I'd only left the county once during April so far, and we had discussed the possibility of going on a trip this weekend. North Wales did seem rather tempting with a SUBALPINE WARBLER and WOODCHAT SHRIKE, but the recent GOLDEN ORIOLE on Anglesey had not been reported recently.
Staffordshire had been quite productive this Spring, but in the last few days, the winds had swung back round to the north and the migrants had dried up somewhat. Highlight of the week though was Mr Graham Mant's excellent finding of Blithfield's second ever Whiskered Tern on Wednesday 24th April. Fortunately due to a late shift, I was able to pop down as soon as news broke, and we enjoyed distant views as the tern fed at the bottom of Blithe Bay.
Whiskered Tern at Blithfield. Photo's by Dave Kelsall
On Saturday we headed over to Spurn for the Rock Thrush, but unfortunately it had done an overnight flit following a two day stay. We did see a few Whimbrel, Grey Plover and a drake Long-tailed Duck and three Little Tern on Beacon Ponds.
We headed up the road to Flamborough Head. Our target bird here was an IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF, but not just an ordinary IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF. This was a none singing bird, expertly identified by Birding Frontier's Martin Garner. We parked in the lighthouse carpark and walked round to join the small group that were stood on the pavement outside the coastguard cottages. There had been no sign of the IBE CHIFF for about an hour, and it was rumoured that it did a huge circuit that included the Old Fall hedge. We stood and waited, musing about what an excellent day we'd had when one spotter suddenly pointed at a bush. I also heard a bird calling, and it was different. We were soon watching the Iberian Chiffchaff flit in and out of the willows, calling away. The bird was quite bright, and in some ways had an almost Wood Warbler like appearance, appearing quite bulky and almost white underneath. It certainly was a striking bird. A full report and photo's appear on the Yorkshire Coast nature blog.
We just had time for one more place to visit. And we chose Bempton. Standing on the cliff tops with the north wind still blowing was bracing to say the least. We managed to see a few auks, a few Gannets, Kittiwake, Fulmar and several Puffins flying in.