Sunday, November 16, 2008

Its a mystery...



Above - Sunrise over Boulmer haven, 07.43am.



Above - Kestrel.



Above - Robin.

Today was much cooler than yesterday. I was out at first light to meet JWR at Boulmer. After a quick check of the haven where a juv Mute Swan on the sea was the highlight, I drove to the golfcourse laybye to scan for owls or raptors.

No sooner had John arrived than a 'tinkling' of 9 Snow Buntings flew west over head, closely followed by a Merlin fresh out of its roost landing on the plough in front of us.

From here we walked around Seaton Point where we checked the area for yesterdays Lapland Buntings. Our walk around the point had Snow Buntings a plenty with 7 S, 1 N and 3 W bringing the total to 20 birds.

A check of the stubble had loads of Grey Partridges with 9, 8, 4 and 11 in coveys totalling 32 birds. Over head 177 Pink footed Geese flew south. There was no sign of the large flock of small birds, maybe they had been driven off by the Kestel, Buzzard and the Merlin from earlier loafing around the margins.

At 10am we did an atlas tetrad just west of Seaton Point where only 23 species were recorded. The Merlin was seen again this time chasing a Snipe we had flushed. This Snipe was in full escape mode leaving the Merlin standing...

It was on the return journey we came across the survey highlight...

Near Field House Farm we both saw a pale grey passerine flit across the lane ahead of us. This stopped us dead because neither of us had a clue as to what it was. I only saw its rear end as it disappeared into the hedge and it looked Willow Tit coloured. I suggested to John that this could be interesting and we should consider our options. Could it be a Booted or a Desert Warbler perhaps????!!! JWR suggested it was a ghost. ( Some people are just to keen to shoot you down aren't they...)

After a couple of glimpses later its true identity was confirmed, and I suppose we had known all along...






... a leucistic BLACKCAP! And it was a female too, eating some elderberries while we watched. I've never seen anything like it...Many years ago I had a white Linnet at Druridge, a half white Corn Bunting at Woodhorn and even a white Carrion Crow at Boulmer but I've never had a white warbler...

12 comments:

Dean said...

It`s a little belter that one Stewart.
I always enjoy seeing unusually plumaged birds. So thanks for shaing that one.

The Grocer said...

Good shots, I'll look out for it south through the winter. Apparently a Little Egret was on the Aln this morning.

Newton Stringer said...

I saw a leucistic redwing once, that was very strange looking too... just a really pale sandy colour all over...

Warren Baker said...

An interesting bird there BB. Of all the Blackcaps to over winter, it was this one!

Stewart said...

Hi all, yes it was different. NS you reminded me I saw a cream coloured Redwing a few years back in the Simonside Hills, that gave us a reality check too. WB we dont get too many wintering Blackcaps here so this one is doubly scarce...

Steve Gale said...

Oh bugger, I'll have to take that Desert Warbler off of my list now...

Alastair said...

I once saw a pure, 'Fairy Snow' white Sand Martin. For the first few seconds until reality kicked in (and I realised all the birds around it were Sand Martins) I thought I must be looking at a Fairy Tern. Also a leucistic Common Gull passed Dungeness but as I was sitting next to Pete Grant I wasn't going to get away with anything with that one ....

abbey meadows said...

That would have had the old adrenaline flowing. John was right to about it being a ghost!

Martin said...

That Blackcap would have had me bricking it.

Stewart said...

Oh yes, it got the adrenalin going for an instant but we just knew it wasn't right...for anything!

foggy said...

I bet these thoughts were going through your mind
a boulmer first
a first for northumberland perhaps
a first for britain perhaps
nope just an oddbod blackcap

Stewart said...

Not quite Chris. It went -
Whats that?
Willow Tit?
No Blackcap/ Garden Warbler?
Please God be a Booted or something,
Oh I thought so, its a Blackcap.