Well after not a sniff of a lifer since February I finally got a new tick today. After working all weekend I was already looking forward to my day off today, I’d actually made plans for a photography trip into the lakes but when an Isabelline Wheatear was found late on Sunday in Cleveland I wondered whether it might just hang on until today.
Not wanting to dip I decided to play it safe and wait for news before setting off, and just before 8 o’clock this morning the news came through that it was indeed still present – it was twitch on!
After a crappy journey over to Cleveland I parked up my car near the end of the Zinc Works Road at just before 1030am, and straight away birders told me it was still present on the beach, but quite a bit further north. I didn’t mind the walk so I yomped towards the beach. In the distance I could see a crowd clearly watching the bird, I stepped it out a bit. Then I noticed all the birders begin to walk towards me, not a problem I thought, it must have come this way. But as I approached the birders it was obvious that there was no Wheatear…
Unbelievably as I’d walked along the beach it had flown off and been lost. Nooooooo!!!!
After about 30 minutes of waiting for it to magically reappear in the spot that it was last seen in, birders began to spread out to search of it. I wandered a long way north in my search for it, and even scanned the next beach north, and the golf course, but all to no avail.
Nearly 2 hours had now passed since it was last seen, and I was getting pretty fed up!! I couldn’t believe how close I was to seeing it and now it seemed like it had done a bunk! I decided to wander back to my car and have some lunch whilst contemplating what to do next. I got to within a few yards of my car when I noticed two birders watching a bird on a roadside telegraph pole. Just as I looked up it flew off and went past me – it was a bloody wheatear sp!!! I watched it until it became a little dot in the distance flying towards the beach, disappearing over the dunes in the direction that I’d just come from. I legged it back to the beach and already a crowd of birders were watching it – it was the Isabelline Wheatear that had been right by my car. What a bizarre turn of events. Anyhow, I settled down to watch it and what an amazingly showy little bird it was too, oblivious to the crowds it often came incredibly close allowing for some good photo opportunities. And just as I was about to sell all my birding gear on ebay.