Thursday, 14 October 2021

When North meets South.

 Last weekend was better than the average weekend where I was able to score a lifer in the shape of an Arctic Warbler (more at home in the far North) which was seen at Reculver and a very obliging Desert Wheatear (from the South) which performed well for the camera around the car park area at Joss Bay and later on the beach. It did not start too well with a visit to the Oyster pool at Murston (Saturday 9th) for another look at the juvenile Red-necked Grebe. I arrived in thick fog and had no chance of getting any photos until it lifted so I waited. With messages pinging on my phone about the presence of an Arctic Warbler along the railway embankment at Reculver and also the arrival of a Desert Wheatear at Joss Bay, I was tempted to move back towards home and try and see the Arctic Warbler as this would be a new bird for me. I decided to hang on for a couple of hours to see if the fog would lift which it eventually did but not until the early afternoon by which time the Grebe had retired to the middle of the pool and was sleeping. All I got for my troubles was a shot as it was in fairly close but shrouded in the fog.

All was not lost though as I heard the pinging of Bearded Tits from the small reed bed that separates the pool from the creek and they were very close to the path and my vantage point. What's more, the sun had finally broken through the mist making the task of getting a few images a lot easier.

I called into Reculver on the way home and walking down the Chambers wall, I quickly saw the small congregation of people gathered roughly half way between the Chambers and Shuart pedestrian train crossings. On my arrival, it was feeding in a Sycamore and typical Warbler like, skulking through the foliage and moving quite fast as it chased down insects. I did get a brief moment when it stopped out in the open for just a few seconds and a machine gun burst from the camera secured a few useable images. It's always nice to get a few images to record a new bird, which this was for me.

On the Sunday (10th) I went down to Joss Bay and was able to see the Desert Wheatear that had remained overnight and was catching flies from a perch on the cliff face. I took a few photos but I never liked the setting that much and returned after work on the Monday (11th late afternoon) and managed a few images as it was feeding on a rough patch of ground around the beach huts to the southern side of the car park.

On Wednesday (13th) I heard from various social media channels that the Wheatear was still present at Joss Bay but had now moved down onto the actual beach area. Being that Joss Bay is a sandy beach, I thought it may be good to get a few images of the bird in the sand, a background setting more akin to the birds name. This proved a good move on my part as I found the bird on the beach as the few people viewing were leaving. I sat on the beach under a cloudless, sun filled sky with the Desert Wheatear performing in front of me, just 10 to 20 metres away. It was completely unfazed by my presence and was chasing insects to within a couple of feet from where I was sitting.

Two great rarities seen, and locally, which makes them all the better. The Arctic Warbler being a first for me and the x factor performance from the Desert Wheatear will be remembered for a long time.

 More of the same next weekend please.

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