Monday, May 01, 2023

Northumberland scores the big one!

 At a risk of slipping into full blown twitching vernacular, but, some birds deserve it!

This morning, Gary Woodburn was on patch counting an arrival of Hooded Crows. He had passed the Low Newton scrapes in one direction and was on his way back up on the return walk when he struck not only Patch Gold, but also County, UK and Western Palearctic Gold too with the most preposterous of  MEGAs. Britain's first GREY-HEADED LAPWING non the less.

Grey-headed Lapwing, Low Newton, Northumberland.

When the first message arrived in our WhatsApp group, time seemed to pause briefly. I could almost hear the rest of the Northumberland WhatsApp Group members thinking, 'A what?' 

This is not a species we have ever seen on the bird info services or in our magazines, so whilst I had heard of them, I had no idea of the range or likelihood of vagrancy so did a quick bit of Googling.

The oracle 'Wiki' gave me  - 

'The grey-headed lapwing (Vanellus cinereus) is a lapwing species which breeds in northeast China and Japan. The mainland population winters in northern Southeast Asia from northeastern India to Cambodia. The Japanese population winters, at least partially, in southern Honshū.

This species has occurred as a vagrant in Russia, the PhilippinesIndonesiaNew South WalesAustralia and Sri Lanka.[1]'

Then, in a more European context, birds were seen in Turkey in 2018, Norway and Sweden in 2019 and it has been mooted a potential vagrant to the UK.

Dutch Birding magazine reported, when discussing the 2019 bird, that there were none or very few  birds in captivity to make escape potential an issue.

As is the way on Bank Holidays, there are always family commitments to fulfill so it wasn't until mid afternoon before I could dash the six miles from home where I was relieved to find the bird quite comfortable, feeding and wandering around the meadow as if it had been born there. Good scope views were had but it was always a bit distant for my photography.

Grey headed Lapwing all the way from  the Orient arrives at Low Newton, Northumberland.

It appeared as if the whole of the UK birding community was descending on Low Newton and as time went on those from further ranges began to arrive. Somerset, Wales, Norfolk, Herts, Staffs, Scotland etc all converged in this small village for a view of this Eastern Peewit, hopefully a British 'First'.

I manged a few in the field scribbles to get some shapes and feeling down, so will colour them up and elaborate them soon. In the meantime, here's a little shaky video...



derek said...

It wasn't a garden tick then? I knew it was in your neck of the woods, but unsure how close you were.

The Wessex Reiver said...

Nice one Stewart - and the chap who saw it. It's got a look of a stone curlew about it. Northumberland does it again - nice posting, thank you.

Stewart said...

Derek - If only! 6 miles away but near enough.
Andrew - Cheers Like a Woodpigeon I thought...