A Two-lifer Day - Oriental Praticole and Iberian Chiffchaff


What a good day's birding/twitching yesterday. I had started down on my local patch, checking the reservoir and Whitebirk where there wasn't much out of the ordinary, though three territorial Sedge Warblers and two Whitethroats were good news. Up at Parsonage Reservoir, the water level was full (being pumped from elsewhere) so it looks like the Little and Great Crested Grebes should have a chance. I called in at Tim and Janet's for a coffee and the news that the Oriental Pratincole had been seen, so we packed up our stuff and headed east.

We hadn't gone far when we got the news of an Iberian Chiffchaff at Potteric Carr, Doncaster - well that was just a mile from the A1 so I decided that we should call in there first. The last time I was here was ages ago - a pair of Little Bitterns nested there in the eighties. At that time you had to take you life in your hands and avoid the trains but nowadays it's a huge, managed reserve. The bird in question was a two mile hike away (actually next to the motorway embankment so after a bit of a route march we approached the area where I could immediately hear the bird singing chiff chaff chiff chaff sweee sweee swee. It was some way off to start with but it came into a nearby hawthorn all-too-briefly where I could hear a couple more cher notes at the end of the song before it headed off into the poplars. Managed to get a couple of shots though.

Having had several reasonable views, we traipsed back to the car park noting that it was a place worth visiting in the future and spending some time at and headed off to Lincolnshire.

It was about ten past three by the time we arrived at Frampton Marsh. This place looks really good and is basically a replacement for Titchwell when it succumbs to the sea. We got our direction to the Pratincole and set off on another hike briefly noting some of the birds around us as we went. It was hard not to pause and watch the splendid Yellow Wagtails but we were determined in our quarry and soon we were watching the Oriental Pratincole as it hawked back and forth between its two favoured resting places.
Though you couldn't see it from any of my images, it had a nice ruddy underwing with no pale trailing edge to the secondaries and a short stubby tail (which you can see).

Whilst we were there, a Jack Shipe appeared right in front of me and several Greenshank flew over.
Once our appetite for the star bird had been sated, we took time out in the East Hide where three Little Gulls hawked over the pools and this splendid male Wheatear posed.
Hmmmmm.... nice!

We spent another couple of hours here enjoying all the Yellow Wagtails and waders such as Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, Avocet, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Curlew Sandpipers. I would definitely recommend this place to others - it looks like it will get better over the next few years. Just wish the RSPB would do something similar on the west coast - all we get is a draughty shelter on HOM!

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