Last Wednesday was a day that will live long in the memory of a number of local birders, and even more so for my Trainer Adrian. After a couple of weeks of disappointing westerly winds, there seemed to finally be a change of direction and the winds were starting to come from the east. Add to this a fair bit of rain and it could mean only one thing, the promise of lots of birds. Sure enough the reports started to come in from the north east coasts, with Yellow Browed Warblers, Red Breasted Flycatchers and Common Rosefinch all being seen within striking distance of our Ringing Mound at the Coastal Park. The promise of netting a goodie was too much of a temptation for Adrian to turn down so he decided to take the wednesday off from work to go Ringing. Unfortunately myself, John and Andy were all at work so he would be Ringing on his own but Dougie had also taken the day off so was there to give Adrian a hand. As expected the Mound was full of birds on the morning, including a large influx of various Thrushes, but alas nothing particularly special. But then as lunchtime approached, everything changed. While he was on the phone to his girlfriend Lisa he saw a bird go into one of the only nets visible from the Ringing Hut. He and Dougie started to make their way towards the net, and as they got closer Adrians first impression was that it was a Reed Warbler. They got a little bit closer and he could see it was in fact a Grasshopper Warbler. Nice! But hang on......... They finally got to the net and Adrian had the chance to see the bird fully and thats when it suddenly hit him, this was no ordinary Gropper. ''Bloody Hell Dougie, its a PG Tips!!!''. With that he practically threw his phone on the ground and pounced on the bird in the net. He carefully extracted it, bagged it then rushed back to the Hut and closed the door behind him. He took the bird out the bag and checked it fully. Yep, there was absolutely no doubt about it, he had a stunning PALLAS'S GRASSHOPPER WARBLER. This was incredible. This is an extremely rare species, especially on the mainland, yet here was one in Adrians hand. Dougie immediately rang me and also put the word out to the local birders and by the time I got there (it only took me 10mins!) there was already a huge crowd. I went into the Hut and Adrian showed me the bird and pointed out all the key I.D. features before taking it out for people to see and take a few pictures. He then took it to a different area and released the bird away from the gathering of birders. Everybody, including myself, was delighted to see the bird so close up as it rarely shows well in the field. Those lucky enough to see it went home extremely happy. But nowhere near as happy as Adrian!
Thanks to Steve, Keith and Dougie for the various pictures.