On Friday the weather continued in a similar vein as recently with a high pressure giving a cool, clear and sunny morning at 2 degrees first thing.
The first dog walk of the day resulted in a new one for the year list as a Sedge Warbler sang from blackthorn on the coast path.
I was working at the computer in the bedroom when a WhatsApp from Gary Woodburn came through telling of a Red throated Pipit he had just found at Newton Pool.
Now, Red throated Pipit is possibly my commonest full lifer outstanding from my list. Other birds I have seen abroad but I cant think of anything on the British List more regular that I have not seen anywhere, so my ears perked up at this message.
In Northumberland there has not been a properly twitchable one for about 30 years so I wasn't holding out much hope for this early bird. I fully expected it to have flown off high, North, calling within 10 minutes, so a direct message to Gary asking for a Sit Rep ( Line of Duty there) was quickly dispatched. Surprisingly the reply was positive though mixed. The bird was still present on Embleton Golf Course but the greens were filling up rapidly with Pringle sweaters. Would they scupper my chances?
As the bird was only 5 miles from home, I quickly clocked off work and headed off up the road. I arrived after a road block stoppage, to find only 4 birders present and the bird not seen for 20 minutes having last been watched about 300 yards away on the other side of the course.
The heat haze was building and the golfers were buzzing here and there when miles away a small bird in short grass looked different. At 50x zoom in the Swaro, it looked 'warmer' than the other pipits dotted around. We sat in expectation waiting for the golfers to flush the flock when one of two things would happen. They would fly closer and land, or they would do a bunk altogether. Unbelievably the first option won, with the 6+ Meadow Pipits, 1 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Yellowhammers plus the 'bird' all lifted and flew at least 50% closer onto the nearer fairway. We soon picked it out, still very distant but now confirmed as my lifer Red throated Pipit!
This was the pattern for the next hour but generally the bird stayed a bit too far to be called a good observation. Tickable views but hardly satisfying.
|Above, Top, the Golf Club house where I parked.Bottom the view just off the golf course to Dunstanburgh Castle.|
|Thats it above the gorse...|
Saturday was another glorious cold morning. I was up at 5.50am to collect my Bucket Moth Trap from out Village Wood. When I got back, Gary rang me in error from his coat pocket. From the garbled voices I knew he was back on the golf course. Maybe the bird was still there? All of a sudden Gary messaged me saying if I wanted a second view the Pipit was showing very well on the green with no golfers yet.
This was too good a chance to miss, so off I went for a look. On arrival from the south end this time, our rusty faced Anthus was back in the same place as yesterday, out on the edge of science, miles off!
Ah well, I'll give it a chance , at least I had already seen it.
As we waited a Barn Owl, one of two here, winged along the far edge of the course lifting the small birds and they flew, again half way out. Today the haze was much less so even this was a good view in the scope, When the first round of Arnold Palmers arrived they helped coax the bird even closer now on the nearest fairway giving nice views. All of a sudden they lifted again and landed right out from us on the nearest green! We manged a few shots here, but missed a great opportunity when the Pipit landed only 12 feet from Gary. As we fumbled in panic, the bird lifted again and headed North towards the main pool ending our audience for the morning.
Still it was a much better performance than on Friday and some record shots were a bonus.
Red throated Pipit UK List 421 , Northumberland List 354 .
|Above - Red throated Pipit, Embleton Golf Course 24/04/21|