Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Many happy returns

..... for yesterday: a birthday spent entirely in the field (just as it should be), and a pleasure from beginning to end. Up and out into a morning of promising conditions - easterlies, mist and cloud after overnight rain - with the intention of enjoying anything and everything that flew into my path, and with a particularly keen eye on nailing a scarcity.


A fine-toothed combing of the grassy plateau and slopes of Carr Naze was promising, with a sprinkling of fresh-in Wheatears (including some orange-flushed Greenland-type beasts) and a cracking Whinchat; the first surprise of the day followed soon after, when a bedraggled Corn Bunting - sadly a genuine rarity locally - gave brief flight and grounded views around the top of Long Lane, which hosted a decent cast of the commoner warblers.


Cutting out along Short Hedge (a fairly innocuous but personally lucky stretch of hawthorn, providing me with Dusky Warbler, Wryneck, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Greenish Warbler in the last two autumns), a single Redstart and Ring Ouzel were positive returns, until a repetitive, monotonous call pierced through the mist - nothing less than a Dotterel (only the second in a decade for Filey) gunned overhead and inland.


With an entertaining cast of migrants and a local rarity under the belt, the day had already provided more than enough, and the pressure was off for a wander over towards the Tip. A scan of the fields produced nothing but for a couple of poorly-hidden Grey Partridges and Brown Hares, but one of our local Barn Owls (over from the Dams) was on the hunt, and so I decided to lean on the gate and wait for it to hopefully patrol closer. It did, flushing several birds from the long grass in the process...


A Skylark, a Yellow Wagtail, and fantastically, a Richard's Pipit. Another less-than-annual scarcity and particularly unlikely in spring, it so happended to be the first I'd seen in many years, and a self-found first as an added bonus. Quite a day; if only all arbitrary celebrations on the calendar were as successful...


Tomorrow is the 30th, the anniversary of the little beauty below dropping in front of me on Carr Naze....