An excellent bird was found today and we are often reminded with requests to 'get the news out'. Well on this occasion the first thing I must do on behalf of every interested birder is to thank Jeff Butcher who was in the right place at the right time and who then promptly sent his wife Jenny off in the car to find somewhere she could receive a network for her mobile in order to alert us all to the find. I then have a personal thank you for calling back BT and myself who had given up the ghost on this one and were virtually out of sight of BA - sorry Bob my memory only serves me for a few hours these day's - when he called us back to say he had relocated the bird.
My day with JB/BT had taken off only minutes earlier when the trusted RBA pager alerted to inform me of a female Woodchat Shrike 2.5 miles east of Abbeystead behind Tower Lodge on the Trough Road by the plantation and off we went. A male and female Redstart gave excellent views whilst we scanned for the 'shrike', and also noted in the area a Buzzard and 3 Grey Wagtail. A brief visit to the Langden Intake produced a Cuckoo and singing male Blackcap and another Grey Wagtail to note.
Down to Abbeystead and Stoops Bridge rewarded us with excellent views of a Tawny Owlet which was roosting by the tree which is being used again this year by the Pied Flycatcher of which the male also gave excellent views as it peered into the nest hole to check if things were going to plan......great stuff this! The day ended on a perfect note when at Christ Church we found the House Martin's had arrived on a 'better late than never' theme and I counted up to ten bird's, the Spotted Flycatcher was also seen here again today.
The Woodchat Shrike is the fourth area record, the last one I remember well because John Leedal and I abandoned a Honey Buzzard watch in the Lakes to chase off to just west of the Allen Hide at Leighton Moss ten years ago on 28 August 1999 to see a juvenile there.
Back to today and at least I got a half decent pic of the smart little Tawny Owlet at Abbeystead, and nothing like a half decent record shot of the Woodchat Shrike in the Trough of Bowland which I couldn't possibly put on here.