Sunday, December 09, 2007

Wheatear twitching

Expecting ghastly weather I got my act together rather late this morning. Being in charge of the small people for the day was also a bit of a disincentive to be up with the lark; proper birding was not going to be an option. However, the weather was rather fine and when I did venture out to the garden I was greeted by a flock of 30 or so Siskin along with the usual 40 or so Chaffinch. 3 Tree Sparrows appeared by the feeders. A quick check on the phone indicated that the Desert Wheatear had been seen. Aaha a plan. Small people offered various incentives and we were off.

Winter images from the garden

On arriving at the Long Nab car park the news was not so good, the bird hadn't been seen for a good bit. Now the thing with birding with small people is that bribery and corruption are actually rather ineffective tools on a cold winters day with the prospect of tramping several klicks in the mud. Fortune was on my side though and with a minimum of lagging behind and relatively few complaints the heights of Cromer Point were attained.

No Desert Wheatear. The hill to the pond looked rather forbidding to small people who were unanimous, they would walk no further.

Then a bit of magic, a wheatear appeared before me. The wrong wheatear but a wheatear nonetheless. Northern Wheatear, my latest ever. It had been reported earlier, so it wasn't a find, pleasing though. Girls admired said wheatear through scope. Played "being very small" with my bins whilst I pixed it.

The "wrong" wheatear - a December, Northern Wheatear, Cromer Point VC 62

Small people now claimed conditions were akin to the Arctic and leaving was required. So off we trooped. Northern Wheatear, lots of Rock Pipits and a single Redpoll sp over my reward. And a rather pleasant outing to a birding spot I'd not visited before.

Oh yes! did have a quick look at the water works before we left. I suspect you're not meant to so this but on leaving I was advised it was a possibility for the Desert and that's where it had been in the past and it was ok to go and look. Recalled that you were not supposed to take the car and the notices indicated such but trailed up to the filter bed compound on foot - the notices probably meant on foot too but the gates were open and a rather new and grand stretch of Tarmac offered access. A Turnstone and several Pied Wagtails with a pipit that was most likely Rock but flew. Not really worth the effort.

The Desert Wheatear was relocated at 1:30 p.m. about half an hour after we left the area, such is twitching; and why I rarely do it.


East Ayton Birding said...

Couldn't have missed you by much Alastair, I left about 11.15am.

I parked in the layby on the A165 just north of the access road to the treatment plant, then walked along the road to Cromer Point - about a ten minute walk, mostly on tarmac. Something to bear in mind if it gets another goodie.

Saw the Desert Wheatear for a couple of minutes about 9 o'clock, but lost it while I was getting Water Pipit shots, and a bit of a surprise when I found the Northern Wheatear. Both wheatears were less than six feet apart when I first saw them.

Alastair said...

I was told you had disappeared "over the hill" as I arrived.

None of the pipits I looked at on the point were Water, although I was a bit suspicious of one, trouble with watching with the girls - can't concentrate on things like pipits properly. The pipit at the waterworks was only seen in flight but I was suspicious ....