Sunday, 28 August 2011

Western Bonellis Warbler, elusive but worth the wait

Shaun and I headed out again yesterday for a Western Bonellis Warbler, our 2nd attempt in 3 days and 3rd overall after dipping one in Wells Wood after the "Alder" Flycatcher twitch last September. The previous day there was also a Greenish Warbler on site to make things even more interesting. We met Hawky, Bradders Jnr and non twittcher Jono on site, in Cromer, Norfolk at 7.30am.

The area over cover was large so we split up, and 30 minutes later Hawky called to say he had a likely suspect briefly for the Bonellis. Unfortunately as we found him the heavens opened and heavy rain started to fall. Not great warbler watching weather! An hour later, things were not looking good. The rain continued to fall and we wondered whether it would be 3rd time dippy.

For once the weather forecast was right. Bright spells were forecast from lunch time, and right on cue, about 11.45am, the dark clouds and drizzle were replaced with blue skies and sunshine.

We began searching the site heading round the perimeter and in a sunny glade found quite a few birds flitting about. Immediately one or two looked interesting but it was hard to get enough on them to confirm what they were. There was a very pale bird that when it flew appeared to have a yellowy/green patch on its side, could it be the Bonellis? Before we could confirm it disappeared.

So again we headed off to carry on looking. 10 minutes later we took a call from Jono to say the Greenish Warbler had been found. Back at the play area, 30+ birders staring up into the canopy. At first there was some confusion as the bird we were looking at appeared again to be very pale, and not Greenish like. With good views provided over the next 20 minutes we soon realised we were getting good views of the Bonellis Warbler. It took 4 hours but it was 3rd time lucky for both me and Shaun, so via an escaped Burrowing Owl just up the road in East Runton, we headed off home happy.

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