Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Eastern Dippers

Eastern Crowned Warbler eh? Well, I ummed and aahed on Friday night about combining a twitch with a weekend at my sister's on Teesside. It won't be around on the Saturday I thought, the bad weather that's forecast will move it on.

Saturday 24th October, Drayton Bassett, 10:30 - 12:45.

And in any case, let's give this Glossy Ibis at Drayton Bassett a try (whilst continuing to ignore pager messages about South Shields, what!).

At Fisher's Mill pit, in deepest Warwickshire (well, most of it), were the Garganey and two Little Egrets. A scan around Drayton Bassett north pit, in deepest Staffordshire, there were a flock of 35 Golden Plover, and another 40 Goldies that flew south. After a while I noticed two Swans fly in with intent. They turned out to be Whooper Swans.

Well that's not a bad consolation, as there was no sign of the Ibis. Not late morning anyway. The wind was getting up a bit now, although the rain was nowhere near as bad as was forecast. A short drive along the A5 leads to Stubber's Green, so I thought I would give it a try.

At last, finally managed to catch up with Caspian Gull here, a British tick for me. This is the third-winter bird. Some black markings in the tail, along with long legs and a mean looking bill. In fact, a monster of a gull. Well, it was until a couple of Great Black-Backeds flew in.

Right then, one or two arrangements to make, an early night (missed Jon and Edward on X Factor again!), then give South Shields a try in the morning.

Sunday 25th October. Trow Quarry, South Shields, 08:00 - 10:00.

Well, in amongst a car-full with Andy, Mad Malc, Nobby and Vaughan. No mention either way by the time we arrived. And was it there?

Well, err, no. I would usually say never mind at this point, but to be honest it was a real blow. But it had to be done, and we weren't the only ones that dipped.

The Red-Flanked Bluetail at Bempton Cliffs was still around, which was also on the agenda for the day. A short stop-off at Saltholme Pools was done on the way, to look at the drake Blue-Winged Teal. The drive along the Yorkshire coast, Heartbeat country of course (it was never as good after the great Bill Maynard left), eventually led us to Bempton.

I must admit I'm not the best company at twitches that involve a long wait. It's not so much being impatient, I just get bored with standing around looking at nothing. But after at least two hours of waiting, the Red-Flanked Bluetail was eventually found in a small wood opposite the feeding station, and showed fantastically well. Close enough just for binoculars was the order of the day, this was why:

After the disappointment of the morning, to end the day with crippling views of the Red-Flanked Bluetail, a lifer for me. Well, I for one was delighted. Actually, we were all delighted.

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