Thursday, 10 December 2015

Yellow Browed Warbler - At Last!

A sunny but cool and breezey day on Wednesday 9th December and so I decided to visit Broadsands where some good birds are being reported. David dropped me off at the car park on the beach and went off to the shops for a couple of hours, giving me time for a good look around without interruption.

A quick look off the seawall and a few great crested grebe were dotted around the bay with a black necked grebe showing briefly close to the shore towards Elberry Head before diving out of sight. I walked off along the cliffpath towards Elberry Cove to get a better look at the black necked grebe and managed some decent views although it spent little time at the surface and was difficult to track between dives.

Walking further along the cliffpath and there were 4 more black necked grebes, 3 together which gave some nice views as they rested and preened at the surface for a while and a single bird which was constantly diving too.

Further scanning across Torbay with my telescope and I managed to find a great northern diver and a gannet along with shag, cormorant and gulls. A very distant small grebe looked good for Slavonian and I had a brief view of a diver which looked good for black throated but I couldn't refind it after it dived.

 Great Black Backed Gull trying to eat a tennis ball!

After 5 minutes it was still attempting to peck it open!

Heading to the back of the car park and I had a strong sense of deja vu as I scanned the bushes and trees for a reported yellow browed warbler - back on December 23rd last year I visited the same spot and had some good views of a wintering bird. I was in luck again today and had 2 brief and obscured views of the warbler as it constantly moved through the undergrowth before finally getting some amazing views as it fed amongst a clump of ivy less than 5 metres away - a smart looking bird in the bright sunshine.

I also managed to get some excellent views of at least 2 firecrests, a male with a bright orange crest and a presumed female with a yellower crown. Again they did not stay still for a second but I did manage to get 2 crappy record shots. 2 chiffchaffs were also flitting about with 1 bird snaffling down a large bluebottle type fly it caught (it was surprisingly warm in the sunshine when sheltered from the wind).  A male cirl bunting, a singing song thrush, goldfinch, goldcrest, long tailed tit, blue tit and great tit were also seen.

 Firecrest - record shot

Firecrest - another record shot

I managed a further brief view of the yellow browed warbler but that was it before David arrived to pick me up and we headed off to Totnes for some lunch - not a bad couple of hours birding away from the increasing frenzy of Christmas time. And I have finally seen a yellow browed warbler in 2015 in what has been a bumper year for them.

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