Yesterday I spent a fair chunk of time scouring the area around Stodday ETW; once again in the vain hope of locating a yellow-browed warbler. With several scattered around the country, and individuals being found recently at Heysham Obs, Sunderland Point and Leighton Moss, it seems only reasonable that one could be flitting around somewhere on this side of the river.
Problem is, if they don't call (as neither of the two I saw on the Scillies did last week) these tiny wee sprites can be very difficult to locate, especially when it's it breezy. Which, I think it's fair to say, it has been.
With the mission failed I headed over to Conder to meet Stuart Meredith from Ribble Bird Tours, who had generously lent me his pager when he left the Scilly Isles last week. The theory was that should a mega show up somewhere on the islands we'd at least get to hear about it straight away, as opposed to several hours later in the pub.
Birds at Conder included a spotted redshank and a ruff.
Today (Sunday), I concentrated my efforts back in Freeman's Wood and around Aldcliffe. Despite coming across a couple of decent tit-flocks I couldn't pull any phylloscs out of the bag. In fact I didn't even find any goldcrests today.
Five herons were on the island at Freeman's Pools while the water held a couple of tufted duck, 6 gadwall, 11 little grebes, 5 snipe and 23 coot. A green sandpiper was on the upper pools.
Among the large numbers of jackdaw and carrion crow in the maize fields I picked out just one rook, and 6 stock doves were a nice sight. 3 grey partridge were seen nearby.
The title of Most Unexpected Bird of the Day went to a common swift, battling against the winds. Of course swifts at this time of year are well worth a thorough checking, but there was nothing to suggest that this bird was anything out of the ordinary (beyond the very late date).