Monday, 21 August 2017

Well that was unexpected

While I was travelling home from Portland at dusk this evening, the radio football commentator John Murray said of the weather in Manchester that it felt more like October than August. I know what he meant having just seen an American passerine at Culverwell - the sort of thing that you might expect in the second half of October but not so much in the second half of August. Then again Yellow Warbler is an earlier migrant compared to other warblers, and with one arriving earlier in the day in Ireland on the back of Hurricane Gert, perhaps something special was to be expected in Britain. 

A moderately frantic dash after work was required to see this extreme rarity. The choice facing me on arrival was park at the Bill and run back up the hill or leave the car in Southwell and canter down. I figured the latter would be marginally more dignified and efficient, but only the tops of the trees at Culverwell were catching the sun as I wheezed my way to the end of a line of assembled birders. Fortunately Dave Gibbs, last seen on our Gull of Kintyre twitch, was there to point out the warbler almost immediately and the fading light then seemed to spur it on to a vigorous bout of fly-catching and calling. With thanks to Jol and Steve for alerting me to its presence, and to Marcus for the lift to spare my aching hips the walk back to Southwell. These are the best of several photographs snatched as dusk approached. More may follow when I have calmed down a bit.