Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A Pain In The Neck....

....but definitely not initially so, and the kind of stuff which made my passion for birding go through the roof years ago.

Some might say if you're birding at Bank End from Cockersands, why not make life easier and drive there....what and maybe miss something along the way on the walk.

Wryneck Antonio Puigg 

I'd legged it to Bank End on Monday- the road to nowhere as it happened - and was on my way back to Cockersands. When I was 100m short of the entrance to the Caravan Park a bird I hadn't seen flew up off the ground ahead of me and on to the wall, with no time to think to myself 'it'll be a Meadow Pipit or something' bino's to my's a bloody Wryneck!

I gave no thought of a problem at the time, but the bird promptly dropped off the wall and into the park, as it turns out I think it would have been much the better if it had stayed on the seaward side where it first was and out in the open for me to follow. I hot footed it to the reception, got the permission to enter, and soon found the Wryneck between two caravans, in amongst the pretty flowers and vegetation the residents plant by and behind these caravans. The bird moved between the vans below the wall and I saw it briefly twice more before it moved out of sight behind another van and unbelievably never saw the bird again, despite now being accompanied by another birder to cover almost the entire Caravan Park perimeter and drives. From the moment I set eyes on this bird until it disappeared, I had it in my sights for no more than 15 seconds in total. I did the same coverage for one hour yesterday not long after first light to no avail.

A little of the excitement of finding the Wryneck was eroded for me by the fact that none of the dozen or so birders - who had made the effort to come to see this bird whilst I was present - made the connection....a bitter disappointment for me too.

Obviously a good time of year for me, a year ago tomorrow (16 April) - again at Cockersands - a Dotterel was found in a field by Abbey Farm with Golden Plovers.

The Wryneck.

It's hard for Lancashire birders in the 21st century to comprehend that the Wryneck once bred in the county quite commonly, but breeding numbers began to decline before the mid-19th century. Today it is no more than a rare passage migrant, and birds like this one at Cockersands on Monday are rare in spring, but there is an old record of one at Yealand Conyers in March 1948, this record aside, there are only four other spring records in Lancashire, most arriving in September with the latest record being of a bird at Cockersands 20 years ago in October 1995.

Thanks to AP for the Wryneck in his excellent photograph. 


Martin Jump said...

Might only be 15sec Pete, never the less a great sighting and a great find very well done.

Warren Baker said...

I'd take 15 secs of a Wryneck Pete, that would be 15 more than I have had previously!!

Richard Pegler said...

I can fully appreciate your excitement at the Wryneck, Pete. It was only last year that I had my first ever encounter with a Wryneck and, even though I was put onto it by another birder, it almost certainly rated as my 'Bird of The Year'. Well done!!

Pete Woodruff said...

Thanks Martin/Warren/Richard.

Unfortunate it was such a brief encounter, also that none of the other birders to attend had the opportunity to see this excellent bird. I was thankful for small mercy's though.

Brian Rafferty said...

What a wonderful brief encounter with a wryneck!!
Once again Pete a well deserved reward for all the legwork you put in on your Cockerham patch.Brilliant well done.