Saturday, 6 June 2009

Pratincole on the list...

It was an early start today - departed at 04:20 and by 08:20 was pulling up to a windswept field in north-west Norfolk... just as the pager confirmed that the target bird was present.... black-winged pratincole.


I'd sweated for a week (again working nightshift) hoping that this would stick... and it did. Always a relief when the journey is a bit longer than normal.

I've experienced bad dips before - the red-necked stint at in Cambridgshire stands out; as negative news was posted as we pulled into the car park - the journey back was painful... especially as pallas's grasshopper warbler was evidently available on Blakeney Point when we reached Doncaster! Anyhoo... I'd not seen BWP before, so it constitutes my second new UK bird of 2009.

The initial views of the bird were below average - the bird was distant and not doing much, pretty much just sitting on the ground, and the weather was dull, cold and windy. Chat was good with fellow birders - meeting old acquaintances met previously on Scilly, and more familiar faces from the North-east.

By 11:00 hunger had set in, so a trip to Titchwell RSPB was called for. A Cheese and ham toastie showed much better than the pratincole, although it did not linger... On the reserve itself a bittern was booming, 3+ marsh harrier patrolled the reedbeds, avocet and black-tailed godwit were plentiful and there were tonnes of swift!

Refreshed(ish) I headed in the direction of home (not holme!), with another stop at the pratincole site. The first person I saw was Adrian Allen, another Northumberland birder... who more sensibly was taking in the pratincole as part of a holiday in East Anglia rather than a day trip from Northumberland!

By now the sun was shining - and what a difference this made to the bird - now more active, running short lengths across the ploughed field, stopping and standing "to attention", bobbing it's head frantically, and better still - flying! What a cracking family pratincoles are - like over sized swallows! We were treated to one very close fly-over, with the pratincole calling to make sure we knew it was there! Many photographs were taken, one of which is presented here...

The journey back was tedious - part of the A1 was closed south of Retford - 2 hours were spent in a traffic jam - boo!

The downside of twitching - journey back + traffic jam...

1 comment:

Blyth Birder said...

Nice bird.

One of those twitches where, if the worst happens and it nicks off overnight, there's still plenty to see in the area.