Thursday, 12 April 2012

A little unexpected...

There are some birds that you just don't expect to get the chance to see. For me these include: Fea's Petrel- not being a fan of seawatching and with the Scillonian pelagics now a thing of the past, seems unlikely. Needletail Swift also seems unlikely as you have to be pretty quick off the mark with hirundines and those days have gone.

When the news initially broke, this list also included Thayers Gull. Ok, so they've been turning up with increasing regularity or at least being reported in Ireland but as I don't intend on doing Ireland any time soon, it seemed unlikely that I'd catch up with one. I always fancied one being found by the Welsh birders but have done so ever since the first back in 1989 in County Cork and was still waiting, that was until TL found this contender at Elsham, Lincs.

Little did I realise how much of a rarity finder he'd be when I took him on a twitch to the Scillies back in 1999 for the Siberian and White's Thrush combo, but he's really delivering at the moment, congrats Tom.

Living less than 20 miles away from Elsham, all be it on the North shore of the Humber, should have meant for a pretty straight forward little twitch, hmmm- yeah right!! The bird was confirmed on Weds 4th April but we had an appointment and couldn't cancel at such short notice. Thursday saw us all heading to Norfolk for Easter, driving past the field that the bird had been frequenting, game on! Arrived on site at 10am with no sign of the bird so far and with 2 children in the back of the car who didn't want to stop, aaagggghhhh! Decided to have a quick recce of the site in case it turned up again. Of course it did, when we were an hour and a half closer to Norfolk, disaster! Decided for the best that we should continue on our journey and get to Norfolk. The bird continued to show for most of the afternoon and I considered heading straight back as soon as I'd dropped off the family but was needed for the kids bedtimes. Plans were immediately made for the next day.

As the bird hadn't been picked up much before lunch on any of the days it had been present, we decided not to be onsite for first light, of course, less than 10 minutes into the journey, it was reported as still being present. FOOT DOWN!!! This helped to speed the journey up a bit, although it wasn't reported again until we were less than 30 minutes away from Elsham. Having been onsite the previous day proved invaluable as we were able to get straight to the bird and it was still there - result.

The bird showed reasonably well if a little distant. Having been for 2 previous reported Thayers, in Cambs in the nineties and more recently, Worcestershire, for what turned out to be a Herring Gull!!!, it was something of a relief to catch up with a real one.  Oh well, all good things come to those who wait.

Above 3 photos all courtesy of Alan Lewis

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