Thursday, 31 May 2012

Ticking Bonanza!

3 Yorkshire Ticks in 3 days. 2 UK Lifers and 1 World Tick. Today I caught up with the Marsh Warbler at Blacktoft Sands which despite showing its nuts off to all and sundry was meek and mild for me. Probably due to the copious amounts of liquid sunshine experienced concurrently. I also managed to get up to Fairburn Ings for the Black-winged Stilt.

I was getting concerned that the standard of photography had improved on the blog. I neednt have worried.
A morning of WeBS counts produced a single Whimbrel and half a dozen singing Lesser Whitethroats but little else. I had planned to visit whichever sites held onto their scarcities and whilst the Thorne Moors Gull-billed Tern disappeared I had the chance of the Stilt and the Warbler. I opted for the Marsh Warbler first as while it is an easier bird for Yorkshire it would be a world tick and I have seen several hundred (thousand?) in Spain/Cape Verde plus a single at Frampton last month. When I arrived it was totalling down. Cats and dogs!

I hid and quietly caught up with Little Egret and Reed Warbler amongst the commoner birds plus a soggy looking male Marsh Harrier carrying food. A lull and I made my way to singleton only to be told I had over shot and the bird was in the freshmarsh behind me. One lucky punter had just had it singing a few metres away at the top of a reed stem. The next half hour was a game of cat and mouse until as the rain ebbed and flowed but eventually a more sustained break arrived and we piled out of the hide en masse. Despite some birders with limited field craft (loud, talky) the bird did some brief sub song and showed in a Willow briefly before another snatch of song and gone. 5 minutes later and it was back about 20m away. Its grey brown rump was evident and so was the yellowness of the underside which until I read Martin Garners blog I didnt realise was a good fieldmark for spring Marsh Warblers. The biggest give away was the shiny BTO ring. I wonder where it acquired that? Soon it had flown into the umbelliformes and was leading the others a merry dance. The rain hardened and I bid the other birders adieu.

I arrived at Fairburn quickly and after a brief tete a tete with Mr Dickinson I knew where I was at. 10 minutes of scanning the appropriate flash left me blank and the only other birders were dudes. As you can see from the photo the bird was pretty distant and it emerged from behind a few tussocks of grass to show well. A nice bird which I watched for about 20 minutes before time caught me up. The stilt was actually quite interesting, hunting actively which is more than can be said for the Frampton bird.

In other birding news I found displaying Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Curlew on patch whilst running and they continue to call tonight. I even saw the gropper last night when I walked along the river bank. Excellent birds.

My running continues unabated. Up to 29 minutes non-stop/3.5km which is pretty pleasing.. Only walked 150m tonight of the 4km total which made me feel good. Im getting there and my race jersey arriving proved it. Crack on.

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How brains and birds become mutually exclusive