My top 10 Nottinghamshire birdwatching memories
I had to think hard about choosing the following list back in 2003. Sit down and think about it and you'll realise that the task is not as easy as it may seem. This list is not all rarities, purely because there is much more to the hobby, or at least there should be.
1 Wryneck

Attenborough 1994

  Still my most memorable bird, not only for it's Nottinghamshire list addition value, but for the most stunning views through the scope. Virtually all county ticks are lifers for me, making each all the more special when they eventually occur and this remained the last twitchable Wryneck in Nottinghamshire until this year.
2 Long-tailed Skua

Annesley/Bentick Pit-top 1998

  I still find this personally the most stunning individual Nottinghamshire record and it would have been my No 1 choice if I had found it. It was late evening and the sun had just about set. I was at Eakring and had exchanged regular phone calls with my friend Gary Wilson who was on Annesley/Bentinck pit-top. Getting into my car for the trip home, I rang him up, asking if he had had anything in the last hour. His reply that "he thought he had a Skua" was mind-blowing and suspecting Arctic Skua (still a potential county tick) I raced over there in record time. Arriving at around 9:45pm and with very bad, fading light, we could just about note several identifying features.

On return home, we consulted various books and were totally convinced of the identification. Several phone calls were made and at first light a small number of birders went to the site, where the Long-tailed Skua remained. It was a good job it was still there, despite a very fine and clear night, because (to be honest) no records comittee would have believed it otherwise.

3 Waxwings

Sherwood, Nottingham 1996

  Most birders will remember the Cedar Waxwing which accompanied the large Waxwing flock (and hundreds of twitchers) in the middle of Sherwood in 1996. The sight of so many wax jackets and scopes running down Mansfield Road was also both memorable and amusing in itself. Yes the Cedar Waxwing was one of Nottinghamshire's rarest birds, but (to me) the sight of c500 Waxwings was more memorable. Every available berry-laden Rowan were at times straining under the weight of these wonderful migrants.
4 Razorbill

Lound 1992

  Another stunning Nottinghamshire record and one people barely seem to mention. I think it will be a long time before another turns up and be so easily as twitchable as this one was.
5 Red-necked Phalarope

Hoveringham 1992

  My biggest personal find, on a Friday morning in late May on the old fly-ash lagoon at the Hoveringham Railway pit, during torrential rain and with north-easterly winds. It was obvious as soon as I got out of the car, I could see it distantly straight away and remember saying to myself "that's a Phalarope" Sure enough it was and remained for a couple of days, becoming my first twitchable rarity and the last Nottinghamshire record.
6 April 23rd 1994

King's Mill Reservoir

  This was just one of those incredible local patch days, when everything just fell into place. This day is not remembered for any one particular species/bird, but because it still remains one of the most rewarding days spent out in the field. The excitement began the night before, with weather forecasts predicting north-easterlies and rain, from a low-pressure system moving up the east coast. Conditions the next morning were as predicted and then the birds came, among which were Sandwich, Arctic, Black and Common Terns, Little Ringed Plovers, Tree Pipits, and Redstart.
7 Willow Warbler

Warsop April 2000

  My garden list contains some unusual records and this was probably the most unexpected of all. It was a very foggy April morning, prompting a rare morning at home. I could'nt believe it when this male started singing from the Elm tree in the garden. Bearing in mind it's just a small terraced house and garden, then the record is even more remarkable.
8 Spotted Crake

Eakring Flash 2001

  This bird just had to be on this list did'nt it? It's still the most remembered individual from the area to date. When it first returned into view after taking cover from a Moorhen (allowing only the briefest of rear views) and then finally confirming my initial suspicions that it was indeed a Spotted Crake, my joy at finding such a rarity was surprisingly subdued and calm. It went on to create the area's biggest-ever twitch and put Eakring Flash firmly on the birding map.
9 Cuckoo

Gedling Pit-top 1997

  This is probably the most surprising on the list and personally, it was one of those completely magical birding moments from an ordinary species. I was sat on one of several small mounds at the edge of the main lagoon, when suddenly I noticed something land on the adjacent mound to my left. I was quite stunned when looking and finding a juvenile Cuckoo sat there, a matter of feet to my left. It remained for a couple of minutes, before continuing off south-west, but the moment was quite magical.
10 May 15th 1994

King's Mill Reservoir and Lound

  Another of those magical days, when large numbers of birds were on the move. This day it was waders and a wet morning at the Res provided patch ticks in the form of nine Sanderling and a Turnstone, but also records of eight Dunlin, two Arctic and seven Common Tern. A race up to Lound revealed a total of 43 Sanderling, 69 Dunlin, 52 Ringed Plover, nine Ruff, two Turnstone, two Common Sandpipers and a single Whimbrel. It's a long time since that amount of waders have been at one single Nottinghamshire site and it's a record I doubt will ever be repeated.