The past week has seen a frenzy of rare birds arriving into the UK, sending the newcomers to birding into mass hysteria, chasing lifers from the north to the south and east to the west of Britain. In some respects, the rarities have been quite incredible. A suspect Dalmatian Pelican was discovered in Cornwall, (not sure what to make of this bird) a Green Warbler on Unst (gutted), a Great Spotted Cuckoo in Dorset and within the last few days a Lammergeier of all things discovered in Gwent last Thursday and relocated on Dartmoor today. Then normal stuff was turning up – Bluethroat, Red-backed Shrike, Subalpine Warbler and so on and so on.Out of that lot the Lammergeier is one bird I would really like to catch up with but it will be rather difficult unless it settles down somewhere on a carcass or a mass of bones put out to lure it in! Chance will be a fine thing.
So, I had to contend with a singing Thrush Nightingale and a female Red-backed Shrike at Spurn Area on Saturday 14th May, along with Whinchat, a scattering of migrants, Little Tern and 5 Cuckoo. Despite following the on-site instructions for the Thrush Nightingale, of keeping ones distance, I failed to see the bird but it was singing magnificently and the first time I’ve ever heard one. I did see a photo on Social Media and was amazed that someone was able to even get an image of the bird. It really didn’t show it’s presence during the hour and half I was there mid morning, waiting in hope. Despite a whole load of Social Media comments, slagging off photographers again (we are not all bad), I didn’t notice any miss-behaviour.
After Spurn we moved on to Blacktoft Sands RSPB Reserve where I located a passing female Montagu’s Harrier. A Bittern was booming and there were several Marsh Harrier on view. A nice way to finish off the day. Year List is on 195.
Lesser Whitethroat – Sammy’s Point – In the same bush as the singing Thrush Nightingale! – if you look really, really closely, you can just make it out 😀 – Tony Davison©
Red-backed Shrike – female – Triangle, Spurn – A really crap record shot before it was trapped and ringed later in the day – Tony Davison©
Chiffchaff – Blacktoft Sands – Above two images – An obliging bird at last – Tony Davison©
Montagu’s Harrier – female – A bird passing over Blacktoft, East Yorkshire – Tony Davison©
Marsh Harrier – male – quartering the vast reed bed at Blacktoft Sands in the early evening sun – Tony Davison©
Shelduck – drake – Blacktoft Sands, East Yorkshire – Tony Davison©