More brief stories of my close encounters with birds.
Treecreeper: I was once doing a Sit-spot in New Jersey USA when I saw a Treecreeper flying towards me, as it approached it was clear it was heading straight for me. To my amazement it landed directly above my head in the tree I was sat against.
Red-headed Tit: While birding in Hong Kong with some of my German friends we came across a family of Red-headed Tits two adults feeding four young. This was the first confirmed breeding record for Hong Kong
Egyptian Goose: I was out one day with another German friend when I came across two Egyptian Geese with young. I later found out that this was the first breeding record for Germany.
Ural Owl: My mate and I did a tour of the eastern block about 12 months after the Berlin wall came down. One night in the Czech Republic we were playing a tape of Tengelmann's Owl in the hope of finding them, when we got a different response. It was an owl responding to our tape, we ventured into the woods to see if we could find it, the wood was so boggy we were forced to climb along fallen trees and with our batteries ruing down on our torches we caught a good view of our first Ural Owl. Later in the British Birds magazine we read that there were only 10 known pairs in the whole of the Czech Republic, talk about a needle in a hay stack.
Whimbrel: I was up in Islay one year when I had the most amazing experience of having a Whimbrel land just two feet away from me and it stayed in this close proximity for around twenty minutes.
Merlin: While collecting records of birds on my local nature reserve my attention was drawn to a commotion going on behind me, as I turned to check it out I saw a Cockatiel fly within a few metres of me screaming at the top of its voice and just six inches from its tail and in very hot pursuit was a Merlin. They disappeared in the woods in front of me and suddenly it fell silent.
Tawny Owl: I was trapping Tawny Owls when on one occasion I closed the net behind this particular owl a little too quickly, as we were recording its details I became aware that I was bleeding. On closer inspection I saw that I had a razor sharp cut along my thumb which was delivered by the Tawny’s talons, I had not even felt it.