These illustrations were featured in the Mark Dennis book, ‘Twitching Times’. A chronicle of a lifetime’s obsession with birds, and the ‘twitches’ (specific journeys) that were made to see unusual, rare birds in the UK. The e-book, featuring Mark’s personal take on the twitching world, can be purchased from Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.
White phase Gyr Falcon, normally in northern Scandinavia, this one was in a quarry at Berry Head, in Devon in 1986.
Short-billed Dowitcher, now a regular sighting but much rarer when seen at Rosehearty in Scotland in 1999.
Yellow-rumped Warbler, but seen across the Pond on St. Maru’s, Scilly in 1985
Yellow-billed Cuckoo, quite rare here in Nova Scotia and even more so in the Scilly Isles in 1985.
White-billed Diver, an arctic species, seen this time at Flamborough on the east coast of the UK in 1987.
Speaking of Flamborough, two Pallid Swifts, birds of the Mediterranean, were present on the same day (26 October 1999), although not necessarily flying around the Flamborough lighthouse at the same time.
Spotted Nutcracker, from Siberia and northern/eastern Europe, found in Suffolk, England, in 1985.
Pallid Harrier, found in Kent, UK, in 2002, normally breeding in Eastern Europe.
Rosy Starling, imagine those white areas are pink! Breeds In eastern Europe.
Lesser Sand-plover. A central or East Asian species, this one was very lost at Rimac, on the Lincolnshire coast of the UK, in 2002.
Ivory Gull, an immature bird seen at Saltburn, UK, in 1986. Adults of this species are pure white, with short black legs, and are normally to be found in the Arctic.
Lesser-crested Tern, a North African breeder, at Blakeney Point, Norfolk, in 1983.
Canvasback, a North American duck, found at Welney, UK, back in 1997.
Redhead, another North American duck. Mark found the first ever seen in the UK, on a gravel pit lake in Nottinghamshire in March 1996.
Black Kite, in a field at Spurn, on the east coast of England, in 1985.
Ancient Murrelet, a Pacific northwest species. This one returned for three summers to Lundy island, in the Bristol Channel of England. We saw it in 1992, just a few days before it disappeared for ever.
Black Scoter, found off the northeast coast of Scotland (Burghead Bay) in 1993.
American Bittern, somehow found its way into a marsh at Blackpool, Lancashire, in January 1991.
Black-and-white Warbler, at Waxham in Norfolk, back in 1985.
Whiskered Terns, two at Willen Lake in Buckinghamshire in 1994. A Mediterranean species, we had seem hundreds on a summer holiday in southern France and twitched these on the way home from the ferry!
Squacco Heron, another Mediterranean species, this time in Bude, Devon in 1985.
Sora, hard enough to see well in North America, but present in Pagham Harbour, Sussex in 1985.
Great Knot, breeds in NE Siberia, found at Seal Sands, Cleveland, in 1996.
Black-eared Wheatear, from the Mediterranean, found in Portland, Devon in 1985.
Black Stork, mainly Eastern European, but present in Devon in 1985.
Franklin’s Gull, from North America, but present on South Uist in the Western Isles, in 1985.
Another North American bird, Bufflehead. A fine drake was present at Colwick Park, Nottingham, in 1994 (found by Mark).
Double-crested Cormorant, looking for fish at Billingham, Cleveland, in 1989.
Two-barred, Parrot and Common Crossbills in a single tree at Howden reservoir, Derbyshire, in 1983.
Dark-eyed Junco, a common sight here, but not in Portland, Dorset back in 1989.
Black-throated Thrush, a bird of the Siberian taiga, found ornamental cotoneaster berries to it’s liking when it pitched up in Redditch, Worcestershire, in 1996.
Greater Sand-plover, a bird of the Middle East, found itself at Cley, Norfolk in 1992.
Female Harlequin, not the most exiting of the Harlequins, but exciting enough when on a river in Wick, Highlands, in 1991.
Purple Heron, for many years Mark’s bogey bird, or nemesis bird, finally tracked down in Lychett Bay, Dorset, in 1992.