Sunday, August 09, 2009

Lucky Icky.....

and maybe not so lucky too....

Out with JWR this morning, we headed up the coast to Fenham le Moor to look for waders on the Lindisfarne mud flats. The day was nice and fine with some darker looking clouds. The weather was humid with a hint of south east breeze. On arrival the tide had turned and the birds on the flats were all too distant, so, not wanting to be beat we headed north of the hide, along a farm dump track to look from there where the light was much better. The birds weren't. Great if you like Curlews and Redshank but there was nothing else with them.

John has recently splashed out on a new digital SLR with a 400mm zoom lens and was keen to give it a go. As it was quiet we chatted while he dabbled with aperture settings and phrases such as 'sweet spot' and 'F stop' kept cropping up. We were getting quite bemused with all this techno-babble so he rattled a few butterfly shots off because the birds were too distant.

A movement in the hedge behind me caught my eye as a small bird flipped up onto the top right in the open. With the naked eye I could see it was a yellow warbler, so I flippantly said 'Icterine there' and lifted my bins. This is where the shock came. In my view, right out in the open, in nice sunshine was not the expected juvvy Willow Warbler. It was a belter of an Icterine Warbler! My camera was in the car, so I got John onto the bird and suggested that he get some shots before it moved. Instead of just pointing an shooting, John began a cautious stalk towards the hedge. Big mistake this, as the bird jumped over the back and vanished without so much as a click of the shutter...a grand's worth of camera and nothing to show except for some Wall Browns!

We briefly relocated it a few hundred metres to the south next to the hide before it carried on its journey through the hedges with 2 Willow Warblers and a Whitethroat for comparison...

A very early date for Icky, but the slight south easterly obviously had an effect.



Above - Notes taken immediately after the sighting hence the scribbled text....The pale wing panel was very obvious but maybe not as obvious as this?

Fired up we spent the rest of the morning on the Snook at Holy Island seeing not one migrant...




We had to make do with some flowers and dragonflies when two Common or Migrant Hawkers chased around the dune slack, and these Autumn Gentian ( top) and Marsh Helleborine (bottom)were in the dunes.



Back home... Enchanter's Nightshade (top) and Comma (below).

8 comments:

Ipin said...

Nice one Stew!

Alan Tilmouth said...

Lovely sketches Stewart, I'm intrigued though 'flipping flies' is that a new Icterine behaviour your submitting to BB or a comment on the local insect population?

Big Yin said...

Cracking bird! I drove past there on Sunday morning on my way back to Oban but it was in the dark. Cheers for the moth ID.

abbey meadows said...

Another good record. Pity john didn't get a shot of it. Like the flower pics.

PCF said...

Good spot. Makes you wonder how many of the little bighters get through un-noticed.

Warren Baker said...

bet your chuffed to bits with that one Stewart! I was happy with my Whinchat today!

Stewart said...

Warren - A good bird, but not on the patch. It would be better had it been 20 miles further south!

Ta for the comments all...

Emma Anderson said...

A fascinating account of your meeting with the Ictarine Warbler. The illustration from your notebook is wonderful - Do you carry watercolours with you or colour it when you get home?