Saturday, October 06, 2007

Brown Flycatcher - Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire - 4th Oct 2007

Above: Brown Flycatcher - Old Fall Plantation, Flamborough Head - 4th Oct 2007.
The discovery of a Brown Flycatcher at Flamborough Head broke mid-afternoon on the 3rd whilst I was attempting to photograph the Burnley Yellow browed Warbler. That evening John Wright and I arranged to travel over with Tim & Janet Davie who had kindly offered a lift.
Departing Blackburn at 06:15 there was a nervous wait for pager news on the continued presence of the bird. Overnight weather conditions had been perfect for migrants moving on and to be honest we were fearing the worst. It was not until almost 07:45 whilst we were negotiating the York rush hour traffic that the news we had been waiting for was heralded by a chorus of pager bleeps. The Flycatcher was still present! Instantly, the mood of the car changed and it was full steam ahead to the Old Fall Plantation.
Above: A section of the Flycatcher twitch.
The Flycatcher was showing upon arrival at the assembled crowd, but in the first hour which involved the bird showing on+off all I could manage was binocular views of a small Flycatcher but I had not yet seen any plumage features.
Eventually, the bird was located in a leafy glade and in better light. Thankfully I obtained some excellent scope views in this area of the Old Fall Plantation followed by several more over the course of two hours. A really excellent bird, full of character.
Three flocks of 20+ Redwings and a Golden Plover flew over the area whilst we were there.

Left-Right: With the Brown Flycatcher in the bag, Myself, John Wright & Tim Davie strike a relaxed pose at the Old Fall Plantation whilst others panic in the background - 4th Oct 2007.

A big twitch usually results in seeing a few faces from down the years and today was no exception. Almost as rare as the Flycatcher was a sighting of Dave Jackson. Dave is the birder who introduced John Wright and I to the wider world of birding outside of Blackburn in the mid-eighties resulting in my first visit to Spurn in May 1985 and to the Scillies with him in October of the same year. In 1987 Dave relocated to the midlands and weve hardly seen him since, but we remain grateful to him for the enthusiasm and encouragement he gave to us over twenty years ago which no-doubt acted as a catalyst to both of us in cementing a lifelong passion for birding.

Left-Right: Me, Dave Jackson & John Wright - North Landing, Flamborough Head - 4th Oct 2007.

Back at the car we learnt of a male Red-backed Shrike which had been found at North Landing. Initially elusive, this smart bird showed well in Sallows and in hedgerows nr the Viking Pub. A Peregrine flew over and a Yellow-browed Warbler and single Goldcrest was present in the Sallows frequented by the Shrike.

Above: Male Red backed Shrike - North Landing, Flamborough Head - 4th Oct 2007.

Above: Yellow browed Warbler - North Landing, Flamborough Head - 4th Oct 2007.

Above: 1stw Turkestan Shrike - Buckton, East Yorkshire - 4th Oct 2007.
Next on the agenda was the Turkestan Shrike present at the end of Hoddy Cows Lane, Buckton. This bird gave mostly distant scope views, but eventually showed closer and we left satisfied with the views obtained. A skein of c80 Pink-footed Geese came in-off the sea and a few Redwing and two Stonechat were noted.
Now late afternoon, we decided Filey Country Park would be our final destination of the day. Despite no news from this area during the day, it was satisfying to locate a Yellow-browed Warbler in fading light at the seaward end of the Arndale Ravine. A nice end to an excellent day on the east coast.