MOLTINI'S SUBALPINE WARBLER
First For Mainland Britain!
News of another MEGA came through on the pager today whilst I was at work – a Male Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler together with a female Subalpine Warbler!!! Both birds were in 'The Plantation', Blakeney Point! Found by Ranger Paul Nichols – Congratulations!
My heart sank when I read that message, I had sat up to the early hours this morning, going through 500 Citril Finch pictures and picking out a few to put on blog (there will be more this week), putting loads of pictures of birders and videos on my blog and posting them to various birding websites etc. Being at work today was fine, but the thought of doing anything other than having an early night, was too much to bear, never mind walking the most tedious, hardcore trek you have to do in Norfolk to see a rare bird. But in this case, it wasn't just a rare bird, it was ANOTHER Major Mega – the first Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler for mainland Britain!!! Also another First for Norfolk! It HAD to be done. My work colleagues said I was crazy and I got a massive telling off from my Mother later on! I am a grown-up now! (well sometimes anyway). The first accepted Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler was shot on St Kilda in 1894, with two more recent records in Shetland in 2009.
The clock struck 4.45pm and I was off – in the usual traffic jams to get out of the hospital. Flew home, changed, grabbed gear and went. Stopped off at Hillington garage shop for rubbish cheese and onion pie, bananas, chocolate and fizzy energy drink. The last pager message was 3.25pm, no one had put any more messages out, so I rang RBA to ask them to put a 'no news on' message out, which they did – this usually results in either a postive or negative message going out shortly after.... it did and the message said the bird was still showing at 5.58pm – two and a half hours later!
Arrived at Cley Coastguards and started the walk out to Blakeney Point at 6.20pm. Its horrible when you are passing loads of birders that have already seen the bird and you know that you are a long way off seeing it, if at all! I walked as fast as I could, I was so tired, but persevered. One birder passed me (longer legs) and another was running! It was actually my quickest walk out there, arriving 60 minutes later at 7.20pm. There were approx 20 birders when I arrived, sitting on the bank facing the privet hedge in 'The Plantation'. LGRE was just leaving and kindly told me which area of the privet I need to watch. I sat on the bank with others and found out the bird had last been seen at 6.50pm. I stared into that privet bush and scanned it constantly. Its very annoying when people that have seen the bird, chat away loudly and then noisely leave! Nothing changes! The Male Moltini's Subalpine Warbler showed briefly at 7.50pm, but I couldn't see it – I had to wait a little while before I had only a couple of brief glimpses and sadly not even enough to obtain any pictures at all. Such a pity I didn't have better views and for longer, but you are limited time wise after work, but I did get better and longer views of the Female Subalpine Warbler in fading light a bit later. Everyone left after that.
I sat down and hoped and prayed that either the male or female would pop out of the privet, just long enough to get a gripping shot, but this wasn't to be. I could hear the Male Moltini's Subalpine Warbler singing, deep in the privet bush at 8.30pm! I was obviously very pleased to have seen both birds, but was disappointed with my brief views and as photographer, gutted that I didn't even get any record shots. Work really gets in the way at times!
A link to the call and then song of the Unst bird - a recording by Dougie Preston – pinched this from Alan on Birdforum this evening!
The thought of walking back, made me feel ill. I left at 9.00pm and it was still light, just. The walk is alot easier if you are walking with other people, screws your mind up, walking back alone!
The walk back was hell! I eventually got to Coastguards at 10.15pm. Fishermen's vans in the carpark and also a huge Motorhome. Why do people keep finding birds on BP, its not funny, no more tomorrow please, I need a rest!! If any more megas are going to be found, could they be a get out of the car and tick bird please, my legs ache from climbing dunes and crunching shingle! I arrived home at 11.05pm.
HOT BIRDING NEWS FROM HOLME!
When I rang my Mother this morning to make sure she and Father were ok, as I do every morning before work, she casually mentioned she had been listening to a GOLDEN ORIOLE singing in her garden at 7.15am – I wasn't listening properly to be honest and then it sunk in... "WHAT DID YOU SAY!!!!!?" She repeated herself and also said she had spent a while searching for it in the garden, but unable to find this golden bird. The Golden Oriole moved on fairly quickly and she didn't hear it again. Golden Oriole's love my parent's garden and they have put in an appearance here several times over the years. I clearly remember watching one, sitting in the big Weeping Willow tree when I was a teenager! I phoned the news out to RBA. With a Golden Oriole at Muckleburgh Hill yesterday and two major megas in two days, its obviously all kicking off massivly now! What a week to be at work!
ONLY SUNSET PICTURES TO BE ADDED LATER