Thursday, 6 February 2014

Beating the winter blues

A day off work to twitch the Red-flanked Bluetail over in South Gloucester with Messrs Gaze and Dutfield saw me tick off the species at the top of my UK most wanted list. Viewing was not helped by the fact that I lost a contact lens on the walk down to the bird! Most of the time the bird was distant (a scope would have come in handy) but it did perch up some 5m away at one point, giving excellent views of this super Sibe'. It may no longer be the CMF rarity it used to be, but who cares! I don't think it was giving the views seen earlier in the week as most of those down this morning "chased" the bird from bush to bush, meaning it kept midway up the slope for most of the time we were there - certainly many of the toggers looked to be trying to obtain shots for the forthcoming book on the Field Guide to Avian Anal Cavities.

From there it was a short hop, with Kevin Hughes in tow, to the Corn Bunting wintering site. Some 50 were seen, though most were distant, with some in song. A covey of around 18 Red-legged Partridges, at least half a dozen Yellowhamers (all male?), and a small flock of Lapwing added to the day list.

With the return of the rain, we headed back across the bridge and called into Uskmouth for the yankee Wigeon which was found a couple of days ago. On arriving at the lighthouse 2 birders were seen, about 50m to our right, eyes to scopes. We joined them, but they hadn't found the target, but the incoming tide was only just pushing the ducks out of the small creeks and channels. After some 5 mins scanning, with no luck, I decided to take a wander further along and about 150 m to the left of where I'd left the guys, the drake American Wigeon was showing well. After phoning Rob (no answer), shouting and waving like a mad man, the others eventually noticed and made their up to me, to enjoy the Neararctic wanderer, followed by a coffee/tea and chat in the visitors centre before making our way home.

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