Saturday, September 27, 2008

Who said brown was dull ?

The 'front line' at dawn

Full retreat to Lighthouse Road !

Diagnostic T6, juvenile Brown Shrike Mongolia 2004

The car was loaded and ready, Steve had just pulled up on the drive and a text came through which cut me to the bone, 'BROWN SHRIKE OLD FALL FLAMBOROUGH NOW'. Our plans for a couple of days birding and ringing at Buckton had just got very interesting !

We collected Ed and headed north into the fog. We arrived at Buckton at 11pm and put up a few nets in the dark, the conditions were prefect - flat calm and warm. We then headed for a very short nights sleep at Flamborough Lighthouse car park (not helped by the police women shining her torch in my face at 3am).

Dawn broke with calling Yellow-brows and continuing flat calm conditions. The boys had arrived and the front lines were massed. The signal went up and audible relief and excitement abounded. After a bit of repositioning the eastern executor was on show.

Representing the first mainland and only Britain's 5th ever record this was a true star bird, not only that but it was an adult and stunning. The bird in the pics above was one of several juveniles I caught whilst in Mongolia in 2004, juveniles can be tricky to seperate from Isabelline Shrike with the border pattern of tail feather T6 being a simple diagnostic feature with a trapped bird. No worries like this with the Flamborough adult. After a bit of helping out with the organising we had a look for other birds.

Other bird in the general area included 3 Yellow-browed Warblers, Brambling and a Red-backed Shrike, the later in view with the Brown Shrike which dwarfed it. Redwings were fizzing around and the golf course held a plethora of alba and Yellow Wagtails.

We left Flamborough and headed for Buckton - Dave Waudby was one step ahead of us and called with news of a Yellow-browed and good numbers of migrants. It was going to be a great day.

(Thanks to Tony for the Flamborough Brown Shrike pic and Ed for the crowd pics)

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