Friday, October 18, 2013
Sixty minutes in Siberia
For the first time in lord knows how long I wasn't out birding all day yesterday, spending the better part of it swanning around Scarborough with the Mrs, returning to Filey for mid-p.m. and bolting out shortly afterwards into a pleasantly mild, golden-hued autumnal afternoon. Up into the Top Scrub soon after and a little activity included stupidly showy Mealy Redpolls, a Water Rail in a net ride and a sprinkling of common migrants - and then, within a couple of seconds of each other, the distinctive calls of both Siberian Chiffchaff and Yellow-browed Warbler emitting from the same sycamore.
With much variation in the many Chiffys around presently (including lots of abietinus-types) I've been keeping a constant eye, and more importantly ear, out for a tristis, and this bird (a personal first on the patch) was good enough to call repeatedly, show very nicely and tart around with the Yellow-brow before I decided to move on. A wander down the scrubby southern spur towards Jack's Cafe produced another Yellow-brow, feeding silently in the grass; at that point, an extra bonus to cap a very productive half-hour or so in the field.
With the sun still shining and the wind a whisper of its recent, frustratingly brisk self, a look at the sunny, sheltered southern side of Arndale seemed like a good idea; in retrospect, a very good idea. Reaching the Hawthorn hedge and woodland edge a couple of minutes later, flitting amongst the sunlit canopy was an Eastern Lesser Whitethroat, feeding avidly amongst 'crests and Chiffys (and highly skilled in avoiding a clear camera shot, but more on this bird to follow); clearly my luck was still very much in.
Waiting (in vain) for the bird to call with the sound recorder rolling, somewhat incredibly, after a barely another minute or so nothing less than a Dusky Warbler began tacking agitatedly in the hawthorn next to me.... after the satisfaction of finding Filey's fifth-ever barely 48 hours previously (present simultaneously in Collared Fly Hedge), to have another after such an already blinding hour's patch birding was, well, a thrill worth savouring. It's not often, but sometimes, it all comes together.