Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Should I Stay or Should I Go ?

That was the dilemma facing the Bacomb Hill WRYNECK this evening. After leaving the Ivinghoe Hills late afternoon, I returned once more to Bacomb, where from 1700 hours until dusk the bird was still showing exceptionally well, often down to just a few feet. It was once against commuting between the numerous active anthills on the tumulus and spent over two hours moving just 25 yards ! It was feeding voraciously and endlessly, probing its bill and then extending its tongue into the anthills and eating ant after ant, as well as the occasional Cranefly snatched from the ground. Well camouflaged, it fed without regard for its safety and was again enjoyed by large numbers of admirers - perhaps a further 80 observers before the sun faded (including several pin-stripe suited birders from Central London taking advantage of the Metropolitan line). Even birding royalty paid it homage today - a certain CDRH snooping by to take a look.

This really has been one of the birding events of all-time in Buckinghamshire - such a well-loved, well-enjoyed and cripplingly-showing rarity. Once again, I ensured its safety until dark, making sure it roosted safely in its chosen Beech tree for a fourth night (a bird such as this could be a sitting target for a local Sparrowhawk). It flew to roost at 1915 hours and kept on feeding until just seconds before. It must be really heavy by now after consuming so many ants. As darkness fell, it was another calm evening, although quite cloudy, with a light SSW wind - pretty ideal leaping conditions - but not as ideal as the last two moonlit nights.

Interestingly, viz-mig was still underway late this evening, with 11 Meadow Pipits south, and a total of 89 European Barn Swallows.

Prior to my visit to Wendover, I had tried to emulate Mike Wallen, who well-deservedly found the county's first migrant EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD of the year - a fine adult that must have roosted overnight at Ivinghoe - which flew off south shortly after dawn.

I put in a long spell of sky-watching over Ivinghoe Beacon but it was dire - virtually nothing moving apart from local breeding raptors and large numbers of Meadow Pipits and hirundines. I was certainly expecting an Osprey at the very least, especially considering the wind veering from light SSE during the late morning. Another bird I was keen to see was Mike's COMMON STONECHAT - but again no joy and believe it or not, I have still to see one in Bucks this year after they were hit for six during last winter's freeze-up.

Tony Howell obtained some awesome images of the Wryneck whilst with me on Tuesday and over the next few days I shall upload many of them on to my local blogs. If anyone else would like to showcase their images of this beauty, please do not hesitate to email me them - this really is a bird to be proud of photographing. A real treasure.

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