Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Scarce In The Rain

Not sure what possessed me to head out into the dreadful weather today, perhaps it was the knowledge that I'll be unable to take advantage of any falls tomorrow as I'm working. Or maybe it was the knowledge that, putting the Glossy Ibis, to one side I have had a poor autumn, missing birds by a few minutes, others turning up at the wrong time, it has been a very frustrating time.

I headed out onto the football pitch at Newbiggin then through a couple of ditches and to the Ash Lagoon Banks. the rain was getting heavier and nothing was showing, four Redwing and a Blackbird came shooting out of the gloom and went to ground. I decided to move back to the Mound for a little shelter, halfway back along the muddy path I slipped and tumbled into the muddy reeds. Hurt pride, muddy clothes, I nearly gave up but then thought 'what the hell it can't get any worse.'

A few minutes later after literally stumbling across a small tit flock (four Blue, one Great, one Chaffinch, one Blackcap) I suddenly caught sight of a crest. With Goldcrest at a premium I knew straight away this had as much chance of being a Firecrest as it did Goldcrest. Sure enough after a couple of minutes it revealed itself as my second self found Newbiggin Firecrest this one a male. All the birds seemed to be sticking to the more sheltered north edge of the Mound today out of the SE wind. Poor light, lots of rain doesn't make for good pictures so these aren't the best of a mobile crest.

Firecrest, male, Newbiggin Mound
I pushed on after a while and as the rain had eased a little I headed back out around the golf course, a snipe (sp) flushed up silently but went high and far inland. Moments later a Woodcock lifted from rough grass. Fifty yards further, from another patch of rough, I flushed a bird I believe to have been a Richard's Pipit which called twice with its distinctive slightly metallic House Sparrow 'schreep' and moved up beyond Beacon Point onto the baffle banks. despite searching I was unable to relocate it. Apart from call and an impression of a large pipit I got nothing else, another one that won't get past the records committees.
Gutted I began to pick my way back along the weedy path between the golf course and the beach. Just south of Beacon Point I put up a bunting which dropped onto the bank side. A look over the top revealed a Lapland Bunting. Trying to get close enough for pictures I flushed it and it hopped back onto the path where I was able to get a couple of record shots in the steady rain.

Lapland Bunting, Newbiggin
So finally a little quality this autumn, there is sure to be more found in the next 24 hours particularly if the rain stops and the small stuff becomes a bit more active.


Ipin said...

I'm taking friday off!

The Drunkbirder said...

Better than anything I've ever managed with Firecrest. Nice one, we found two on Scilly on a track none of the herd ever bother with. It always gives me a lift finding a Firecrest.

Newton Stringer said...

Way better than my pathetic firecrest efforts today !

...... and I'd kill for a lap bunt on the patch too !!