Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Gray Catbird...

Last Friday morning was beautiful. One of those sunny October days when the sky is blue and work is the last thing on your mind. A Red-breasted Flycatcher had been showing well at Sidmouth the day before and I was toying with the idea of taking the day off (it was my birthday) and heading that way.

Glancing at Birdguides I noticed the Gray Catbird in Cornwall was still showing, with two reports online before 9 am.

I wasn't bothered about seeing this bird, even though it's only the second ever recorded in the UK. I've seen dozens of them in Canada and I see them there on an annual basis, which takes away the excitement of twitching one (eg. see Canada post from June).

In a sudden and still inexplicable change of plan (and a few phone calls later) Dave Helliar and I were on our way. I have to say, it was the most relaxed twitch I've ever been on. Neither of us desperate to get there particularly quickly as it wasn't a 'new' bird for us.

We arrived 3 hours after setting off and found a reasonably large crowd, split into two groups, watching a large area of willows and brambles. Within 15 minutes, it showed well - perhaps one of the easiest twitches I've been on too!

Hmmm...guess this must be the spot?

Though not particularly close, the bird showed well and occasionally for prolonged periods. These pics were taken on the new Nikon P1000.

Gray Catbird looking remarkably healthy. 

Gray Catbird

The bird was feeding well and calling frequently.
Who knows,  it may well over winter.

Cat in-the-bag, we made the journey back home. Turned out to be a great way to spend my birthday.

Dave had even been in Cornwall the previous week, just before it all kicked off with the Catbird. Although there hadn't been any mega rarities around at the time, he still saw a few good birds...

Pectoral Sandpiper, Drift Reservoir, Cornwall: D. Helliar

Rosy Starling, Roskestal Farm, Porthgwarra: D. Helliar

Wryneck, Faraway Cottage, Polgigga: D. Helliar

Wryneck, Faraway Cottage, Polgigga: D. Helliar

Wryneck, Faraway Cottage, Polgigga: D. Helliar