26th September 2012 – Finding our own stuff – Red-breasted Fly, Yellow-browed and Snow Bunting…

We left Col’s at 0545hrs and at 0705hrs we were getting out of the car at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea ready for some serious rarity hunting. Well that was the plan anyway! The sun was slowly rising over the North Sea as we made our way north along the coast…

It was obvious that there was lots of birds arriving, Song Thrushes in particular were everywhere, and there were plenty of Wheatears along the beach…

The first rays of morning sunshine

As we walked a little further north we spotted a Whinchat…

And then a Snow Bunting flew right over us calling, it landed briefly before flying off again, calling as it did so. First decent bird of the day! Just on the inland side of the golf course we spotted a couple of birders who appeared to be watching something in some small willows by the housing estate. We made our way over to them and asked what they’d got. “Yellow-browed Warbler” came the reply, and within minutes we were watching the bird as it sunned itself and preened out in the open. And it wasn’t even 8 o’clock!

Satisfied with our day already, we moved towards the ash lagoon bank, soon spotting our first of many Redstarts on the way…

Birds were everywhere, a Lesser Whitethroat showed briefly, as did a couple of Blackcaps and Goldcrests called from most areas of scrub. We stood still and watched. New birds were being picked up every few minutes. Then, a bird came out onto a branch in full sun and both Col and I raised our bins simultaneaously – “That looks like an RB Fly!”, I quickly went to get it in my scope but the bird flew out of view  before I got it. We waited, and waited, but after 15 minutes nothing. The birders who’d put us onto their Yellow-browed came and went, and then after what seemed like ages it showed again. This time the views were long enough for us to be absolutely sure that we had not been hallucinating earlier! Bloody get in! Red-breasted Fly was on our radar for today but we hadn’t realistically expected to find our own. And here it is…

In this same area of scrub was this Reed Warbler, again making the most of the early morning sunshine…

So we continued walking towards the power station, and about 1/2 mile further along a Yellow-browed began calling loudly from some taller trees. It’s always difficult trying to locate a bird even though it can be heard, but thankfully after a few moments this bird was also in the bag – a nice, but perhaps more expected find in these conditions. More Redstarts and a Spotted Flycatcher were seen here, and the/a Snow Bunting flew over us again calling as it did so. We turned towards the coast and began walking back towards Church Point. By late morning the conditions had worsened, it had got cooler, windier and a sea fret had come in, making visibilty quite poor. Along the coast track guess what we bumped into? Yep, the Snow Bunting…

Tiny Goldcrests were landing almost at our feet, literally having just crossed the North Sea, quite unbelievable to witness, how on earth do they do it?…

What a superb mornings birding with plenty of highlights…. but it was unanimous – the Red-breasted Fly was definitely ‘Bird of the Day’!

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