Friday, 26 September 2008

What a day's birding!

I spent most of the day birding at Bockhill, just a couple of hours off at lunch when I did my moth traps and had a bite to eat.

The events at Bockhill today are well documented on the KOS Website so this is my view of an extraordinary day. It was a day that had all the facets of birding, excitement, frustration, elation and everything in between. Yesterday evening Phil had found a Yellow-browed Warbler and this morning he re-found it in pretty much the same place, but somehow it eluded the rest of us. Brendan wandered off the the Gun site (home of big Bruce) and alerted us to the fact that he'd found a very odd looking bird.

At first sight this bird looks really confusing, but Brendan had identified it pretty quickly. It did give a big clue as it was flycatching off the top of the bushes there.

Leucism is a condition characterized by reduced pigmentation in animals. Unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in all types of skin pigment, not just melanin. So I presume that this bird is lecistic and not an albino. What ever you call it, it is a very striking Spotted Flycatcher. I must admit as it sat on top it looked a very easy target for any passing Sparrowhawk.

After this diversion Jack found a Barred Warbler in the Paddock, and by the time I got there it had, moved from the thicket it had been in, to the bottom hedge. Here it showed to us, all too briefly, before disappearing in to the hedge, and as far as I know it wasn't seen again.
The most numerous bird everywhere were Goldcrests. While I lunched in my garden I counted 10 in the Acer tree in front of me, and Pam said they been coming down to drink all morning. I returned to the Paddock when I got a call from Phil to say a Dusky Warbler had been found there. This one really had disappeared. It had been found by a visiting birder who was looking for the Barred Warbler and identified by Phil. After a while I went back to look for the Yellow-browed Warbler, only for a message to arrive that a Great Grey Shrike was in the Freedown.

As usual it wasn't particularly approachable, By a managed a record shot of it on the fence, before it moved further down the Freedown.

After anoth circuit I got a message that the Yellow-browed Warbler at long last had become a bit more obliging and was showing in the same area that Phil had found it. After this another visit to look for the Dhrike gave closer views at it sat on the first large tree on the footpath along the side of the Freedown.
Although it flew off it didn't move too far and sat up on a small tree in the evening light
Again a fairly distant shot of a stunning bird, and one found by one of the visiting birders not one of the locals. The vents concluded with a final look at the Yellow-browed Warbler, still in the same tree. The day was memorable, partly for what is saw but also for what I didn't see or saw all too briefly.

This evening rounded the day off with a visit to the fireworks in Dover Harbour. It was a very good show and I'll put some pictures up later.

6 comments:

tut-tut said...

Terrific photos!

Pat said...

You have some great Christmas card masterial here and the last post. Fab photos.

Deslilas said...

Always fine !

Benjamin Young said...

Wow, wonderful birds! I tried to find them today, but they'd all gone...

Steve Gale said...

Commiserations Tony, your county cricket team has joined mine in relegation to Div 2...

Tony Morris said...

Steve, that was a forbidden topic of conversation at Bockhill today, we promised so much this season but delivered nothing in the end!