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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A local Pectoral more than makes up for ducking out on a Masked Shrike ... who cares!!

Been rarities aplenty up and down the east coast these past few weeks and if I was a confirmed 'twitcher' I'd be pretty gutted not to see the UK's 3rd ever and Yorkshire's first Masked Shrike at Spurn, not to mention Sabines Gull, Olive Backed Pipit and Pallid Harrier at the same location but in truth I'm not too fussed. There's something I don't quite like about attending a major 'twitch' and be in amongst hordes of lens laden, khaki clad birders on a mission! Nothing against twitching per se, and if I'm already somewhere like Spurn I'm not gonna ignore a rarity of course, its just not my scene to go chasing.

Here's the bird they've all been raving about though.
Masked Shrike (juvenile)
Juvenile Masked Shrike, Spurn (3rd UK record)
Its still there as I write this but I doubt if I'll have time to go see. I've no idea what my UK or world list is (should I be? Is this is maybe why I'm not into twitching?) but I know I've seen a Masked Shrike ... in Israel, plenty of them, so I'm not tempted!

A few weeks ago I had 4 Whinchats, a Redstart and 2 Spotted Flycatchers on my patch at Strensall Common, just up the road from me and I was amazed. Not rarities of course but to me far more memorable!

Autumn is the time for wind blown rarities and they can turn up anywhere. This Pectoral Sandpiper turned up on Hatfield Moor recently and this is my mate Mark's patch so it don't count as a twitch!

Unlike most of the rarities that turn up on the east coast in Autumn, Pectoral Sandpipers hail not from Europe but from North America and although well off track from their destinations in South America a few turn up every year across the UK but normally on the west coast so this is a good bird for Hatfield.

Northern Wheatear

There were a couple of Little Stints there too as well as a Northern Wheatear and a Whinchat but the light was so poor the pics are not great.

Little Stint
Common Darter (female/ imm male)
So whilst I'm on it and in catch up mode from a Summer of 'non blogging' here's a few pics from recent visits to Hatfield earlier in the year, starting with some splendid Dragonflies.

Common Darter (female/ imm male)

Common Hawker?

Migrant Hawker.. in Mark's garden!

...........and here's a sight for sore eyes and a tribute to one man's determination to get on his bike and not let a mere broken leg get in the way of getting out and about!

Mark back on his bike 2 months after his leg was broken in 100 places after a motorbike accident.. good on yer mate!

High summer seems like a life time away now but it really was another good one for butterflies .... here's a Small Skipper on Hatfield, closely followed by Gatekeeper ....

Small Skipper
.... and everyone loves a good Peacock!
Peacock Butterfly on Thistle heads.

Wall Butterfly

Not on Hatfield but in my very own garden and a first for my little since departed plot ... a Wall butterfly on the grass!


Here's my Hatfield parting shot, a Willow Warbler perched high up on the perimeter fence of Lindholme prison ... it was singing free as a bird!

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