Thursday, November 03, 2022

Hero in a half-pipe...

 As dusk fell on Tuesday night news was released that a nice first winter male Pied Wheatear had been found at Whitley Bay sea front, along the prom.

A lady walking her dog had noticed a 'wheatear', thought it was a bit late in the season, and contacted local birder Alan Jack. Alan was sufficiently intrigued by the report to check it out. You can only imagine his delight when the bird popped up and was not a late Northern Wheatear or even the quite similar looking Desert Wheatear  ! The WhatsApp group message duly arrived complete with some gripping snaps of the bird.

For many a new Northumberland birder this would be a county tick, but I have seen two already, one at Tynemouth in December 1998 and another at Newbiggin in October 2004. Both birds were females so this nice male was very tempting.

As I was working from the office on Wednesday, I planned to take a lunchtime trip for a look, ala Bluetail recently. 

On arrival the prom and beach were busy with walkers etc and the bird had been lost. However, not to worry, it soon came back to its favoured zone in the Skate Park where it looked very incongruous hopping around the graffitied half-pipes and associated detritus. On two occasions the poor thing hopped down to pick up small bits of plastic, only for them to be discarded again when it realised it wasn't an insect.

Occasionally the bird would drop down and sit only a few feet away from us over the boundary wall giving point blank views.

I'd imagine that will be the excitement over for another autumn now, but you never know...

Pied Wheatear, Whitley Bay Skate Park. 

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