the duck may have flown back to the USA we were a little down hearted but decided a thorough GOA scan was in order to be sure. About an hour had passed and it seemed the G.O's were right there was no sign. But wait had Bluebirder seen the yank duck ? by the time my good self and LeDonis got to Bluebirder there was no sign. In vain we searched listening for the faintest hint of an accent but all we could hear were planes, cars, motorbikes and a fat woman with three children and a dog but no quacking. Using my Telescope i happened to see a duck that looked kind of good, so in true GOA style i stood looking at it for 3 hours waiting for it to quack but all it did was sleep, which in hindsight was a good idea having flown from america. G.O's came and went in the time some with fieldguides some with old fashioned telescopes but none with any clue if this could be the duck. LeDonis was becoming increasingly irratable (i think it was his bowels) so decided to go for some 'private time' around the pool, during his 'private time' the duck decided it was a good time to stand up and show of a fine pair of yellow legs and thus providing the GOA with the unfortunately necessary identification features of the duck. Unfortunate because maybe just a yank quack would have confirmed its identification a lot earlier. A brown duck, grey bill, eye ring, dark eye stripe, blue wing bar and yellow legs but no quack. Oh well theres always next time ?

GOA Honanary member #3

Sir Patrick Moore was born on 4 March 1923 in what was then the little Middlesex village of Pinner. At the age of six months he and his parents moved to Sussex where he has lived ever since - not counting the war years when he was a ringer for the YOC and a brief time in Ireland in the 60’s where he couldn’t list (GOA rules).Between the ages of six and sixteen Patrick was ill, on and off, and this fortunately prevented him from twitching and so he became a general ornithologist, working his local patch. Patrick has written over 60 books mainly on astronomy, but has penned some books on night time bird migration and owls. But it is his dedication to sea-watching that earns him a place as our 3rd honorary member of GOA. Patrick’s favourite bird – the clown of the seas – aka the Puffin.
Sir Patrick in death we salute you.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Out of bounds - A REMINDER

With all the expected 'rares' turning up in Ireland please can i remind all GOA members this area is out of bounds. Please do not be tempted to cross the water if you are in any doubt please refer to the GOA Operations Map.

GOA honanary member #2

The GOA are pleased to announce that 'Eye candy for the ladies' AKA the lowlister himself has been granted honanary membership of the GOA. Mr. Eye Candy (jill to the GOA) is the most well known of all low listers, in listing totals he is someone we should all aim to emulate one day for his dedication to the general studies of birdlife and should be awarded the highly coverted GOAbe from the queenfor his services to general ornithology. Chavtastic !

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

GOA Honanary member #1

The GOA are pleased to announce Mr.W.E.Oddie (bill to us at the GOA) has been granted honanary membership of the GOA. Mr.Oddie (bill) is probably the most well known General Ornithologist on the planet and is nothing short of an iconic figure to any G.O. He even has the ability to not only find rare birds in far flung places but then 'grips off' real life twitchers with his sightings. A truely remarkable general ornithologist. Mr.W.E.Oddie (bill) the GOA salute you.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Beware ! The St.Helens stringer.

The GOA have been informed on good authority of the abuse of the GOA's good name !
Investigations have led us to believe that a certain know person from the St.Helens area has been purposely releasing bogus information relating to RARE BIRDS seen in the St.Helens area most recent being White throated needletail and are led to believe the good name of the GOA has been mentioned when quizzed on his activities.
The GOA are and have never been associated with this certain known person and further more the GOA would never carry out such an act especially not in merseyside.

GOA member.

One of the GOA's founder members, Radar's main attributes are the ability to stay calm in the most hostile situations even when confronted by twitchers, he is a mass of information and can answer absolutely any question, he will talk to anybody and share his vast knowledge on everything, he has lived in every city, town and village in england and is not even 50. He is trained in all martial arts and can do origami with a bus ticket !

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Keeping fit the GOA way #1 - The Tramp.

The mere thought keeping fit turns a G.O's stomach but we at the GOA realise that fitness is an essential part of staying alive, and so we have embarked on putting together a fitness program that will help every G.O. stay alive a little bit longer so you can enjoy more General Orinithological activities.
The first in the series Keeping fit the GOA way is : The Tramp.
This has nothing to do with the man who lives in your shed nor the brother you dare not speak to !
This is the steady and not very progresive excercise of 'tramping'(walking) for 8 miles in not particulary nice conditions over pebbles 1' deep. This excercise was undertaken under GOA control by myself, Bluebirder, DP, and GOA guest Wellsorearse. The location was Blakeney Point, Norfolk (the GOA's second spiritual home).
Above you can see the starting point this also makes up the finnishing point, the small picture in the top left corner is the course. On route you have much sueada to tramp through and the delightfully named 'halfway house' which is halfway ! Then off again for the next half and towards the point and 'The plantation' where we were luckily enough to get brief views of the very elusive and rather shy Greenish warbler plus a supporting cast of other birds. On our way back in the wind and grey it rained much to our delight as this cooled down our now fit pumped up bodies back halfway again at the 'halfway house' we just so happened to see a Barred warbler, and no it is not an illegal immigrant nor a shakespearian but just a barred warbler. Now the last half is 'a bugger' it hurt, you feel like you are sinking in the pebbles and the last mile is 'oh my god', but when you eventually reach the finnish oh my are'nt you glad you did it.
Break through the pain you know it makes sense.
Keep fit the GOA way.

Monday, 20 August 2007

GOA Seawatch 2007 - The Team

In between the 'GOA seawatch 2007' at porthgwarra and looking at the 'gull that never showed in a field' at seaton, the GOA managed to pop into HMV for a group photo, the irony of this is that you cannot see the colour of LeDonis's trousers purposely made for the G.O. in the field.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Piccione Italiano.

Every once in a while the GOA need to embark on missions overseas and our trip to rome was no exception. We invited ourselves on an all expenses paid long weekend to rome via munich and via frankfurt on our return journey. The reason for this trip was not the amazing ruins of ancient rome, nor the remarkable history of this once ruling empire, nor the 90 degree temperatures, nor the fantastic fine cuisine, wine and beer not even for a break NO, it was to see the very friendly and tame 'piccione italiano' (italian pigeon). They walk around with the swagger of an avian gladiator ignoring the feet of passing tourists, every now and again letting them know how they feel with a swift 'merda sulla testa' (poop on the head). Whilst in rome i met with 'gruppo colobofilo' (group colombofilo) who practically worship pigeons, G.O's at there finest would you not agree. The GOA also managed to secure its first overseas affiliate. If you have a spare day or two in your callender i would recomend any G.O. visit the wonderful city of rome and view the the thousands of pigeons this city has to offer. Truely splendido.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Another seagull !

Following on from a previous entry (GOA Seawatch 2007) we decided to stop off in Seaton, Devon for the never before known but now world famous chips & curry sauce. Coincidently whilst on our way to the chip shop we got wind of another seagull not showing in a field from a hide, a fantastic place for any G.O. to spend the afternoon. We arrived at the hide where the seagull was not showing from to be met with what i can only describe to you as pardon the phrase 'carrot crunching twitchers'. We eventually managed to set up some optics for the GOA to look for the seagull and were pointed in the general area the seagull was not showing from. As more and more twitchers arrived the atmosphere in the hide was becoming tense, suddenly the seagull decided to stretch its wings and was in full view (somewhere) as it flew away with about 100 other seagulls. What a fantastic spectacle 101 seagulls flying. Time for chips & curry sauce and some General Ornithology, for 3 hours we studied seagulls in fields, on water, at the seaside and some flying ones, a great way to spend any afternoon. With news of people from 'all over' coming to seaton we decided to leave and head home. Whilst driving home i recieved a call from Junior GOA member Mr Double Penetration (DP for short) to say he had found the seagull not showing in a field but 'showing' on a roof opposite the now world famous chip shop, he even managed a photo mr.bailey would be proud of. And in true style the seagull flew away again before the twitchers could see it. A fantastic result you must agree.

GOA official logo contender #4

With the sheer quality of official logo contenders we are recieving here at GOA central we are considering showing them at next years bird fair. Thanks to Mr.Pod for this entry i am sure the late Dr Eric Ennion would have wondered why he could never capture the finer details as seen here.

Monday, 13 August 2007

GOA Seawatch 2007

If astral predictions are correct there will be a large fall of G.O's around porthgwarra tomorrow for the new but annual GOA seawatch.
G.O's from all around will gather, some i hope in full costume (above) and take part in what much surely be one of the greatest spectacles within 5 miles.
GOA Seawatch 2007
With high winds and driving rain we can expect such delights as Sea-gulls, Gannets, Manx Shearwaters and if luck is on our side a Yelkouan Shearwater or two.
If that has'nt whetted you appitite then you are abviously a twitcher.
See you there and dont forget you anorak.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

GOA official logo contender #3

Kindly donated by Mr.P Woolen (budding artist & honourary GOA member).
Not only has he captured the fantastic features of the bird but has also somehow unbeleivably incorporated the symbolic 'To the G.O. money is nothing' hidden GOA moto.
An absolutely fantastic addition to list of contenders for the official GOA logo.

Advanced GOA field notes.

Above you will notice the bird has not yet been identified.
This is not uncommon to the G.O. in the field.
That is why advanced field notes (as shown above) are so critical in helping the GOA correctly identify species.
Once identity has been established (maybe even a world first) then the G.O. will be accredited with the sighting.

Remember : A good G.O. never forgets there pen & paper.

GOA official logo contender #2

The pragmatic Seagull joins the race to be the official GOA logo.

Good news and a great result .

We got to the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper in great time and were heartened to find the bird was in no way distressed by the masses of 'gorping' TWITCHERS, we were pleased also to see so many G.O.'s on site prior to our arrival.
News this morning was also welcomed as the bird had obviously realised its navigational mistake and flown back to Siberia to be with its family.
A great GOA result.

Friday, 10 August 2007

GOA tip #2 - Sorting the confusion species

The General Ornithologists Association (GOA) would like to make it clear to all that the GOA are in no way now or ever been affiliated to any other abbreviated organisations.
The GOA should not be confused with units such as :
(the other) AA

There is only one GOA.
Accept no immitations.

Sharp Tailed Sandpiper - Kent

Having been informed of the presence of the above lost bird i feel for its welfare & safety.
I have therefore put into action a protection plan to secure the safety of the bird from the HOARDS of twitchers that shall be attending the 'not so secret' site in kent tomorrow.
My plan is to be on-site early am with other members of the GOA and stage a sit in protest until we are happy with the birds welfare and safety.Once all members of the GOA are satisfied that the twitchers pose no threat we will then 'set about' checking the situation regarding photographers on site as they can, as in many cases be just as bad if not worse than twitchers.

Note : All GOA be alert & vigilant

The General Ornithologists Top 11

1. A Twitcher, a poor fellow, who chases around the country looking at Rare Birds, instead of observing the common species and their feeding and reproductive habits in the confounds of your own back garden or local area of common land.
2. A Pager, a tool for the twitcher that bleeps and destroys the piece and quiet in the countryside.
3. A Robin, something we stroke.
4. Bird Table - a G.O.’s most valued possession often gets restocked at least 10 times a day.
5. RSPB Reserve, eg Titchwell or Minsmere, a place were we often flock to in thousands, looking at our guidebooks while tucking into a pink cupcake at the Cafe.
6. Latest Top Optics, A must for any G.O.’s, we wouldn't be a member without them or seen dead with substandard optics.
7. Wax jacket – a Key element of our identity.
8. Fieldcraft – something we lack eg - fingers pointing out of the hide.
9. Lateral vision – never looking up, Ospreys often fly over our heads.
10. Top class hotel – a must for a G.O.’s while visiting RSPB Titchwell or Minsmere.
11. Coach trips with the local RSPB groups, a tri annual event were all the local G.O.’s have a get together and a jolly old hoo haa.

You can't beat a good GOA.

The GOA operations map.

All members of the GOA may enjoy Ornithological activities worldwide BUT the GOA can only offer much needed help and assistance if it is within areas marked out in the detailed operations map above.
If you find yourself in trouble or need help outside this area then the sensible course of action would be to contact the nearest police station for immediate help.
If that fails there is surely an answer other than suicide this is only to be used as an absolute last resort.

BEWARE : The Killer Twitcher.

As the above archived photo shows the Twitcher will do just about anything in his/her power to stop the General Ornithologist enjoying a truely magical Ornithological experiance.
Please note : Should such an experiance occur on the wonderfull Isle this autumn i fear for the general safety of Twitchers such is the feeling of utter digust from the growing numbers of General Ornithologists to this kind of activity.
Twitchers you have been warned.

GOA official logo contender #1

The humble Bearded Reedling (tit) has become a genuine contender for the GOA's official logo.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

GOA field notes ..

Field notes are essential to the General Ornithologist.
Notice the in depth description of this species making identification easier.
Without such detailed field notes this could have been mistakenly identified.
(Hopefully if i find my crayons it will be published in full technicolour.)

GOA tip #1

As you can see the General Ornithologist looks in all directions,
NOT just at the tree with one bird in it.

The GOA on tour !

The GOA will be touring sites throughout the UK in the up and coming months.

GOA official tour dates :

Shetland : 28.9 - 1.10 (ja,mc,pw,ao)
Scillys : 10.10 - 13.10 (ja,mc,pw,ao,mp,mp,ms + special guests)

Other dates may be added so watch this space.


The GOA moto ..

"We are not Twitchers we are General Ornithologists"

The official moto of the General Ornithologists Association.

What General Ornithology means ...

As the General Ornithologist will know ignorance is bliss.
Just being out in the field makes you a General Ornithologist.

Two examples of General Ornithology in the field:

"Is there anything about ?" asked the twitcher.
"Yes there are thousands of guillemots over there" replied the General Ornithologist.
With this reply the twicher looks completely bemussed !

"Have you seen the Little Crake ?" asked the twitcher
"Sorry, we are not Twitchers we are General Ornithologists" replied the General Ornithologists.
With this reply the twitcher looks suicidal !

General Ornithologists are revered by the twitching fraternity.
Watch Them !

Welcome to the GOA

Hello and welcome to the GOA.
All comments writen in this blog are the opinions of General Ornithologists NOT TWITCHERS !
If you are in any way offended by comments made by the non-twitching kind of birder then please leave immediately.
Otherwise enjoy !