Sunday 23 October 2016

Great Expectations

Back out to the Cape with Lunar and Chris hoping that the continuing easterlies combined with rain would mean we would be wading knee-deep through rares. Sadly not. We did the Outer Head just after dawn and saw nothing, save a few Robins and several Redwings. Nevertheless, great to be out on the coast again and our Great Expectations kept us going. Just round the next corner...

Plenty of rare-looking young male Blackbirds, fresh in off the sea and looking decidedly rare. Or maybe we were just getting desperate!

Giving up on the Old Fall area, we headed first for Welkie Wynds- nothing - and then for South Landing, which was in comparison, alive with birds. We soon found a very pale Chiffchaff, which although silent, looked good for a Siberian, with white underparts, a little lemon yellow on the wing-bend, tobacco-coloured ear coverts setting off a long pale super and not a hint of yellow or green anywhere on the upperparts.

We checked out the beach; still plenty of Rock Pipits but still no Buff-bellied feeding with them, just a rather lonely-looking Sanderling. Up at the sheep field, we were puzzled by a strange repetitive call, which turned out to be an odd-sounding Redstart, which then proceeded to tail us along the edge of the wood.

We decided we needed another fix of the Hume's which according to fellow York birder Rob Chapman was showing well, so we headed round there, and sure enough got cracking views as it worked it's way around it's feeding circuit, with occasional bouts of calling.

Bit of an obscured shot, but a good one of the bird's dark legs, quite different from the YBW's orangey legs.

 Sporting a hint of a greyish crown stripe and a nice grey cast to the mantle.

Dark legs again and sullied underparts, with a bit of buffy yellow around the wing bend. You can see the bird does have a bit of pale at the base of the lower mandible, but this was only really visible from below. Clean ear coverts can be seen in this pic, although not as obvious as in the pic below, where they look a bit mottled.

Fine, spiky black bill. Also, you can make out the green secondary fringes being the brightest part of the upperparts. The median covert bar is small but can be seen. Interestingly, this bird had dark lores, not the pale, open-faced lores as described on Birding Frontiers  see here

All in all, a subtle and very educational bird.

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