Like many others I have been following the Flamborough flycatcher saga since the first images were posted. It seems to look like an Atlas Flycatcher, but can Iberian be ruled out, or is it really just a very odd Pied Fly or hybrid. Had to see for myself.
We headed up the A1 to find a lovely sunny Flamborough Head-quite unlike the cold damp Hertfordshire of recent weeks. A quick check while getting the car park ticket suggested we would not have to search much as the crowd was only a few yards down the road.
Did not take long for the bird to appear and it perched on a branch for some time before flying off. Eventually it came back and spent a lot of time in and around a Sycamore in the valley. On a couple of occasions it interacted with Chiffchaffs and a pair of Spotted Flyctachers, but generally kept to itself. The large amount of white on the wings, the large forehead patch and the very black upperparts made it look very different to the normal Pied Flys. As to what it is eventually determined to be well I have no real idea. I am more in the Iberian/Atlas camp than hybrid but thats as far as my meagre knowledge goes.
On the way back, bumped into Bill Last, Mike Illet and Darrel Bryant and had a quick chat.
Decided to do a bit of dudey birding and visit the auk colony at Bempton. The Tree Sparrows in the car park were very vocal as we walked through. From the various viewpoints, the huge number of auks was great to see, and I managed to get close to filling up my 16 Gb cards. Big problem was I just had the manual focus 500mm, but the success rate was pretty good. The real challenge was to get the Gannets, but I found a spot where they were hanging in the wind and obtained some good results.
More to post later.
Heading back we called in again at Flamborough North Landing as I had directions to a pool where the Wood Sandpiper was showing. Views were distant. Large numbers of hirundines around the pool.
Drove down to Framton near Boston, narrowly avoiding several crashes involving very bad driving by other drivers seemingly incapable of negotiating junctions and roundabouts. On the way we hit heavy rain showers and finally arrived at a very cold wet Frampton Marsh.
Two Black Winged Stilts could be observed from the visitors centre. The were hunkered down out of the cold wind and rain. we decided to try and get to them on our return, but they did not linger.
We drove down to the sea wall and watched a Bonxie devour a coot.
Large numbers of hirundines and swifts were flying low over every pool and the grazing fields held a few Whimbrel, some lingering Brents and various wildfowl. From the 360 hide we scanned for a Garganey without success but got a fine Yellow wagtail and both Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers. As we left, the Swallows and martins were starting to congregate on the fence wires.
Got home fairly quickly along the new A47, and enjoyed a barn Owl in the process.