Wednesday, 12 May 2010

A cage bird, Wood Sand and a Pratincole!

An account of my twitching exploits over the last few days will appear shortly...... but did include seeing the House Finch at Land's End, Cornwall, a cracking Wood Sandpiper on my local patch in the Soar Valley and a mad rush to Frampton Marsh RSPB after work for the Oriental Pratincole!!

Sunday 9th May:
OK the pager went off on MEGA on Saturday and I read the message, which said House Finch singing and showing well at Land's End, Cornwall!! At this point a delusion must have hit me as I arranged a trip overnight  to see the bird with Colin Green and Ben Croxtall.
Thanks to Colin driving overnight we arrived at a very cold Land's End around 5.00am and waited for it to get light.
By 6.00am a small crowd had formed in the car park, which included our crew, Dave Mack and Tony Shepherd. Over the next hour the finch was heard singing in the nearby swing-gates garden but was reluctant to show its self. During this hour I however did year tick Cuckoo and Turtle Dove as there migrated north.
Then suddenly the House Finch was seen singing  in a nearby gorse bush and a mad rush as myself and the rest of the Twitchers saw the bird briefly before flying off to the nearby garden.
Myself and Colin has good views of the finch,but Ben only saw the bird in flight. Ben was not happy with the view so we had to wait another hour before Ben was happy with another sighting of the bird in the nearby garden.
By this time I was freezing and starving so we decided to go to Penzance for a well earned cooked breakfast.
Whilst eating my breakfast Ben got a text from Andy Forryan about a Wood Sandpiper at Wanlip Meadows LRWT!
Wolfing down my breakfast I said to Colin and Ben, "right we are going!", as I needed Wood Sand for my Soar Valley year list.
Ok so we were probably the furthest place away from Leicester that you could be in the country but I knew that if we made good progress we could be back in Leicester for late afternoon!?! (Or I was still being deluded due to lack of sleep?).
Arriving back into Leicester around 3.30pm, I was straight out of the house again and down to Wanlip in a flash and waiting for me was a lovely looking Wood Sandpiper feeding on the scrape. I took a few distant record digishots of the bird and also noted that the four Greenshanks which I had found were also still on the scrape.

Monday 10th May:
After finishing the early shift at the general hospital, I was soon on my way to Frampton Marsh RSPB (check the link) to see the Oriental Pratincole which had taken up temporary residence at this fabulous coastal reserve. I arrived on site around 4.30pm, were I met up with the former Eyebrook crew (Mick and Peter,etc), who tried to tell me that the bird was a Collared Pratincole, but I was not having any of it and knew there were just trying to pull my leg!
Walking over to the east hide I noticed a group of birders were scoping the shoreline of the lagoon. Reaching this point I suddenly realised that the bird was less than twenty feet away. Get In!! OMFL (438 BOU).
Watching the Pratincole I noticed most of the distinctive features and tried to take a few shots of the bird. It was at this point that Pratincole flew off and started to hawking over the lagoon, BUGGER!..(so I have used one of John Hague excellent shots to show how close it was!;-]).

Any way after watching the bird for a good hour, other birds I saw around the lagoon included 8 migrating Whimbrels, a few Ruffs and a couple of showy Yellow Wagtails.
With the time moving on I left the reserve around 6pm just in time to get the LROS committee meeting at around 7.30pm, but hey that another story...

Thanks to John Hague for supplying a photo of the Oriental Pratincole!

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