Monday, 3 September 2012

Corncrake, American Black Tern, and Arctic Warbler

Friday evening gone was very memorable; a Corncrake was trapped and ringed at Hartlepool Headland! I have only ever heard the species previously in Orkney and with much frustration had to give in and admit I wasn’t going to see it no matter how long I stood. It was more than a treat to see one in the hand; I must confess I was expecting something a little larger but the bird was still as spectacular as it looks in pictures I’ve seen.

(Corncrake - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

Saturday I went into dirty horrible rotten twitching mode, I foolishly decided to go for the American Black Tern on news. It turned up closer; but hardly! When I arrived I was charged about £9000 to park and had distant views of the bird alongside a Black Tern. Was a good comparison as it flew beside a Black Tern but viewing was tricky. Nothing else around, apart from every family and their screaming children, but not that many dogs. Then ‘The Chairman” rang to say Steve H had found a Pectoral Sandpiper on Lambton Flash, the one day I don’t check! Cest’ la vie! I decided to go and see that before going back home, then there was a rude interruption from a text that informed us that there was an Arctic Warbler on Flamborough Head; not a Greenish Warbler (as was reported). I was at Wetherby services and so I stuck in Flam Head into the sat nav and arrived at around 05.30.

(Arctic Warbler - copyright Martin Garner

(Arctic Warbler - copyright Lee Johnson)

Groans and moans all the way down to Old Fall plantation only to learn it wasn’t in that nightmare of a place, it had moved into Old Fall hedge. I first visited Old Fall plantation on the 1st of September 2010 to see the Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and I visited again on the 1st of September this year; bit weird! Anyway on approaching the Old Fall hedge the bird was on view within seconds; it performed like an absolute dream. Deciding to perform on our side of the hedge as apart from 4 of us (Lee Johnsons pic below) everyone else was on the other side of the hedge! After it performed like a dream it went rather quiet and presumably was ready to do to roost. Smiles all around and a great bird, I was asked by Stringer during the week what realistic bird I would like to see in Britain in the Autumn. No prizes for guessing the answer, I’ll have to pick another now!

I did see the Pec Sand yesterday, showed better today though. Also saw the Boanaparte’s Gull again today; its moulted quite a bit! Anyway enough of my inane ramblings.

Until next time, Foghorn out!


  1. Hi Andrew - I'm not sure you can count Corncrake on your list if its been trapped and ringed. That's almost the same as counting birds that are in a zoo or aviary.
    Just a thought

    1. Hi Bryn,

      Agh the ol' debate. Well I look at it this way:
      1) Was the bird wild before capture
      2) Was the bird wild whilst being ringed
      3) Was the bird wild when released

      We all know the answers to the above 3. On my list, will remain so.

      I say; count what you want and don't count what you don't feel should be.

      Peace and happy birding