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Thursday, 29 September 2016

Mid-week twitching

Twitch up to Anstruther in Fife, Scotland yesterday with Mark, Darren and Pete for a BrĂ¼nnich’s Guillemot that had been found late Sunday, it transpired the bird is in heavy wing moult and probably won’t be going anywhere soon but we didn’t want to tempt fate, we stopped off at Roseden just off the A167 in Northumberland, one for a break and two to catch up with a juvenile Rose Coloured Starling that was attending some feeders in a garden there, it was about 10-15 mins before it turned up but then showed well. Pleased with that early success we carried on arriving at Anstruther Harbour late morning where the BrĂ¼nnich’s Guillemot was showing from the off and very well at times, we filled our boots, and memory cards before heading along the coast to Leven for lunch, there were a few Sanderling on a little bit of beach there and a fair bit of stuff out in the Bay but nothing out of the ordinary. As the forecast rain set in we headed for home having another session with the Rose Coloured Starling on the way back, an excellent day everything just fell right for us for a change. 
juv Rose Coloured Starling in the top of a tree at first

with one of its more common cousins

it dropped down into a hedge but was a bit obscured
Anstruther Harbour

The Brunnich's 

called a couple of times

but generally didn't look in the best of health

its fishing technique involved swimming along looking underwater

before diving

its wings were a bit of a mess, probably due to moulting but maybe damaged as well

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it came reasonably close at times

Lesser Black Back at Leven

plus a few Sanderling

including some smart juvs

the Starling on the way back home showed a bit more in the open

Monday, 26 September 2016

Waderful weekend

Not often I get the chance of a full weekends birding so it was typical the winds would swing into the wrong direction, out with Mark on Saturday and it was back to the East Coast for him to catch up with Yellow Browed Warbler, we started at Bempton where there were still three or four around but being very windy they proved very elusive, we more heard than saw them. We eventually headed off for Flamborough calling at Buckton Pond which hosted three Dunlin and a Greenshank then Thornwick Pools where another three Dunlin and two winter plumaged Knot were showing well in front of the hide, at the headland it was much the same as at Bempton with several Yellow Browed Warblers still around but were being very elusive although we eventually got some satisfactory if brief views, on the plus side a Taiga Bean Goose that had been seen late Friday evening had been relocated with a flock of Greylags in fields between North Marsh and Lighthouse Road, after that we dropped down to South Landing which was rather blowy, not many Waders present but a dark phase Arctic Skua flew past quite close in. 
winter Knot

plus Dunlin
On the Sunday we were joined by Stuart and Darren from Leeds and we thought Spurn would be as good as anywhere but didn’t really expect much with the strong winds still blowing in the wrong direction, still two Great White Egrets over Easington Gas Terminals then flying North was a good start. We called in at the Crown and Anchor car park where a Yellow Browed Warbler was heard but again proved rather elusive but most of the morning was taken up with social banter with a fair few familiar faces around, good to catch up with Martin Q and the Rochdale crew, when we finally got back to the birding we headed back to Kilnsea Wetlands with the tide being in, there was a good selection of Waders present including Grey Plover, Bar Tailed Godwit and a couple of Curlew Sandpipers plus two 1st winter Med Gulls. We went back to the Canal Scrape next where a Jack Snipe was showing well from a very packed hide then had a look at a very pale female Red Crested Pochard on Borrow Pits before another futile attempt to see Yellow Browed Warbler at the Warren, we ended the day at Sammy’s Point where we added Wheatear and Whimbrel to the day list but otherwise it was fairly quiet.
the Great White Egrets, photo courtesy of Darren

1st winter Med Gull

Bar Tailed Godwit

in contrast to Saturdays birds some of the Knot were still quite colourful

Curlew Sandpiper

and Grey Plover

posing Little Egret

the showy Jack Snipe

and its more common cousin

well marked Wheatear at Sammy's

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Yellow Browed fest

There has been an unprecedented arrival of Yellow Browed Warblers on the east coast over the last few days with a record count of 130+ around the Flamborough Headland yesterday, I visited there and Bempton Cliffs today and there were still plenty around, I saw upwards of 20 birds between the two sites, nothing much with them though just a few Chiffchaffs and Redstarts plus a handful of Wheatears at Flamborough and Whinchats at Bempton, also of note was right old sparring match between an adult and immature Peregrine over the Headland they were making a right racket. 
9 or 10 were still around the Willows near the Golf Course

with 2-3 more in the Coastguards Cottages Gardens

plus Chiffchaffs

and Redstarts

and sparring Peregrines

Thornwick Pools were quiet just a few Dunlins

Whinchats at Bempton