Olivaceous calling

Following on from the success of the Sykes's twitch a couple of weeks ago, the news of an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler at Flamborough Head had me salivating at the prospect of another good day's birding on the east coast. It wasn't until yesterday, however, that people were available to come along so with the news that it had been seen, Billy, Janet and I headed off to Flamborough.

Having picked up Billy from Brockholes at 9 it took us till nearly midday to get to the east coast but we parked up in the field that was used for the Brown Shrike a couple of autumns ago, paid our dues and headed down the Old Fall Hedge to the south side of the wood.

A line of birders indicated that we'd got the right place but the bird hadn't shown for a while, however, after about ten minutes I heard a tchacking sound that I though must have been the bird and a couple of minutes later, out it popped - only briefly at the base of the nearby hedge. It continued to tantalise over the next couple of hours in which I managed to get some record shots (heavily cropped though).
Typical view as it furtled around the scrub, occasionally coming right out

..one to see the primary projection but not the square ended tail.


You can see the broad based bill here
I spent far too much time trying to get a shot of it, certainly but bins and scope views in its active periods revealed its long square ended tail which it drooped repeatedly, the pale grey colouration, almost beady eye and several other features.

During this period of observation, a flock of Buzzards appeared to the west of us. In the first wave of five, there was what I and two others immediately thought was a Honey Buzzard but as no-one else connected with it, I'm having doubts now - but I know what I saw - long, flat, slightly dropped at the tip wings, classic shape with long tail compared to the Common Buzzards, barred undersides and tail. It has to have been one! the bird cirled and glided south quite quickly. Another one was claimed but all I saw were Common Buzzards as a 'kettle' of 13 circled over the headland. Hmmmmm.... on of those moment which you wished you'd just snapped a record shot rather than ogle at the spectacle? No, I just loved watching them circle away and put it down to experience - like the grey headed phyllosc that appeared briefly in the hedge!!! aaargh!

We eventually decided to walk around the rest of the headland in order to connect with some other goodies that were about. Billy eventually saw a few Lapland Buntings fly up from one of the stubble fields which I heard and we spectacularly missed a Barred Warbler by seconds - plenty of Whitethroats, a couple of Stonechats and a Lesser Whitethroat though.

We decided to call in at Hornsea Mere to see if the Crane was still showing and after half an hour of searching  for a view point I noticed it through a gap in the trees in a bay on the northern bank. A Black-necked Grebe was directly in line with it on the Mere and we also had Red-crested Pochard, Greenshank and Ruff.
Black-necked Grebe (Bill Aspin)
Crane ( Bill Aspin)
There was only one way to end the day - Fish and Chips by the seaside, feeding the excess to the ever hopeful gulls on the beach. The journey back was amazingly swift - we left Hornsea at 7pm, went through Beverley and were in Blackburn just after 9pm. The night was clear and we wondered if the Olivaceous would be present for the weekend crowd. The weather looks very interesting for the next week and the news of a Purple Heron at Martin Mere may point the way to tomorrow's wanderings.
A very late lunch in the car-park field

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