I had been off all week, and today was to be my big day out. There were a few tempting birds still around, such as the PIED WHEATEAR in Gloucestershire and an ISABELLINE SHRIKE in Norfolk, but the forecast was for rain all day in the south. Then, during Wednesday afternoon, an OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT was found at Filey. The later report suggested that there were two birds present. Unfortunately, there was not much else up there to see. I knew I would have to travel up there but I didn’t hold out much hope. At least, we would be above the line where rain was predicted. So, I arranged to pick GAS up at 05-30hrs to see a bird I expected to have gone, and with no back up species either. When I arrived at GAS’s flat, it was all in darkness. He had set his alarm for Saturday. We headed off a little later than planned, at 06-00hrs.
Filey CP, North Yorkshire – It was a straight forward journey up, and we arrived at a damp Filey at 09-00hrs. We drove straight up to the small crowd gathered in the corner of the Top Shrub. There had been no reports of the OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT yet, and the birders just seemed to be hanging around. Two birders then came from further down the field, and they intimated that they had seen the OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT and it was moving up through the vegetation towards us. It suddenly was on show in front of us in a tree, but I wasn’t quick enough to get onto it. It then dropped out of view. I was told it was calling, and I could hear a Robin-like ticking. In a flash, the Olive-backed Pipit was flying above us, calling away. Twice we had flight views, and quite long flights too, and eventually it dropped back into the scrub. One birder went into look for it, and as I watched him walking, he suddenly stopped and got his camera out. I slowly walked down and realised he was watching the Olive-backed Pipit. Before I had reached him, it had move out of view again, but we waited as he walked round, delicately trying to flush it. Eventually it flew up, and I managed to see the Olive-backed Pipit perched in a small tree. We had several later views of it sitting in another tree, but by 09-45hrs, with more persistent rain, we lost track of it. GAS was sitting in the car, and so I had a walk round. I heard a Chiffchaff calling, and eventually I located a very vocal Yellow-browed Warbler calling away, but I only managed brief flight views. At last I had managed my first tick of the Autumn.
GAS at Filey
There wasn't much else to see at a wet Filey, and when the SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER came on in Cleveland, we decided to head up there. It was an hour and a half journey up, but when we arrived the Semipalmated Sandpiper was showing among a flock of 100+ Dunlin.
The Semipalmated Sand at Greatham Creek