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Monday, 26 May 2014

A few good birds for a wet weekend

Saturday the 24th and after rain most of the day myself, Mark and Paz had a late afternoon early evening session as the forecast seemed better then although we still went through a fair bit of rain as we headed north. Hummersea near Skinningrove was the destination as an Icterine Warbler had been found there that morning in the garden of Josie’s Cottage, I’ve seen this area mentioned a lot on Teesmouth Bird Clubs website but its the first time we’ve ever been, it did look a superb bit of coastal habitat, upon arrival we were informed that a Woodchat Shrike also seen briefly that morning had just been refound so we got that as well on the way back, the cottage was at the end of a long track and we were soon staking the garden out, the Iccy kept giving brief snatches of song but it was quite a while before we eventually saw it, a typical spring bird, nice and bright, as we walked back to the car the Woodchat Shrike was showing along a fence-line but too far for a photo. It was then back down the coast to Long Nab at Burniston as a Marsh Warbler found in the morning had started singing again, it was in the little gulley near the car park and although it was singing its heart out at times it was in thick cover and we never got more than a few fleeting glimpses of the bird, it did some rather good impersonations particularly Blackbird alarm calls and Chiffchaff
nice Spring Iccy

Sunday the 25th and it was just me and Mark, we had a bit later start while we awaited news to help us decide where to go, there were two snippets to interest us, a male Little Bittern in Greater Manchester and a Broad Billed Sandpiper at Nosterfield, we decided on the Sandpiper first and wait for more news on the Bittern. As is typical for Nosterfield the Broad Billed was distant to say the least but we had good scope views, we stayed with it quite a while as we deliberated what to do next still not being convinced about going for the Bittern at this stage. With the onset of a heavy shower we moved on initially heading for Staveley NR but after a couple more messages saying the Little Bittern was showing well we decided to chance it, dropped on to the A1, up to the M62 and across to Manchester then found our way to Elton Reservoir on the outskirts of Bury, upon arriving we were a bit lost and wondered if we were in the right place but along with a few other birders who arrived at the same time we worked out where we needed to be and sure enough as soon as we headed off in the right direction we saw a small crowd of birders overlooking an incredibly small marshy area at the southern end of the Reservoir and there it was, we had timed it just right and the bird was showing on the reedy edge of a small pool right from us getting there and then for the next hour or more eventually working its way into the corner where it was lost to view, a tick for Mark and only my second in this country. As we made our way back to the car we had a drake Common Scoter on the Reservoir and tried our luck photographing low flying Swifts, not easy, then on the way back home after an aborted attempt to find a Red Backed Shrike in Pontefract (we had no idea where to look) we paid a quick visit to the Quarry at Tadcaster where we had a Peregrine carrying prey to one of the nearby pylons. So five good birds this weekend unfortunately none were photogenic although I did get some record shots of the Little Bittern.

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