Saturday, 27 September 2008

Work hard, play hard!

This follows my last post re: Mega new species.

Since Wednesday am (24/09/08) I have had non-stop action. Well, strictly speaking, I've had an intense last few weeks (mainly through work!). I haven't had a holiday for several months either so it all started with a last minute call from Mark ( about a ringing trip to Buckton nr. Flamborough (East Riding - I am from North Riding by birth & upbringing until I was 11 yrs old. Familiar accents from my childhood were found amongst the birders/locals!).

Thursday morning we joined 200+ other birders searching for their brown shrike 'tick.' See photographs below for the madness that results when somebody spots an extremely rare species that lands on our shores - the brown shrike should be in China! I only got a good view twice for a total of around 10 seconds through Steve's scope. The bird was showing well, but not where we had permission to be so most views were distant. Around £1000 was raised for a local charity after a whip round. A peregrine flew over at one point and there was also a red backed shrike in the vacinity.

The red breasted flycatcher was my first new species. Some of the photographs I took make it look quite ordinary but it is anything but! I did manage to get a few great pictures of this bird. Pied and spotted flycatchers were seen near the ringing site.

We ringed a few meadow pipits and several juvenile reed buntings amongst a variety of other birds. A Long Eared Owl was twice near the nets but still remains high up on my 'to ring' list (see side bar)! A marsh harrier was seen hunting within 100 yards of us. Several Wheatears on the golf course at Flamborough.

An early start on Friday morning and I picked up my second new species. A juvenile male yellowhammer - a striking bird that has been fairly high on my 'to ring' list but I have never had the opportunity before.

Then came the yellow browed warbler - possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity. I had never even seen one before going to Flamborough! I could say the same about the Red Breasted Flycatcher.

A lot of the migrant birds from the day before would have disappeared during the night (clear skies are good for migration) but an influx of new birds made their way in. We noticed more song thrushes and goldcrests than there were the day before.

In the afternoon we went bird watching. The second last bird we saw was a Radde's warbler - a first for me too. Again there were other birders around (some of them had come for the brown shrike and were either still milling around or had missed that opportunity!) but in far smaller numbers!

The very last bird we saw was a barn owl sat on a fence post in the dark.

Above and below: 10's of thousands of pounds of equipment following the brown shrike (above) and risking annihilation on the road (below).

Above: 2 juvenile reed buntings

Above and below: A meadow pipit

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