Saturday, 14 November 2015

Crag Martin in Chesterfield November 2015

At 12:30hrs on Sunday 8th November, news started filtering out that a CRAG MARTIN was circling around the crooked spire at Chesterfield. It was less than an hour and a half away, but Sunday dinner was already being prepared. I contacted CJW and he said he would wait for me until after dinner. It’s always a tricky day for me, and I wasn’t really sure that I could escape during the afternoon anyway. PJ got in touch, and eventually I persuaded them to set off straight away without waiting for me. It flew around until 12:40hrs and then flew off, returning again from 13:30hrs to 13:50hrs. CJW and PJ arrived and they waited all afternoon for it to return again, but it didn’t. 

It was a bit of a surprise that it was again present on Monday morning. I was travelling in between work locations when the news broke, and I was actually parked up at Westport. The situation at work was perfect, and I decided to go for it there and then. I was prepared anyway, and all my equipment was in the trailer behind the car. It was a very easy journey considering the time of day, and I arrived in Chesterfield at 09:40hrs. I drove straight up to the church, and as I drove past I could see the Crag Martin flying around. I managed to find my way into the town centre, and found a large turning area right by the church. It was covered in double yellow lines but I just stood by the car and managed a few more views, including once when it almost came overhead. It was still raining, and so I drove back round the front of the church, pulled up in the lay by there and waited for a further sighting, but it had drifted off again. I decided not to push my luck any further (I was after all only a phone call away from being in deep trouble!) and headed back to Stoke.   

Despite being on a late shift, CJW went on news on Tuesday morning and was succesful this time, and incredibly, the Crag Martin lingered all afternoon at the site allowing GAS to finally arrive. An unusual occasion where we all travelled separately for a tick.

Following a few days with no sign, it suddenly reappeared on Friday. I was off and so I decided to pop back to Chesterfield for seconds and try to get a photo. The sky was blue and the Crag Martin was again zipping all over the place, especially as the wind was quite strong. But I managed to get these full framers. I'm almost certain I would have had some of these shots published in Birding World, but instead I will send one off to British Birds for the front cover of the 2015 Rarity report. Magic!