The unsound approach

Ukraine - August 2010

Starring R.D. Moores, M.R. Owen, Serge, Sergei & Natacha

Landing in Kiev airport is never a good time to lose your favourite hat. We were in Ukraine to look for a particular bird, you may have heard of it. Unfortunately, at this moment in time details have to be kept under wraps, but I hope some of these pics interest you, a bit, maybe?...

Team Crimea search out their quarry.

RnP giving it the big one

Migrant Black Storks baking in the heat

Eastern Hedgehog - aside a few European Hares and pips, these were the only mammals we saw during our nightly escapades into the steppelands searching for Great Jerboas.

Piece of ass - good-sized flocks were noted, and then drooled over....

"Is it cos I'm Fly?" Yes!

"Dem Cranes?" "What cranes?" "Dem Cranes!"

Co-op Paddyfield

This ubiquitous species caused daily bilious attacks amongst several team members

Collared Prats - flocks several hundred strong were noted.

Showing well

During the first few days Lesser Emps were present in plague-like numbers but most quickly departed southwards

This small beach pool was particularly mint, with hordes of class waders plus flocks of Glossies.

"Is it 'cos I'm Fly?" Oh, used that joke already. Up to 10 of these beauts were present daily in the village.

Terek - 1 or 2 recorded most occasionally around the estuary

Syrian - nominated for title of 'crappest bird ever/birds not worth seeing'

Good numbers strewn along several telegraph lines

Purpurea - four flocks totalling 270 birds flew west during a 30 minute period one evening - ridiculous

Viewed from behind a massive turd pile, these were our only GBH Gulls of the trip

One for Tim Mackrill

A couple of pairs nest in the village

Cripes, look at the length of those legs! This was a surprise given that Collin says it doesn't occur within 500 km.

Also surprising - Collin, I'm starting to doubt you!

More migrant action - this Rosy stayed for less than 20 seconds, which was slightly longer than the only Common Rosefinch of the trip

Typical gull - about to die

Juv Montys and Pallid recorded. Now I like Pallids, but I also like Montagu's. But which one is better? There's only one way to find out!

Look at those skills!

2,000-strong feeding flocks were seen on several days

A particularly camp Praying Mantis

Typical habo

Our beach camp was a particular favourite. The nearby club banged out massive tunes til the early hours. Fortunately, we were in the club so weren't kept awake

Despite the numerous warning signs and obvious police presence our driver still thought he'd be ok to drive down the wrong side of the road for a bit - he was wrong...

Rich gets bored waiting for badgirlsblog to load up. Apologies for the singlet...

Towards the end of the period we were joined by Hungarian legend Andras Fodor and his girlfriend. Despite having calf muscles made for Blakeney Point, our respect level was low due to his dislike of clubbing. We hope the rest of you Euro-types aren't like this?

Rich outside the beach club. A particularly funny moment occurred when one especially drunk Russian man attempted some Strictly-style (apparently, I've personally never seen it) dance move which ended up with his wife unconscious after he'd slammed her head into the concrete dance floor.

Mart tracking down some butterfly or other. I probably should have told hime that I'd done a pooh in that exact spot 20 minutes previously...

Mart scanning from our steppe camp

Rich chasing up a Citrine

Beach camp

Although team relationships were generally good, after two weeks cracks were starting to show - left, and right, checking for nests