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27 Sep 2010

Another empid

News broke at lunchtime Saturday of yet another empid flycatcher - the second in three years following the Cornwall bird that I was lucky enough to see on its second day. Debate raged over whether or not it was a Least, Willow or Alder and later Yellow-bellied was thrown into the mix. Hmm. Not easy these N American Flycatchers. 

Pod decided he was going straight away but a little mental arithmetic later & I realised he probably wouldn't get to Blakeney Point before dark! (He didn't so stayed overnight).  Meanwhile two of Wirrals finest, namely two phones sue & Allan Conlin, hatched a plan to go on news Sunday morning as they'd both missed the Cornish bird.

The best laid plans always end up being changed and so it to pass that we were leaving at 04.00 to ensure we got a boat from Morston Quay rather than slogging our way across the shingle with the wind in our faces.

Somewhere in the early hours of the morning we hit a dead badger. Not the best thing to do in a low slung sports car. An ominous noise from the rear end suddnely manifested itself as a full blown graunching noise as it appeared the exhaust had dropped off. A few roadside repairs involving ripping off lumps of metal from the underside of the Black Beast and we rolled into town to find our original boat had been cancelled.

There was no news on the flycatcher aand it began to look s if the lads were going to dip again. Sitting in the car deciding what to do we decided to go and try for breakfst when a garbled message came through on the pager. A quick call to Will Soar at RBA confirmed the bird was still present!

Meeting Pod staring forelornly out to sea we reviewed the options before heading into town to try and find another boat. Luckily Steve got the number of Bishops Boats and a quick call later we were booked in and made sure Pod was on as well.

A fiver for the boat trip was good value when compared to the cost of the inter-island extortion of the Scilly's and the fifteen minute crossing went smoothly. Within minutes we were watching the empid dashing around its temporary plantation home.




After an hour watchign the flycatcher we went to look for a Yellow-browed Warbler nearby. We didn't see it but luckily for us we noticed another boat was pulling up with a party of school kids on a field trip. Even better the skipper, Jason, of Beans Boats, was good enough to give us a lift back without charging  but the few of us who got on board all put a few pounds in the collection tin on board!

With the weather now well and truly closing in we decided to head for home where we found the N West had been bathed in sunshine all day!

To me it doesn't matter that the bird may never be assigned to species. Its all about learning and seeing something new. Who knows, with new identifcation criteria and good quality photo's, it may be eventually identified.

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