Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mega alert!! Mega alert!!

Lapland Bunting (photo taken at 800ASA in dark(ish)

JB has been birding the Whitestone, Hawsker, Ness point area of Whitby for the last two days. This is the area to the east and south of Whitby. John has birded this area for many years and has found some quality stuff in the past.

When JB gets searching for small birds rares will be found. Earlier in the autumn he warmed up with a Barred Warbler but yesterday things started to get a bit more grippy with a Short-toed Lark.

Not having seen JB for some time I decided to forgo the delights of The Kettle and join him at Whitestone Point this morning.

As we strolled towards the area where the lark had been found yesterday I was rather pleased to lock on to a Lapland Bunting. The Lap proved confiding and although it was only just after dawn we managed some pix.

A Merlin shot past. Brambling and another Lap were heard.

After a bit of a wait in the cold a flock of larks appeared and sure enough in amongst 40 or so Skylarks there was a small critter. The larks all went down into some hectares of freshly tilled field and proved to be almost invisible but eventually with perseverance John found the head and shoulders of Short-toed Lark. It did in time reveal its characteristic collar and upper breast for a few minutes but thereafter proved seriously elusive.

More Bramblings and 2 more Lapland Buntings were seen. 4 Snow Buntings buzzed around us. I tried for better views of the lark but it didn't cooperate and after a few more fleeting views I decided to give up. Tea was drunk; recent Halifax Birders gossip was exchanged and I headed off to do the family food shop. JB headed off towards Ness Point.

I was just 5 minutes from home, shopping mission accomplished, when the phone went. Safely pulling into a layby (he responsibly writes) I answered the phone to "I've got a pipit with white tramlines up it's back and I don't think it's Red-throated." We held a bit of a discussion and I promised to phone back with references to hand.

By the time I called back John had managed to see the primary extension and as I read out the call the bird did just that. Pechora Pipit it was then. But it flew 30 metres and despite reinforcements the bird was not seen again.


DorsetDipper said...

are we serious? Short-toed Lark and Pechora Pipit?

Worth investing in a large net and a tracking device fitted to JB i think

Alastair said...

We are serious. I saw the S-tL myself and JB was talking to me over the phone and describing the Pechora as he watched it. When the weather is right and migrants are about he's The Man for the rare.