Monday, October 17, 2016


As birders we are very lucky, in European terms, to live in the UK. Being at the westernmost edge of the continent, stuck out like a giant headland into the Atlantic, we are set to get birds from all points on the globe. This Autumn certainly has done its best to prove the point. Firstly a brace of small American Waders, followed by an Eastern European/ African traveller then Nanook of the North, so whats missing?

Its Autumn, we live on the East coast, so what else could that mean but...Sibes!

From early October a massive high pressure settled over northern Scandinavia, flanked on its southern edge by several low pressures off the Atlantic, forming an corridor of Easterly winds stretching way back towards Lake Baikal in Siberia.

Soon, they came, wind blown waifs such as Yellow-browed Warblers (only the one in our garden this year) and Red breasted Flycatchers and Little Buntings. I have been unlucky with the latter two this year due mainly to being stuck in an office all week, but on the 5th all of that would change.

I just arrived at work and logged on, when a message came through saying 'WHITE'S THRUSH in willows at the end of the straight lonnen NOW!'

If I had been standing, my legs would have given way. One of the most wanted Siberian vagrants, not on Shetland or Scilly but right here in Northumberland what should I do....

Normally I would have downed tools and legged it, but due to prior appointments this was a non starter, so after a fraught, stressed day, at 3 o'clock I finally left work and raced off up the A1 to Holy Island. No need to panic, the White's Thrush was just about hanted to one willow, and while I was there it only hopped about 2 feet. What an absolute stunning bird it was too. Cuckoo sized, golden buff and white with random black crescents scattered all over the upper and undersides.

Nothing could beat this, ever? To be continued...

White's Thrush, with my phone through another birders scope.

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