I was thoroughly fed up on Saturday evening - having worked an early shift at work disrupted with rarity news at Newbiggin and dipping the dusky warbler at Tynemouth and topping it all - driving past St Mary's oblivious to the presence of a red-flanked bluetail.
So it was clear - set the alarm and get there early on Sunday. Which I did. Though not quite as planned! Alarm was quickly silenced, I got dressed, headed downstairs... only to find it was not yet 5am... doh! I'd left my alarm on for work! So back to bed, with a 7am alarm set.
Up at 7, out by 10 past, parked up at Hartley at half past and at the north of the wetland by quarter to eight. It was very murky, and there were already a few birders searching the area.
I bumped into EB who kindly informed of the birds behavior yesterday, so together we stood and waited... and out of nowhere (actually, the willow on to the left of us.)...
... 08:10 - BINGO!
Much gesticulation ensued (oo-er), it was clearly a relief for us both!
It was still very dark, but record images were most certainly required - so with and ISO of 1250 (later bumped to 1600) and a measly 1/40th - 1/60th second exposure some satisfactory images were achieved. Image stabilisation saves the day me thinks...
The other birders on site were summoned and over the next hour were were privileged to visits from the bluetail onto the wire fence and fence posts. Have to comment that the behaviour of the gathered was good - everyone got a good view as the bluetail went about its business.
From the font the flanks can be seen really quite nicely!
Later on the bluetail expanded its feeding circuit - heading out into the "gut" - & that (with increasing birder numbers) was my cue to head on - conveniently news had recently arrived advising that there was a chance at finally cracking the Tynemouth dusky warbler.
A great start to the day - my second Northumberland bluetail after the individual on Holy Island in 2008
I'll probably weaken and put another couple of images on the blog later in the week - rarity/migrant/time permitting! Or I might even go back...