Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Dilemma (location)

Under the current restrictions, finding and reporting rare birds has become a little tricky. I am probably going to lose a few friends over this one.

If you openly publish the whereabouts of a rarity, a number of people will hop in their cars and travel 30 miles, stand close to others, get involved in conversations and not stay safe.

Since the restrictions I have not used my car except for one big shop each week and even that terrifies me. I have noticed some people travelling to birding sites (using the ambiguous Government messages to justify their actions).

So when this post goes live I will be vague about the location and hope that walkers and cyclists are the only birders I see on my trip. I will also be unable to tell anyone the precise location. As good birders walking near suitable habitat will be able to locate the bird when singing. To make matters worse it is currently in an awkward place and two or more birders would end up very close together if they attempted to get close. Please also remember that bird hides are not the best places to enter unless you are alone. Hopefully this bird will linger for days maybe weeks and may move to a more open location. If that is the case I will update my sightings. 

It has to be an everyone or no one choice. Unfortunately some reports appear rather too quickly on the Whatsapp Group and encourage even greater numbers to visit. The Hoopoe was a case recently.


Savi's Warbler

Druridge Bay


Sound File above
Bird seen twice, briefly, very close.
Dull Chocolate Brown/Grey Warbler
Dull grey supercillium

Well I think it is now OK to reveal the location of the Savi's Warbler. The bird was at Cresswell Pond. Unfortunately it was not visible from any easy location. As travel restrictions were in force the narrow path down to the hide meant (and still does) that access is not easy maintaining 2m distance) when passing someone walking in the opposite direction. This is the main reason I have only been back to the site four times. If I noticed people in the hide I stopped walking at the causeway and headed back home.

As local birders will know the location from the above video. The Willows on the right side when approaching the hide back on to the reedbed. There is a very small trampled path under the Willows. Looking through here the Savis was first heard and with patience seen twice briefly. Sadly it never stayed in view long enough for a photo. I decided I needed to record its song. So pointed the camera on video mode and recorded. Knowing the quality might be poor I then used a sound app on my phone to add evidence. Hence the first clip. However the second video does give the song in the context of the location.

I always enjoy seeing unusual birds in Northumberland and sharing my sightings so others can enjoy them too. I apologise to those who would have loved to add this bird to their list. It is at present a very rare bird in our county. However, as with Cetti's, I am sure it will be a bird recorded more frequently in the coming years.

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