Saturday 22 October 2016

The Russian Dunnock

I was in London when news broke of the Siberian Accentor at Easington in Yorkshire. The soonest opportunity I would have to see it would be Sunday 16th October. However when I saw photos of the twitch from Yoav's tweet and later on his blog (Sib Accentor), well I didn't feel too bad to have missed the initial rush. An estimated total of 1,400 birders saw it on that first day alone. It seems though the staff from Spurn Bird Obs and others did an excellent job of marshalling the crowds and all who travelled that day saw the bird.
I returned from London to Norwich on Saturday evening but as it happened I was scheduled to travel to York on Sunday evening for a training course starting Monday morning. Checking Rare Bird Alert first thing Sunday morning showed positive news so I cancelled plans to bird the east Norfolk coast and headed north early. I arrived in Easington at 3pm, parked the car and headed down Vicars Lane. Gone were the frightening crowds of the first day with no more than twenty birders there.

No need for a queue!

The bird was showing to within a few feet of the fence when I got there.

Siberian Accentor, Easington, Yorkshire - 16th October 2016
The light was directly against me so I needed to fiddle with the camera settings to capture any sort of an image. But at least the bird was close, sometimes too close even. Despite numerous photos on social media of this bird (and the others) - it didn't fail to impress. A really smart bird, very obliging and in excellent condition.
Here's a short and not so good movie clip of the bird. Turn the sound down a bit and forgive the poor quality.

I wasn't able to stay for too long, but I didn't need to either. The bird had put on a great show.

Job done and Sib Accentor seen well!
A quick donation to the collection bucket and I was back in the car and safely on my way to York. The only downside was missing the Isabelline Wheatear that turned up at Easington the next morning. Can't have it all.
So, hard to believe that within a few days of the first UK record of Siberian Accentor on Shetland, a further four birds turn up in Yorkshire, Durham, Cleveland and Holy Island. All north of the Humber. So far there has been unprecedented numbers in Europe with birds being found in Sweden, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Denmark, Estonia and Latvia to name just a few.

Breeding Grounds (yellow), wintering area (blue) and red spots indicate occurences this autumn 2016 (map lifted from a tweet by James Gilroy)

Hopefully Norfolk will get in on the act and maybe one will reach the east coast of Ireland in the next week or so.

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