Saturday, 18 February 2017
A few days in York with the folks/grandfolks enabled some very good birding. Monday morning dawned bright after a very grey and drizzly weekend and there had been no sight of the Pine Bunting at Dunnington I rated my chance of seeing the bird at less than 10%. When I did find the site I also found a sizeable Yellowhammer and Tree Sparrow flock popping up and down into a stubble field, when they all got up there must have been over 200 birds but they were only moving up into the hedge in smaller groups. I was in for the long haul but fortunately a dog walker took a path right through the middle of the field, I was well prepared for the minute or so I estimated that the birds would be flushed and alert in the hedge. Up they went and many disappeared into the centre of the hedge my scan needed to be very quick, and quicker than I imagined the pink and russets of my first ever Pine Bunting burnt my retina. It stayed for a minute or so before hopping the hedge, I took some speculative video and managed to grab a couple of stills of the bird from this. I spent another 10 mins looking for it in the next field but considered my 15 minute mission a success and having enjoyed good views of the other finches I took my leave.
I decided to use the gained time to visit the nearby tip at Rufforth where I was joined by Chris Gomersall who found the Pine Bunting, a great piece of work. We sifted through and chatted Gulls and saw a couple of 2CY Glaucous Gulls. One, a monster settled briefly close too but flew again to the farthest flock before I could get a decent shot. By far the scarcest visitor required a second and third look, Chris asked me to check his scope "Is there really a naked lady on the tip?" to my disbelief the answer was "Yes, Chris"
When I went back for dinner my Dad had been talking to a friend in the village who had just seen some Waxwings at the Click and Collect in Tesco's car park at the top of the road. We headed up there in bright sunshine and found a little flock of six beauties as confiding as we could have possibly hoped. A great hour ensued as the birds descended from their chosen Ash tree to feed on rosehips, every 10 minutes or so. Several times the birds tossed the hips up into the air to get a better position for guzzling and they were also descending to the ground to collect fallen fruit. A very good day around my hometown.