Thursday, 4 December 2014

Patch Invasion

The invasion started yesterday when a visiting birder to Rossall Point found a Shorelark on the beach at midday. The bird seemed to vanish, as Shorelarks seem to do, and by the time it was re-found it was nearing dusk and only a few birders managed to 'connect' with it. Interestingly this was the first record for the Obs recording area since 1970!

I had planned all week to take a couple of hours off Thursday morning and if the weather was fit I was going to have a look on the sea and watch the incoming tide. I headed to the Point under full cloud with a 5 mph ENE wind and I got a text from Ian saying he was watching the Shorelark I joined Ian at the Lark, but said that I was going to disappear when the first birders started arriving and concentrate on the sea.

I took a few pictures of the Shorelark but the light conditions were poor in the grey overcast conditions. We discussed whether it might actually be the North American species Horned Lark, but weren't sure whether they were separable or not. It seems odd that the only Shorelark(s) in Great Britain and Ireland at the minute are three that have been around for ages in Suffolk. This bird is on the west coast and only a few weeks ago across the Bay at Walney Bird Observatory was a Red-eyed Vireo. But who knows?

The birders started to arrive and myself and Ian made a swift exit to the Tower and did some seawatching. However, I didn't put up for this for long as a constant stream of birders drifted past and they thought we were on the bird and we ended up signposting everyone to where it was. I think I must be getting more unsociable as I get older as it was definitely time to leave. By the time I left at 10:00 a.m. 30 - 40 birders must have headed past me to the bird. It just reaffirmed why I try and keep away from mainstream birding.

However, I am grateful to the visiting birder who found the Shorelark as it was indeed a splendid bird and only a second record for the Obs. If I'm honest, I hope it doesn't linger for too much longer, miserable old b*stard that I am!

The sea was really quiet with just three Red-breasted Mergansers, 17 Common Scoters, 29 Eiders and three Shelducks. It's getting windy next week so there could be more seawatching on the horizon.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

That's a cracking looking bird :-)