For some reason everything came together for my first ever big twitch. The news of an unidentified American flycatcher combined with a couple of free day and a partner in crime of one James Spencer made the trip feasible, nay even sensible! Read his trip report here
We set off earlyish hedging our bets in case new was negative of this Nearctic vagrant, and we were just south of Brum when the first positive news came out. Bingo we were on! The journey down took about 7 hours, and by the end we were ready stretch our legs and nail the flycatcher. After a tense walk down the flycatcher duly obliged almost immediately showing distantly in a small bush. Then we noticed a couple of guys getting close to the bird putting up some nets, and the flycatcher moved quite close to where we were standing as the nets were erected enabling my fire a few record shots. Superb.
The bird then flew straight in to the night, which enabled the ringers to swiftly and expertly capture the bird and hopefully secure its identity. Overhead a snow bunting is chased by a merlin on what is turning into a memorable day out. Finally news breaks and the bird is confirmed as Britain’s first ALDER FLYCATCHER, and for once we were there. All credit to the expert ringers.
We then moved on to Porthgwarra for a quick seawatch and it was not long before James picked up a Balearic, my second lifer of the trip and an annoying bogey removed. Not much else and we failed to connect with the 30 or so Grey Phals in the area. We then headded to a hostel and a curry house in Torquay chuffed with our efforts.
The next day we cruised around Devon nailing the local specialities and getting rid of some of James’ dudey ticks; Cettis, Cirls and Dartfords. We managed a clean sweep and I was even able to get some shots of a Dartford Warbler as it sat up to check us out.
A superb trip and a really good laugh we made it back in time for me to hook up with some friends at the Leeds ‘OktoberFest’. Bring on the next one!