A Flycatcher with the weight of the twitching world on its shoulders

I have been checking Rishton Reservoir every morning before work but it has been rather disappointing with just two Little Ringed Plovers before they were moved on through disturbance from fishermen and a maximum of three Common Sandpipers. Four pairs of Great Crested Grebes have now dwindles down to a sustainable two and the recent rain has helped get the reservoir level to one twhere they may be able to nest successfully. There have been few migrants around. Swallow and Willow Warbler numbers have ben low and I've only just recorded my first Sedge Warblers back along the canal (three singing males).

Subsequently, it didn't take much persuading for me to join Mark and Margaret Breaks on a trip to Flamborough Head at the weekend to try and see the 'Atlas' Flycatcher that had taken up residence. We got really good views of the bird as it actively fed in the South Landing valley (don't know why they've cut all the trees down but it made easier viewing!).

The great and the good have debated this bird and I believe that some feathers are being DNA checked as we speak! Reading the literature it seems that it's either an Atlas/Iberian Pied Flycatcher or perhaps a hybrid. It certainly had a large white forehead spot (in comparison to some Lancashire Pieds I watched the following day) and the white on the wing was extensive.The bird still retained its browner juvenile flight and tail feathers and so could be aged as a second calendar year bird. We'll wait for the verdict I guess.
There were a few other birds to see here. Yellowhammer, Spotted Flycatcher, Blackcaps, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat were all good to see/hear.


Of course a trip to this area at this time of year necessitated a visit to Bempton Cliffs which, even with a stiff Northerly wind, was good value. Loads of seabirds including Puffins - nice!

You know why these are smelly places.....


Just as I was nearing home, Gareth Morgan (aka Casper) texted me about a Yellow Wagtail on the shore of Rishton Res so I rapidly diverted my course and successfully saw the bird on the far shoreline.

I did a spot of ringing at Marks place on Sunday - lots of Goldfinches and plenty of Mipits on the fence posts...

Meadow Pipit
A Cuckoo and several Redstarts were singing and Pied Flycatchers were around but not in numbers. Another Yellow Wagtail flew over. The weather is still ridiculously cold for the time of year though a few House Martins are back at a regular nest site now and Swallows were over my garden for the first time this year today!!! Will Spring return?


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