Monday, 17 October 2016

Autumn finally gets going - Siberian Accentor at Easington

During the afternoon of Thursday 13th October, news was released that there was a SIBERIAN ACCENTOR at Easington in East Yorkshire. It had been wildly predicted that more would arrive following the first Shetland bird, but no one expected it only a matter of days after the first for Britain. 

There were no issues at all in organising everyone for this twitch. Amazingly everyone was available. Except for CJW who was due to meet a friend in York for the day, and PLo was at work, and PJ was heading down to Norfolk for a few days. Oh and it was my last day at work before being off for a week. 

I arrived with CJW at 06:00hrs and we parked in the old bus depot just off the square in Easington. The place was already rammed even at this hour, and when we walked up Vicars Lane to get in position, we were met with a crowd of 200+ already crammed round a small gap in the hedge. It was six or seven deep at this stage and I couldn't even see the floor. If it was still present, and on view, then it would have to be eight foot off the ground for me to see it.

Tensions were already running high. Two lads next to me had a very intense argument, only for the bloke standing next to them to get involved as well. There were also rumblings that other birders were wading into the hedge and getting too close. The wardens arrived but nothing was done about it. 

Then, all of a sudden, the large crowd that we were stood in moved forward en masse into the hedge. It was the weirdest co-ordinated thing you'd ever seen. Then more arguments erupted; my favourite was the one when someone accused the person next to him of leaning on him. Apparently he didn't like it. Forget the scopes permanently being banged in your face, its the leaning he didn't like! It was becoming a fantastic spectacle.

This made the volunteers move in. They started telling everyone to move out of the wood and start to form a queue by the fence. I quickly thought that if I was first in the queue, then I would see the bird first, and so I stood where I was supposed to. A queue was slowly forming, and the wood/hedge was slowly emptying until.....the Siberian Accentor came into view. Everyone legged it back into the wood. Fortunately I managed to see it straight away perched on the skip, but CJW, who was stood in front of me, was just slightly too short to see over the crowd. I was trying my best to find him a gap, and (bizarrely when we discussed it afterwards) I even tried to pick him up so he could see it. 

As requested, after seeing the bird we walked to the back of the queue, and eventually the whole twitch became a well organised event. On every visit, the light became better and I even managed a bit of video. As to the other Clayheads, well PLo eventually turned up at 07:30hrs following his lie in, and PJ had stayed the night in Easington on the way to Norfolk and we eventually caught up with him. It was another fantastic and memorable occasion.  

We headed off to Kilnsea where we enjoyed quite a decent few minutes of birding. A Shore Lark was showing well by the Bluebell Cafe. Then we met up again with the @AngryYoungBirders from earlier in the crowd, and they had just found an OBP (thats Olive-backed Pipit for those who struggle with abbreviations). We stood and waited and eventually it flew out of the grass calling. A Jack Snipe was showing well from the canal scrape hide and then we had a Woodcock in flight.

We met up with Russell B and wandered up to the churchyard but in the end we decided to head back up to Vicars Lane. By now, the crowds had died down, and we could have as long as we wanted at the front of the crowd. The light was better and with the bird showing down to a few feet, we had quite good views.

Siberian Accentor at Easington

Exhaustion was now setting in, so we headed off to Hull for some dinner. As we drove back, news broke of a PIED WHEATEAR on Flamborough Head. With the chance of a "Basil Brush" for CJW, we headed off as soon as the sat nav was reset. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, it had flown off and there was no further sign. We headed over to Bempton where we spent an hour or two chasing a vocal Dusky Warbler. Another fantastic day out on the East coast.

CJW's compilation video follows