Sunday 8 May 2016

Slack Time

Not sure why I haven't posted in a month. Anyway, this weekend has been all about the big white supers. First up, a 5am start yesterday and dawn at the Ings.

Lovely. Cuckoos cuckooed, Sedge Warblers flung themselves skywards and floated down like those little plastic paratroopers, Garden Warblers babbled and two fine white-super-sporting drake Garganey, swam about. Down the valley and another Garganey was zipping about looking for a mate at North Duffield. Two Greenshank and two Dunlin - waders come in pairs it seems - were flying around.

Today fog lingered first thing, so I decided that the coast was an option via the Stone Curlew at Star Carr. As I approached the fog thickened again on the low grounds and a quick phone check revealed a jaw droppingly stunning photo of a male Bluethroat from Mark P, having just been caught by Dan. Wow -what a corker! Up to Filey then and with gen from the lads, I gave the Top Scrub a good grilling. Surely this bird must be here somewhere! After a couple of hours, I decided to head along the north side of the Top Scrub so I could get to the head of the path up to the old tip. A little way along, and two birds hopping along a dirt path along the grassy field edge flushed on to the barb. The first was a Robin, the second, a cold grey-brown chat, landing with bit white supers - the Bluethroat! He turned round and flashed his crazy blue-fire-black stripy breast. Wow! Colin was hot on my heels and seeing me collapse to the ground realised I must be on to something. The bird hopped back along the grass and then on to a fence strut where it sat motionless for a moment, before flicking back into the scrub. I put the news out and we were soon joined by Mark. The little corker then performed beautifully as the sun peeked through the fog. A really special spring moment and I am very grateful to the guys for getting the news out.

I headed off round the tip on a floaty high, but failed to find more than a day-flying Barn Owl and a solitary Wheatear.

So I pressed on to Seamer and walked bloody miles in burning sunshine having had nothing to drink since 5.30am and failed to find a Stone Curlew. Bizzarely, at one point I could see the head and neck of a bird poking out of a grassy field which through the bins looked like a male Little Bustard. As I got my scope up, it vanished....too much sun for me clearly! Seven Wheatears in the Stonie's fave field were nice, all big smart Greenland types.

The lure of Black Terns at Wheldrake drew me back west to the local area and I was soon watching 11 of these stunners hawking over the still-wet Ings, clipping the head of one of the drake Garganeys! An Arctic Tern hung out on the fence next to a couple of Commons, and on the flood, a drake Scaup was unexpected, although the female lingers. Fabulous. I smelt BBQ smoke on the breeze, so my time was up and home called.

3 or 4 Black Terns distantly from Tower Hide.

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