7 May 2023

Grey-headed Plover

As is the norm with birders on a road trip Mark & I were discussing what new birds could turn up this spring on our trip back from seeing the Stejnegers Scoter in Fife. I really couldn't think of anything apart from a long overdue Rupelle's Warbler! Adamant I wasn't going anywhere on the Bank Holiday Monday I'd started working in the garden when news broke of a Grey-headed Lapwing in Northumberland! Another potential 1st for Britain found by Gary Woodburn on his local patch at Low Newton.  This species is usually found in East Asia and China but is highly migratory and with four previous records in Europe it was on the birding radar as a potential 1st for the UK so should get a fairly easy ride with the rarities committee! 

Luckily for me Fred pinged a message out that he was going and would anyone else like to join him so, despite my rash promise, I found myself driving to his office and joining him, Mark and Paul for the journey north again! 

Once again the journey passed relatively quickly as the four of us chatted about past trips and birds we'd seen (or not seen!) and we soon arrived at the designated car park at Low Newton and walked the short way to where the bird had been showing all day.

Some rare birds don't have the looks to attract much attention - think Double-crested Cormorant! This one had everything! What a beautiful bird. It was actively feeding in a wet pasture and with its grey head, black breast band, white belly and striking red eyes it was a feast for the eyes. Its smart black-tipped yellow bill matched the colour of its long yellow legs and it occasionally flapped its wings to show its striking wing pattern - very reminiscent of Sociable Plover.

Looking at the extensive wing moult this bird could stay awhile until its grown new flight feathers. 

There was a good turnover of people there with the earlier arrivals, who'd travelled less far, leaving and those with longer journeys taking their place. It was nice to see some familiar faces and say hello to old friends. 

After feasting our eyes for a couple of hours we decided to head back to Cheshire where, for the second night running, I got in late and found Mrs W in full control of the TV remote. To cap off a great couple of days birding I had a Barn Owl fly over the Landrover asd I drove down our lane in the dark!

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