Eastern Crowned Warbler in Cleveland.Friday 31st October 2014.

Posted: November 1, 2014 in Bird Watching, Birding, Twitching
Tags: , , , ,

Whilst visiting the Isles of Scilly in October 2009, a real “mega” bird had turned up at Trow Quarry, South Shields, Tyne & Wear. The bird, an Eastern Crowned Warbler was a first for Britain. So as we made the long journey home from Scilly, Bob K remarked, “That`s one we have missed, it will be a long time before another one of them turns up”. We did agree with him! Fast forward to last Thursday afternoon and the news broke of another Eastern Crowned Warbler, that had been found in Brotton, Cleveland, the long time had ended then? Too late to go on Thursday, but some phone calls later and a trip was planned for Friday morning. A very mild morning in late October greeted us, as myself and Bob K left Rochdale at 6am with myself driving. The M62 held no fears for us at that time and once on the A19 it was all fairly plain sailing. A check of the news on Rare Bird Alert by Bob K revealed that the bird was still present, twitch speed time! (all strictly within the law) We got to the seaside town of Saltburn by the Sea and got stuck behind a JCB that must have been stuck in a slow gear! Our directions took us to a housing estate near Hunley Golf Course in Brotton and as we tried to park one of the locals told us to not park in front of her house, did she really own the road ? A few birders were milling around in a small wooded area with lots of Sycamore`s in it.  We were then directed by one of the locals, who said, “Go further into the wood and the bird is showing well”. We hurried down into the wood but the bird was not on view, we met some of the lads from York who told us we had missed the bird by about 5 minutes, curse the JCB time!  A few false alarms in the following hour, mainly involving Chiff chaffs and then suddenly, Bob had tickable views of the bird,  I just could`nt get onto to it though.  After about an hour and half on site, the difficult to see bird finally gave itself up and stopped for a rest (after dashing from tree to tree and not giving anyone a good sighting really) and perched in a sycamore and gave really good views for 20 minutes or so and what a real cracker it was!  It reminded me of the halcyon days of twitching with lots of running about and large gatherings of birders!  Around 150 birders where present when we where there.  A return to the car for a well-earned sandwich & brew. We decided to head up towards Sleddale near Commondale and search for the Rough Legged Buzzards. It’s a lovely area, that we have visited before and upon arrival two Rough Legs were showing really well for about 15 minutes. One of them was a very pale bird and looked impressive in the sunshine as it flew towards us. A Peregrine and two Common Buzzards made up the raptors seen. Instead of going home along the A19 we headed along the B1257 towards Helmsley, what an outstanding and picturesque area that is. As we reached the M62 news of a few Friday afternoon problems surfaced and a crawl back to Lancashire ensued. We got home by 3-45pm and both of us will remember the day for a long time!

Dave O.

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