Wednesday 18 October 2017

Loop Guru

This autumn I have mostly been enduring westerly winds. For weeks on end. This week, a glimmer of hope in the forecast, and on cue last night it went easterly. As luck would have it, I had today (and tomorrow) booked off work, just in case this happened, so I headed off to Flamborough early doors. Parked by Old Fall and walked down towards the lighthouse. As soon as I got out of the car, a small gang of Bramblings wheezed overhead and a Chiffchaff called in the hedge. This showed promise. The loop didn't quite live up to expectations, although plenty of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Bramblings and Chaffinches overhead, along with small groups of Blackbirds, Redwings and here and there a Song Thrush. Very few Goldcrests were in evidence, but a few more Chiffchaffs and a Wheatear in the lighthouse car park. A Weasel scurried across the Bay Bramble steps in front of me.  It was fun birding, mainly because I have barely been out to the coast this autumn!

I went round the (Old Fall) Loop twice, but besides a late-ish Willow Warbler in Old Fall Plantation, failed to add anything new.

After lunch, I decided to head to the northside, to try Holmes Gut. A few more thrushes seemed to be coming in off, including this Song Thrush (below), so perhaps I would get lucky.

On falling out of the car, I immediately heard a Yellow-browed Warbler calling from the sycamores by the Yorkshire Water compound. Cool! Right choice. Then the phone beeped and news of a Radde's Warbler came through from Bempton. Back in the car! A few minutes later and I pulled into the car park at Bempton, and headed for the nature trail. I followed two guys along the trail and soon came upon the finder and two other birders. Apparently the bird had showed but then got flushed by a family. As we waited, other birders arrived. After 15 tense minutes, it appeared behind us, so we spread out in the adjacent weedy field and grilled the hedge and weeds. A few brief glimpses by other birders suggested the bird was moving back up the hedge. I got two brief views of a dark shape in the last bush...tantalising!

It became apparent that it had flicked across into a bramble patch on the field edge. We gathered at the corner and suddenly there it was! A flicking olivey-yellow sprite with mahoosive supercilium and big orange legs. Corking! It flicked into the brambles and disappeared. I moved positions and shortly it bobbed out again, this time in full view on the barbed wire! Nice. It played hide and seek for a few moments and then reappeared again on top of the brambles long enough for me to attempt a photo, although the pic I got was just as the bird raised it's wings to fly off. During its sojourn in the bramble patch, I could heard it calling occasionally, a quiet and rather liquid 'chet'. Sadly for arriving birders, it then made it's way further along the field edge and over the brow and out of site. A male Blackcap showed briefly while we waited but our Rad friend did not reappear.

I decided to finish the walk I had started at Holmes Gut, so drove back to Flamborough. The Yellow-brow was in the Willows on arrival with a couple of Chiffchaffs, before flicking into the Elders. Plenty more Redwings and Blackbirds dropping in, and a few Goldcrests. An enjoyable day all told, with a bonus pair of Sibes to whet my appetite for the big day tomorrow!

Yellow-browed Warbler, Holmes Gut YWT. I never tire of seeing these little stripy dudes.