Apart from a tonne of thrushes, the loop revealed little extra, apart from four Woodcocks flushed from various bits of cover, a couple of Bramblings, three Blackcaps and a couple of Chiffchaffs. Perhaps the big bird will arrive tomorrow, or at least so I thought! Mammals were much in evidence too, with a big, smart dog Fox seen a couple of times along with a Stoat hanging out near a pile of crab apples - perhaps they were both seeking a thrush for breakfast. The most bizarre thing was a Starling that literally fell out of the sky and landed at my feet on the south cliffs. I picked it up and walked down to Old Fall where I put it in a bush. It then flew off apparently oblivious to its encounter.
Late morning and the Fieldfares started arriving, coming in over the slightly surreal sight of the Dad's Army crew filming down on North Landing beach. I looked for Catherine Zeta Jones, but alas I dipped... Not much in Holmes Gut, apart from a couple of Blackcaps, with more Bramblings up the road by North Moor Farm.
Fieldfares coming in off the sea at North Landing
Anyway, a short while later another guy relocated the bird at the opposite corner of the wood and we headed round to where he had seen it - five minutes ago. It was getting on for 4pm by now, so it wouldn't be long before the light would start to go. The chap indicated where it had headed. I asked if you could go over the fence and the chap replied that was fine, but there were no big trees down there. Well, I could see one, so Chris and me jumped over and walked along with a few others. We got to the first big sycamore and immediately saw a bird flick in the canopy. Bins up and there was a face with a huge pale supercilium and a big spiky bill poking out from behind a leaf. Surely that was the bird! I got Gary Taylor on to it, it hopped out and the rest is history! The bird then showed really well for several minutes hopping about in this large tree. It left for a moment but then returned. It really did look like an Arctic Warbler, but the greyish crown stripe was fairly obvious, when the bird was face on, or looking down. The stripe seemed to be more distinct on the middle and rear crown, fading out nearer the forehead. The bird was quite considered in its movements, not hyperactive like the smaller phylloscs. It hopped about looking around and gleaning insects off leaves and twigs. The greater covert wingbar was obvious but the median bar was a little trickier to see. The tertials looked plain. I couldn't really make out the yellow on the undertail coverts but that could have been the light.
The bird flicked out into an ash further down the bank and we left the arriving twitchers to look for it. Rich Baines managed some awesome shots which he kindly emailed to me - see below. We were elated, but sadly it seemed Andy had gone the wrong way with half the crowd, so quite a few people didn't connect. Luckily Andy had seen the Durham bird so was fairly pragmatic about things.
By about 4.15pm it vanished again. So the big bird did arrive today! This ECW, if accepted is the first for Yorkshire and the third for Britain. Bizarrely, it's credentials are similar to the Spurn Masked Shrike, in that the first UK record was twitchable, the second was not and then the third turned up in Yorkshire. Freaky!