Saturday, 31 December 2011 have some big boots to fill! - Happy New Year!

Even though I am yet to complete a full year of ringing, 2011 will always be the year that I started ringing and I started with a bit of a bang. Below are the totals of each of the 71 species I have handled

Species Full Grown Pulli Retrap Total
Shag 1 42 0 43
Manx Shearwater 2 0 0 2
Mute Swan 0 0 17 17
Canada Goose 14 0 7 21
Shelduck 4 0 0 4
Mallard 1 0 0 1
Teal 1 0 0 1
Wigeon 1 0 0 1
Tufted Duck 1 0 0 1
Coot 12 2 2 16
Moorhen 3 0 0 3
Little Egret 0 2 0 2
Kestrel 0 5 0 5
Oystercatcher 54 0 23 77
Lapwing 1 3 0 4
Sanderling 28 0 0 28
Dunlin 48 0 2 50
Redshank 30 0 0 30
Turnstone 12 0 2 14
Curlew 4 0 1 5
Black-headed Gull 16 152 0 168
Common Gull 1 0 0 1
Herring Gull 28 0 0 28
Great Black-backed Gull 1 0 0 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull 15 0 0 15
Puffin 1 0 0 1
Razorbill 10 10 2 22
Guillemot 2 5 0 7
Woodpigeon 1 1 0 2
Stock Dove 0 1 0 1
Collared Dove 0 1 0 1
Barn Owl 0 1 0 1
Tawny Owl 0 1 0 1
Long-eared Owl 1 0 0 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 0 0 1
Swallow 24 9 0 33
Pied Wagtail 9 0 0 9
Robin 3 0 1 4
Dunnock 7 0 5 12
Wren 2 0 0 2
Blackbird 8 4 0 12
Song Thrush 4 0 0 4
Redwing 1 0 0 1
Sedge Warbler 2 0 0 2
Reed Warbler 5 28 1 34
Grasshopper Warbler 2 0 1 3
Common Whitethroat 1 0 0 1
Blackcap 6 0 0 6
Willow Warbler 3 0 2 5
Chiffchaff 11 0 0 11
Goldcrest 1 0 0 1
Long-tailed Tit 8 0 7 15
Blue tit 67 15 24 106
Great Tit 32 30 9 71
Coal Tit 4 0 4 8
Treecreeper 1 0 0 1
Nuthatch 2 6 0 8
Pied Flycatcher 9 28 2 39
Starling 2 0 0 2
Tree Sparrow 2 94 0 96
House Sparrow 6 0 0 6
Chough 0 13 0 13
Chaffinch 18 4 0 22
Greenfinch 7 0 0 7
Goldfinch 15 0 4 19
Siskin 2 0 0 2
Lesser Redpoll 7 0 3 10
Linnet 3 0 0 3
Bullfinch 6 0 3 9
Reed Bunting 5 0 1 6
Yellowhammer 2 0 0 2

Total 578 415 123 1116
Species 62 23 21 71

What an incredible calender year I have had and external ringing highlights have included 21 British lifers including some of the rarest birds I have ever seen inc: Surf Scoter, Golden Pheasant, Sooty Shearwater, Purple Heron, Common Crane, Kentish Plover, American Golden Plover, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Wilson's Snipe, Upland Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs
Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow, Richard's Pipit, Olive-backed Pipit, Citrine Wagtail, White-throated Robin, Desert Wheatear, Rose-coloured Starling, Northern Waterthrush, Scarlet Tanager.

In addition to this, I have been to America for the first time and seen some truly stunning birds.

Happy New Year to everyone and thank you to everyone who made 2011 one of my best years of all time!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Lesser Scaup - Slimbridge WWT

After seeing my photo of the Slimbridge Lesser Scaup on Gillian's blog, I felt that I was wrong to just throw it onto my external hard-drive back-up. I thought I'd share it with my followers!

Kane had to work so Gillian, Ciaran and I spent all day around the reserve seeing the Bewick's, the Whitefronts, the Bitterns and the captive species including the superb Wader Aviary where you can be in the same space as Black-winged Stilt, Avocet and Redshank. This is also the enclosure where the Spoon-billed Sandpipers will be kept in the summer months....a return trip is in order!
A great trip and it was very interesting to see Kane do his Bewick's Swan feed under floodlight which was a first for me!

Happy New Year to my readers!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Last post of 2011? - 28th December 2011

Kane and I spent all morning at Atherton Woods with 3 nets up at 2 feeding stations. A newly erected feeding station towards the centre of the wood really kept Kane busy! We decided that I would go off and do the ringing whilst he extracted as this was better for my totals and he was able to extract much quicker. We finished the session with over 70 birds processed and 25 newly colour-ringed Blue Tits (I liked the combination of White White Mauve, so thought I'd include the photo above!). I also had the privilege of ringing my first Treecreeper that I was really excited about as I've been wanting to handle one of these since 2007 when I saw one in the hand for the first time with Mark Breaks.
Back in Kane's garden Blue Tits: Pink Pink Grey and Orange Yellow Yellow have been joined by Pink Pink Pink and Orange Yellow Red.
A really enjoyable day, albeit cold and slightly fast paced. Thanks to Kane for helping with with my ongoing training and also for letting me stay.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A decent batch of CR-Blue Tits - 22nd Decemeber 2011

above - White, Red, White and White, Red, Dark Blue
I joined Kane and Gillian this morning at Atherton Woods to try and get a decent number of Blue Tits colour-ringed for my 3rd year project. We managed 13 newly colour-ringed Birds, plus 1 retrap (Orange, Red, White) which was ringed as a 2CY female on the nest, back in May.
Above - Orange, Yellow, Yellow in Kane's garden
In addition, I observed Orange, Yellow, Yellow and Pink, Pink, Grey in Kane's garden 1 mile away in Atherton, which was nice!
A really fun day rounded off with a trip to Blackburn Ice Rink where we had our first ever 'Ringer's conference on Ice'! Cheers to Kane for putting me up for the night, and to Kane and Gillian for being patient with me whilst I dealt with the tediousness of colour-ringing tits!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

A smattering of Tits - 18th December 2011

As we approach the Christmas break, everyone is finally back from their far-flung jobs, so Ciaran, Craig, Gillian, Kane, Heather and myself met up at Kane's on Saturday night and went for a Christmas meal, and to celebrate 40 years of the Loganhurst Ringing Group set up by Steve and Tim Christmas.
This morning, us young ringers were up bright and early to do a spot of ringing in Atherton Woods followed by a session at Shakerley. Despite it being very cold indeed, the morning was very slow. I suppose this could have been because the sun was very low and was shining on the net, so the birds could see it? Anyway, we caught 4 Great Tit, 2 Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Blackbird and a Reed Bunting.
This mornings ringing was particularly special for me because I was able to colour-ring the Blue Tit as part of a small project I've set up with Kane for my 3rd year Honours project. It's still getting used to colour-ringing at such a small, fiddly scale, but I rather enjoyed it and think they really do look smart! I can't wait until next breeding season's fieldwork, watching colour-ringed Blue Tits in the field!
A really enjoyable weekend and really good to catch up with Ciaran and Craig and hear about stories from the Farnes and Sweden/Denmark.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

My first 2 ring-recoveries!

I've received my first two recoveries from Kane over the last week or so, and both have been ring recoveries from Black-headed Gull - my favourite ringing species!

I ringed this bird on our 2nd trip to the Killington Black-headed Gull colony back on 20th June this year. On 25th November, Kane and Gillian were ring-reading 90km south of Killington in a Manchester park only 5-10 minutes away from Kane's house when he read a ring that sounded familiar. It turns out that it was on my birds - EY02115! Remarkable!

EX54095 (2A07) - Loch Ryan, Stranraer has now been the location for two of our darvic ringed Black-heads re-sightings. The first was one of the Killington chicks (2A64) but in the last week, 2A07 (above right hand bird) has also been seen. This was one of the first Black-heads I ever hand caught at the services at Killington. The re-sighting was 166km away from the ringing location and 185 days later.

I personally believe the reason Black-headed Gulls are so great to ring is because they are stunning birds, albeit generally overlooked; handcatching is one of the most exciting and enjoyable methods of catching birds, their affinity to duck ponds means that recoveries can be very frequent. There are lots of foreign recoveries also which makes ring-reading very exciting.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Dunlin cure the sense of déjà vu - 10th December 2011

Meeting SCAN wader ringing group at Bangor Town Beach at 05.30 this morning, we set 2 nets in the same spot as 2 weeks ago. The tide was an hour or so earlier, so we were set up well before first light which was an odd feeling. Chris and I were put on twinkling duties and I waited for instructions in the car park overlooking the 'beach' (also acting as 'long stop' preventing dog walkers from walking onto the beach near the net...)
Déjà vu soon set in as there were a decent number of potentially 100 Redshank approaching the net on the rising tide. Probably 3 minutes later and we would have fired, but a Buzzard flew through and flushed everything in site!
Steve and another group were on the other side of the Menai in Beaumaris and at high tide they fired on a very impressive flock of 400 Dunlin! Everyone from our side of the Menai, except for Dave, Kelvin and I, went round to Beaumaris to help with extraction. The three of us who stayed with our nets were left to pack up both nets. With a group of 10 or so people, packing up a net-set isn't too strenuous, but with just 3 of you, I was 'dead' by the end!
Dave and I finally got round to Beaumaris at 12.30 where I contributed 20 Dunlin to the ringing totals. I really didn't think we were going to get round in time so was delighted to handle the small number I did!

So to summarise...Dunlin are amazing!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Desert Wheatear - Titterstone Clee Hill - 30th November 2011

Today was possibly the most unenjoyable and the most enjoyable twitches I've ever been one! It started off by waking up an hour and a half after my alarm was supposed to go off, then followed by a very long and busy train journey to Ludlow, Shropshire. The night before was also very cold and clear, which is never good!
I had several people who were lined up to text me when news of the Desert Wheatear turned up and until I received the text, I literally felt sick with worry! It was horrible and seemed to take forever until I got the text off Sam Viles saying it was still there! (Massive thanks to Sam by the way, as news didn't come onto the 'pager' until after 11!)
I got the taxi from Ludlow and arrived on site at 12.15 where a small selection of birders were braving the cold weather.

Just about showing the clean bar on the tip of the tail.
The bird was very obliging and I have to say that it is probably one of the best birds I have ever seen! It was such a beautiful, photogenic bird and a joy to photograph, even in the harsh conditions.
Desert Wheatear has been very very high up on my must-see list and I can't actually believe I have finally seen one as I have been 'lusting' after this species ever since I watch the 'Gosney in Morocco' video back in 2004!

The best twitch ever and the worst! I'm now on 297...3 to go!!!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Sharpie AND Spotsand - Chew Valley Lake - 28th November 2011

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (left) image 'borrowed' of Mark J. Palmer
Kane was heading down to Slimbridge early this morning (05.00) to head back to work from Atherton, so I decided that I would join him on the journey south. Sharp-tailed Sandpiper has been really high up on my 'must-see' list so I was eager to twitch the stunning juvenile at Chew Valley Lake. After watching the Bewick's Swan feed at Slim, I headed down on my own and arrived onsite meeting 10 other birders who were watching a group of Dunlin on the edge of the mud at Chew. It took a while, bit I picked up a slightly different wader with a shorter bill, a browner head with reasonably distinct eye stripe bordered by pale supercillium and pale cheeks; strongly patterened back (reminiscent of a juvenile Ruff), a general chestnut tone to the whole bird and a faster running style in the shallow muddy water. This was the bird! Fantastic! What a stunning little bird and a joy to watch!
A huge bonus was that on the other side of the 'bridge' that I was watching from, there was a long-staying Spotted Sandpiper that proved to be very elusive indeed, but allowed me to get breif views of my 2nd lifer of the day, and one that has helped to slightly heal the wounds of the summer adult I missed at Brockholes!
A cracking twitch and although it was almost a 6 hour train journey home, was nice to get out on a proper twitch for once...not one of these poncy 20 minute trips onto Anglesey!

Huge thanks to Kane for transporting me around all weekend. You have saved me £60.00 on Taxi fares and Train tickets this weekend!!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Black-head to the rescue! - 25th November 2011

Kane and Gillian came to stay at mine in Bangor for the weekends SCAN session in Bangor. Friday night saw Kane catch a single Black-headed Gull in Bangor Harbour, which was Brucey's first ever gull.
Arriving in Bangor harbour at 06.20 this morning, we met up with the SCAN ringing group with the aim to catch Shelduck in the sheltered bay of Bangor Town Beach. We set two nets and then were ready for the tide to come up at around 10/11am. Birds appeared in front of the net regularly but the tide line was still out of catching range. A Peregrine flew through the bay catching an adult Black-head and flushed everything! By the time the tide had essentially reached the net, no birds returned meaning that we had to call it a day and quickly rescue the net before it became rather damp!
Having to return to Preston, I joined Kane and Gillian in the car home via the beach at Arbergele. Here we read two metal-ringed Black-heads and I was able to get my hands on a lovely adult (photographed above) which was my first hand caught bird since the Killington trips back at the beginning of summer! They really are my favourite birds to catch, especially by hand!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Not so Rosy Starling - 22nd November 2011

Rose-coloured Starling (Phil Coombs)
I spent the morning in Holyhead looking for a Rose-coloured Starling reported by a non-birder that didn't know what it was. Phil Coombs posted the picture onto BirdGuides which caused me to contact him and ask about the bird. Phil was very helpful indeed and I thank him greatly for providing the information he did.

I was joined on site by Ken Croft who lives only a few hundred feet away from the garden. We viewed the gardens leading onto the north end of the playing field off Llanfawr Road. The bird proved to be incredibly elusive and it took at least 2 hours before Ken and I started to lose hope. Ken headed off home, but because I had never seen Rosy starling before, I stuck at it and 15 minutes after Ken had left me, a very pale starling flew into the garden (pictured above) where it was initially seen. It sat in the open for about 2 seconds and then promptly disappeared.

A very nice bird, but I think it would be much nicer to see a more showy adult...

I am now 6 away from 300 on my British List...can I make 300 before I turn 20 on 12th February?

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Parus city - 20th November 2011

69 Birds caught on a morning at Arthur's farm with Steve, Rachel, Brucey and David Jones. We were aiming to catch Chaffinch as there was a rather impressive flock in the area. Sadly, we didn't catch a great number but species caught included: Blackcap, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit and Chaffinch.

This was my first adult Nuthatch in the hand, and they are truly stunning birds. Even more so up close! The undertail coverts and rufous flanks (proving this to be a male) were all stunning. A cracking bird and a real treat.

It's excellent to get out mist netting again as it seems like an age since the last time I was out. It's just a shame that I had forgotten about the joys of extracting/handling/processing Blue Tits.......

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Local birding: dawn til dusk - 19th November 2011

With a trip planned to the Orme with Brucey for saturday morning, we met at Bangor station for 06.00 and by 07.00 we were at Llandudno. Sadly, the Orme was very quiet indeed with very little moving except a very light Meadow Pipit passage and a couple of Lesser Redpoll moving over.
Luckily, Chris Jones saved the day by texting me seeing if I wanted to spend a day on Anglesey 'mopping' up on all the current scarcities. This was just what we needed to make the 05.15 wake-up call worthwhile! We met Chris at Llandudno station and headed off to the island.

Lesser Yellowlegs
First stop was the Alaw Estuary at low tide to look for the long-staying Lesser Yellowlegs. It took a bit of searching, but we picked up the bird and enjoyed decent scope-views. This was a lifer for Brucey.

Red-necked Grebe
Next stop was Llyn Penrhyn at Valley RSPB. Here we quickly picked up the Red-necked Grebe. There has been discussion over the week it has been present expressing the idea that this bird could in fact be of the North American holboelli race which, if confirmed, would be only the 2nd record for Britain! The bird showed a MASSIVE bill which appeared longer than the head and showed a very yellow lower mandible. Dusky cheeks also appeared evident which is another good credential. Lets hope that more can be done to try and prove this individuals identity
Please see the photos and the discussion on We Bird North Wales
Also at this site was a bird that I probably shouldn't mention on here in case someone from DEFRA is reading and finds out... Oops! Too late!
It was also nice to catch up with Alex Jones at this site.
Llyn Coron
This site showed that today really was a day for local birders as here we met up with Steve Culley, Alex Jones among others and observed 12 European White-fronted Geese and a Pink-footed Goose with the Greylag and Canadas. Sadly, the 3 Tundra Bean Geese didn't play ball.
Whilst watching these birds, I picked up a warbler right in front of us that landed in a tree to our right. It was obviously a Chiffchaff ssp but was very very cold grey in colour with a hint of 'tobacco brown' on the mantle. There was the slightest hint of a wing bar and a reasonably prominent supercillium. Steve and I heard a very weak piping call that was reminiscent of a Bullfinch. A VERY good candidate for Siberian (tristis). Steve got some record shots into the sun, that should hopefully help our case...
Photos of the bird available here -

Malltraeth Marsh
Steve Culley and Alex Jones seemed to be very complimentary of the Glossy Ibis that was showing very well at Malltraeth, so we decided to pay here a visit after Coron. We quickly picked up the bird, but it was at the other side of the field rather distantly. After about 10 minutes of watching a very unsettled ibis, the bird flew really close to us and we were able to get fantastic photos and I was really pleased with the photos I got. A nice 1cy bird and my 2nd Anglesey bird!
The day ended at the Cefni estuary watching the marsh on the south side for raptors. We managed to get a Merlin, Sparrowhawk and a superb male Hen Harrier which hunted actively...stunning!

I really enjoyed the day and it just shows what's out there if you put in the time. It was almost like a day on Scilly with everything being really close to each other and a plethora of great birds to see at reasonably close quarters! Massive thanks must go to Chris Jones for inviting us and also doing all the driving. Hope to repeat a similar day soon!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Dawn on the Orme - 12th November 2011

Up at 05.30 this morning, I got the first train to Llandudno where I enjoyed watching the sun rise over the Liverpool bay.

Highlights of the mornings birding were: Richard's Pipit (*), Short-eared Owl being mobbed by corvids, Woodcock flushed from the path on the way up to the pavement, fem/imm Black Redstart on the eastern side of the Limestone Pavement and a very late imm Northern Wheatear that certainly raised my heartrate for a short time!

The Richard's Pipit was a lifer for me and was seen flying reasonably low over the headland heading SW and calling. This is the second time I have heard this species call but this is the first time I have had 'visual contact'. It was reminiscent of a lark with a long tail and a long bill. It is a shame I couldn't view the species on the ground to really appreciate it.

Other sightings: 8 Lesser Redpoll, 4 Skylark, 3 Chough, 2 Siskin, 5 Brambling, Robin, 30 Blackbird (large birds with dark bills suggested continental origin), 4 Redwing, 4 Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush, 50+ Greenfinch, 100+ Chaffinch, 27 Meadow Pipit, 5 Blue Tit, 8 Magpie, 42 Starling

Saturday, 5 November 2011

No time for a break in this hobby! - 5th November 2011

American Golden Plover - Plover Scar, Cockersands (Stuart Piner)

Just a few hours after getting off the plane from New York, I was out in my dad's car heading north towards Cockersands. I heard, whilst in NYC, about a juvenile American Golden Plover present from Plover Scar. I was eager to see it as this is a bird that I should really have seen by now... I thought I had missed the window for 2011 so was really excited to go and see it.
Upon arrival, a group of 5 birders or so were scoping towards the light house. I picked up a group of 9 Knot and 1 very slightly larger wader with a spangled back facing away. This was the bird! Over the next 25 minutes, the bird fed, bathed and flapped its wings. At the distance the bird was, the diagnostic features I could pick up were the large eye, pale silvery wash to the spangled plumage, reasonably broad supercillium, small size and I could just make out the primary tips projecting beyond the tail. All in all, a lovely wader and a nice bird to have finally seen!

So good they named it twice - part 1

October 29th - November 4th
I have only ever been outside of Europe once, on a short family holiday to Morocco back in 2005, so I have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to World Birding. My October reading week at Uni saw me venture across the pond to New York City! I have come away from this 7 day trip with 46 lifers without leaving Manhattan! Over the next two blog posts below, I will try to explain my trip without going on and on about the awesomness that is North American birding and Central Park alone!
Day 1 - Arriving at lunchtime to heavy snowfall, we dumped our bags in the apartment on 53rd and 9th and went for a short 15 minute walk in Central Park producing 6 lifers!
Day 2 - The morning was spent in south Central Park from first light in the sun producing 18 lifers. I ventured as far north at The Lake.
Day 3 - The morning spent alone in the park exploring The Ramble and then getting a taxi to Bryant Park on 42nd street 'twitching' a Yellow-breasted Chat and Lincoln's Sparrow
Day 4 - After two days of pure birding in the park, I went in with my family but still managed some birding
Day 5 - Went on the Staton Island ferry to see the statue of Liberty and then spent the afternoon in Battery Park.
Day 6 - I ventured to the north of Central Park above the reservoir and then walked to the Harlem River by East 91st street looking for a Belted Kingfisher seen the day before...unsuccessfully!
Day 7 - Friday didn't see much birding as we had a flight to catch, but I went to say goodbye to the ever present Yellow-breasted Chat in Bryant Park!
Northern Cardinal - reasonably common in more overgrown areas of Central Park. More obvious in the colder snowy conditions
Hermit Thrush - One of the commonest new birds of the trip with good numbers present in most areas of greenery in Manhattan. Stunning birds and I am so pleased to have had such an educational trip with this species!
Red-tailed Hawk - I don't think you can go to New York and not see this species! It's almost an iconic species of Central Park with at least 3 seen on multiple occasions
Downy Woodpecker - one of the commonest species of Woodpecker seen in most areas of the park reasonably close to denser woodland.
Red-bellied Woodpecker - The commonest woodpecker sp seen with probably 20 seen in the park.
American Robin - not a lifer, but stunning birds and it was nice to see several different plumages and very good numbers in most areas of greenery. Lovely birds.

Ovenbird - one of 4 species of New World Warblers seen on the trip. This was by far the most obliging bird seen in Bryant Park and incredibly, it actually stood on my shoe at one point whilst I was photographing the Yellow-breasted Chat! One of the best moments of my life, I'm not going to lie! I've wanted to see one of these for years!
Chipping Sparrow - One of my biggest target birds of the trip as these are truly delightful little birds, and I think I would probably twitch Shetland if one were to turn up! Several small groups of these were present in the open areas of Central Park.
Golden-crowned Kinglet - Very educational little birds that reminded me of a hybrid between a Goldcrest and a Firecrest (I'd love to see how similar this hybrid would actually be!). A lot of this species were moving through the park in small flocks on occasion with estimated 120 birds seen.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - This species was slightly less common than the Golden-crowned but equally as obliging and educational. Without getting good views of the small crest, it was reminiscent of a juvenile Goldcrest. (I tried my best to get a top quality picture, but they are even more mobile than European crests and a real terror to photograph well!)
Eastern Phoebe - 4 seen on the trip with 2 in Battery Park and 2 in Central Park (one on the west side of Bethesda fountain and one on the north west side of The Great Lawn)
House Finch - 2 pairs seen in Central Park. Females look remarkably similar to Common Rosefinch!
Lincoln's Sparrow - this immature was 'twitched' in Bryant Park and showed on + off on the north side of the Ice rink with the other sparrows. It proved quite elusive however!
Song Sparrow - probably the 3rd commonest sparrow species seen on the trip and one of my favourite! I can only imagine what it must have been like finding the Seaforth bird back in the day!
Blue Jay - a constant chorus of screeching was ever-present in Central Park and these lovely birds were a real joy to watch for the first time, no matter how annoying the screeching became!
Dark-eyed Junco - These are just in for the winter and several large flocks were present in the park. A rather educational bird and another one of those species you look at in the back of your collins and imagine what it would be like seeing one hop up into your bins view...
Fox Sparrow - One of the prettiest sparrows seen but also one of the least common with only 3 seen on the whole trip. All of these were seen in Central Park, one by the Hallett Nature Sanctuary and 2 by the Ramble bird feeders.
Double-crested Cormorant - 2 were seen on the Turtle Pond and as with most birds seen, they were very educational. I wouldn't however, feel capable of claiming one in Britain however!

Part 2 below!