29th May – Hartlepool ‘Mega’

Posted: June 1, 2012 in Bird Watching, Birding, Rochdale, Rossendale
Tags: ,

After the events of last week when the Cream-coloured Courser was seen in Herefordshire it seemed unlikely that another “megga” bird would be found. So, just as everybody had let their guard down, another bird was trapped and rung at Hartlepool Headland, Cleveland and released and was showing well. It was at the site of last year’s White Throated Robin, none other than a Western Orphean Warbler !! As I was checking the early news I saw the message and alerted all our “A Team” members, but knew myself that I would not be able to go due to work commitments in Queensferry,Wales. I Managed to text Bob who said he would be going after work and as Mark Gibson was going could I be at the motorway roundabout in Heywood at 5-30pm. Try to keep me away! We all dashed into Bob’s car and another nerve wrecking drive was begun. Traffic was fairly good for the time of day and as we did the route M62-A1-A19 into Hartlepool no hold ups were met. Bob supplied us with coffee on the journey and me with a pair of binoculars, thanks Bob. We reached the bowling green on the Headland at 7-20pm and 100 plus birders were watching something, seconds later we were all watching a not that well marked Western Orphean Warbler, result!! The bird had been sat in the same position for about one hour and was clearly trying to sleep and catch the evening sunlight as the local juveniles arrived. They treated us and the bird, to banging sticks against the fencing and general childish behaviour, now this didn’t worry most of the birders as the bird gave good flight views and landed in the open for a few seconds before diving for cover again. Obviously the bird didn’t enjoy this treatment, but a few kind words to the children had the desired effect. The last time a twitchable Orphean Warbler was recorded was on the Scilly Isles in 1981, so, it was a really rare bird that we had seen. We also met Nigel and Andy from York as Mark had nipped up in the afternoon to see the bird. Lots of old faces had made the journey in various types of clothing, how long will the excuses for getting out of work last?  We had a walk to the seawall and saw Sandwich, Arctic and Little Terns and a few Gannets. Time to find a chippy and head for home. Bob got me to Whitworth by 11-30pm. What will happen next week then??

Dave O.

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