Saturday, 29 October 2016


A week in the Northlands were very productive.  I saw 4 confiding Sprytes with stripes - 2 Hume's Warblers and single Pallas's Warbler and Firecrest.  A Little Bunting was the prize for some focused birding across the Great White Cape (Flamborough Head) more of that day here:

The Hume's Warbler at Thornwick was particularly confiding at times showing a good variety of the key features and calling a great deal to boot. 

Plenty of commoner migrants filtered through the hedge, fields and passed overhead.  Twite, Lapland Bunting, Woodcock, Thrushes galore, Siskin, Brambling and Redstart all pitched in and Goldcrests were peppered throughout.

I had a look at the Western Swamphen (Purple Gallinule in old money) at Alkborough Flats which as a potential first for Britain is a top quality bird and rude to ignore only an hour or so from my folks in York, however it did feel like a dirty twitch, despite enigmatic views (read distant and skulking). 
Returning to the Fen I was not expecting to be twitching the Ely 10 today.....

and not to see my second Isabelline Wheatear of the week, the first inland UK record and a most unexpected first for Cambridgeshire.  It was a great bird showing well at the soon to be rewetted fields at Wardy Hill/Witcham Gravel, all features present and correct, a real showy bird that delighted all observers.  This pic from Cambirds sent by Richard Jackson shows all you need to get your pulse racing when confronted with a pale Wheatear in late Autumn.
It was a mellow and merry gathering of county birders all very chuffed to be enjoying this very rare visitor.  In days gone by a few more hours celebratory birding would have been in order, but with my kids in tow, we left the field and celebrated with good feed and a catch up on our autumn birding in an Ely restaurant. 

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