Sunday, 14 September 2008
Great Snipe at Flamborough OMFL!! or maybe not? 13th September 2008.
Little Stint by a puddle!
Myself and Ben Croxtall, decided to check out the Yorkshire coast as the weather forecast the previous few days had looked good for a fall on the east coast.
Starting at Spurn we took a slow walk up Beacon Lane to look for migrants. Half way down the lane, we met another Birder who put us on a migrating Osprey, which was slowly drifting down the point.
Reaching the end of the lane, we scanned the fields and saw a couple of Whimbrels feeding in the long grass.
Moving on to Beacon Ponds, it was pretty quiet on the wader scrapes except for a couple of Black tailed Godwits and four 1st winter Med Gulls roosting on the shoreline.
Whilst sitting in the hide we spoke to another birder who let us know that a Great Snipe had been found at Flamborough Head. This was confirmed via my pager a couple of minutes later, and the next organised search for the bird would be around 11.00am.
As it was quiet at Spurn we made the decision to go up Flamborough to hopefully see the Great Snipe.
Although we missed the first search at 11.00am which the bird showed in flight a couple of times, we arrived in plenty of time for the next search which was at 2.00pm.
So with an hour to kill we had some dinner at the nearby cafe and then had a quite look at the Little Stint which was feeding at a nearby puddle!
By 2.00pm a reasonable crowd (this included my birding mates Dave Mack and Jez Robson) had gathered just below the Lighthouse for the next search. We then followed the local birders who had found the Snipe slowly across the set-a-side field.
On the first sweep, no bird appeared but on the second sweep the group flushed the "supposed" Great Snipe. Although the weather conditions were not great, as most of the headland was covered in sea mist what I saw of the bird in flight, it looked larger than a Common Snipe, was barrel-chest, looked longer winged and looked more like a thin Woodcock. Also the bird did not call when it was flushed from the ground, and flew more like a Jack Snipe in appearance. Slightly worrying I did not see the white wing bar on the bird, but the weather conditions didn't help here!
In conclusion it was probably the biggest anticlimax I've had this year of seeing a lifer!? (please see the end of the account).
After the Great Snipe flush myself and Ben walked up to the Old Fall hedge to check out to see if any migrants had been grounded by the weather conditions.
Walking down the hedge we saw at least four Redstarts, three Pied Flycatchers, two Spotted Flycatchers feeding along the hedge and in the famous plantation. Also we saw good numbers of Whinchats and Wheatears in the surrounding fields.
Around this time I got a phone call from Jez Robson to let me know that 2 Wrynecks were feeding in vegetation just below the Lighthouse.
Moving to the lighthouse we were soon viewing the Wrynecks as there feed on the clifftop vegetation.
Other birds in the area included a Pied Flycatcher, two fly-by Arctic Skuas and a Garden Warbler.
A few minutes later, we heard that someone had claimed a Booted Warbler in fields opposite the Old Fall hedge, so walking up the road, we joined the crowd in the nearby field.
At this point the two bird theory came into play as a Garden Warbler was claimed as the bird, then another Garden Warbler was also claimed to be the Booted Warbler, and finally another bird was also claimed to be a Booted Warbler!!!
In hindsight I wish the birders the best of luck who are going to submit this record, as me and Ben walked away from this farce none the wiser?!?
As this was the last highlight of the day as usual Flamborough came up with the goods and just showed how good this site really is.
A couple of weeks later I heard that the birder who had claimed the Great Snipe was now withdrawing the record, so it looks like I would have to wait another year to see or flush a Great Snipe!!