The Whitlingham Bird Report 2020 is available now (click here)

For previous years (2012-2019) see the links on the Whitlingham Bird List page.

Eastern Crowned Warbler

24th October 2009

I had planned to go on a local fungus foray today, but the offer of a lift to see the latest addition to the British List provided to strong a temptation. Me and Adam met Gary & Phil at six o'clock, and we headed off to Lincolnshire. Here we stopped for breakfast at a Little Chef whilst awaiting news from the quarry. First news negative, but by the time we had finished our tea the ECW had been seen again, and the journey was on.
A largely traffic-free journey to South Shields and we eventually found Trow Quarry. We walked down to the crowd and had brief views in the scrub before the Eastern Crowned Warbler flew to the next stand of trees. A Yellow-browed Warbler called and showed well, but it took the next flight of the ECW before it showed well. I was able to watch it feeding, during which it performed a nice roll around a branch, demonstrating the key features; pale underparts, yellow vent, crown stripe, long bright supercillium and thin wingbar. Happy and not too wet, we decided to wind our way home via Bempton.
We drove across the corner of the Yorkshire Moors, in the hope of seeing Red Grouse (probably the most common British species I'm yet to see - I don't leave Norfolk much!). Unfortunately the rain was pouring down, and we soon gave up. We also didn't see any Dippers at a favourable looking stream, and had a nice bacon roll in a cafe in the middle of nowhere. We arrived at Bempton Cliffs RSPB in the mist, and walked around the corner towards the feeding station. Here we crouched down and watched a Red-flanked Bluetail foraging in the undergrowth close in. A small child was particularly excited, chanting "there it is" long after the bird had gone (a stringer of the future?) before wandering into my telescope.
We decided to attempt one last bird, a Dusky Warbler at Flamborough Head. We walked down a muddy track alongside the Viking Pub (unfortunately it wasn't visible from the pub) and stood in the rain for what seemed like an age, without success. Eventually the rain stopped, and a birder found what looked like the Dusky in a stand of scrub behind us. We spent a while getting brief flight views before the bird called. I managed to get a 30 second view, enough to pick out the facial markings and colouration to go with its "Tek" call, and decided it was unlikely I would get any better views. Before leaving I scanned a large flock of Starlings (no RCSs) and saw a Yellowhammer on the wires. Off home, and back by 9:30. A long and successful day!

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