Saturday, 15 October 2016

Siberian Accentor in Yorkshire (14 October 2016)

Friday 14th October. A long but very enjoyable day started at 01:00 when my alarm went off. I picked JK up at Handcross and we drove to meet Matt and Adam just short of Crawley. matt then took us up to Easington where we arrived before first light. An anxious wait with several hundred others ensued but the Siberian Accentor soon appeared in the old car park and performed almost continuously which was just as well as viewing was somewhat limited and very initially, before the excellent organisation kicked-in, a bit of a scrum. For many years Siberian Accentor had been a species I was very keen to see, probably ever since seeing several others in Nepal many years ago. Although there have been records in Scandinavia the prospect of seeing one in the UK seemed very remote. That changed with a stunning looking bird on Shetland a few days before but it was only there for two days and with its departure the prospect of me seeing one seemed hardly any less remote. That another chance came along so quickly was perhaps not totally unexpected with others seen in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany and not something to pass up. Having seen the bird I am very glad I went. A big thank-you to Matt for taking us and doing all the driving.

Siberian Accentor at Easington
one of the best looking accentors in the world, of those I've seen only Rufous-breasted would give it a run for its money 














noticeably slimmer than a nearby Dunnock
After two hours with the Accentor we tried other sites in the area, finding our way down to Kilnsea but arriving there just too late to see a Dusky Warbler in the hand. There were birds everywhere with lots of thrushes and finches flying over, many too quick for me to identify, not helped by a strong easterly wind which made it hard to hear them calling. We saw Olive-backed Pipit, Pallas's Leaf and Yellow-browed Warblers, Shore Lark, Mealy Redpoll (not very well in my case), Woodcock, Jack Snipe, Velvet Scoter, White-fronted Goose, Ring Ouzel, Black Redstart and Tree Sparrow. Very impressive and rather highlighted the gulf between birding on the East and South Coasts in autumn. We had seen more in a morning that I could hope to see all autumn in Sussex.
Shore Lark at Kilnsea


Adam had missed the Purple Swamphen when it was at Minsmere and we returned via Alkborough Flats although it was not performing. It wasn't an entirely wasted journey seeing Water Rail, Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Ruff, Spotted Redshank and Greenshank.

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