Saturday, 20 June 2020

Missing the Asian Warbler

Having stressed all week about the Asian Desert Warbler in Northumberland and should I go or not last night I decided I would try. I set off on my own as we can't car share presently with the Covid restrictions and decided on stopping off in North Yorkshire to await news of the Warbler on Holy Island before pressing on for the final two and a half hours of the journey.

Nosterfield NNR
My stop off was planned as I still needed Lesser Yellowlegs for a year tick so Nosterfield NNR fitted the bill and on arrival around 5am I found fellow Essex birder Dave B on site with exactly the same plan. We discussed the probability that the bird had moved over night whilst we enjoyed good views of the Lesser Yellowlegs with a guy from Newark that also had the exact same plan as us. Nosterfield NNR is a new reserve for me and very nice it is too.

Record shot of the Lesser Yellowlegs
With negative news finally coming through we both set off in different directions in search of year ticks. My first stop was a short drive down the A61 where I found Red Grouse in a spot I've visited before near Harrogate. I then headed off in search of the Red-footed Falcon that Dave had already seen down the A1 at Biggin. On arrival the bird was sat on the wires but soon took flight and was lost to view and I don't think it was seen again today. As I checked the news services I noticed that the Rosy Starling had been reported at nearby Collingham so I drove back just one junction and in no time I was watching a superb adult Rose-coloured Starling with the small group of birders already on site.

I had said to myself that if the Warbler is a no show I'd spend a big chunk of the day at Welbeck and this is what I did. I saw three Honey Buzzard from the watchpoint and one came quite close to reveal itself as a very dark male bird. It's been a while since I had any view of Honey Buzzard but this was close to my best views to date. I left late afternoon now feeling the early start but still found time to detour around Rutland Water to check out the Ospreys in Manton Bay for another year tick.

A good two metres apart at Welbeck.
What could have been a very disappointing day was rescued by a very good supporting cast and it's good to be out enjoying the hobby with like minded people again.

Year list now 221

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