Tuesday, 9 December 2014


Question mark only because of my "old school" thinking!

I finished work at 1 yesterday and made it to Wakefield for 2.45ish. Most of the chaps had seen the bird in flight and some had heard the all important call. I had a brief chat with Richard Willison who'd obtained some record shots.

The grass was long however and views on the deck would be very difficult/impossible.

A token attempt to flush didn't produce the desired result and birders started to drift away as the sun, and my hopes, started to sink. The area was quite large, a derelict area in the middle of some modern office units. I noticed a birder start to make his way across the area at the opposite end to where most were stood.

Flush possibility?

I made my way down and stood on the bank with another lad. Sure enough he flushed it! Obviously larger (but not as large as Richard's) than the accompanying Meadow Pipits it was associating with. He followed it and it rose again then flew off towards the motorway presumably to roost. It was 3.05pm.


Fortunately, I had a shift change today that gave me a 6 hour window from 9 till 3 between school runs. This gave me the chance for a second visit.

When I arrived I estimated around 80 birders present, Andy Roadhouse and John Harriman being among them. Johnny Holliday (the finder) was in the field with Lee Evans (no surprise there) and another chap. They'd just done an organised flush so I'd just have to wait for the next one.

Around 11.45 I noticed Martin Garner with some sort of sound dish in his hand! He joined the others and they proceeded to walk the area again. I was at the north end of the group but as they walked south I decided to change my position in order to have a better chance of hearing it call if/when they flushed it again. The group...

...made there way through the field again. Eventually they reached the south end of the area and I was ready. Then there it was, not 30 yds away, it actually hovered for a while (interestingly?). It was in the air for over a minute, which considering the previous circumstances was amazing. It then flew back down the north end BUT before it did it gave a distinct Yellow Wagtail like CALL!

It was very clear and a massive relief!

Should it be flushed?

Can you tick it?

These are the questions...Opinions going into melt-down online!

For me, a few organised flushes to allow everyone a chance to see it doesn't do any harm...as long as it's not too intensive and the bird can rest and feed. Lets face it, if it really didn't like it it would surely re-locate...wouldn't it?

Chances of seeing this bird on the ground are virtually nil. So you will only SEE it in flight. My flight ID skills of BLYTH'S PIPIT are somewhat fragile!! A flight view of an obviously large pipit coupled with a diagnostic CALL is a different matter...isn't it?

Time will tell. I think they call it "Pending".

Footnote: My comments are in no way meant to cast aspersions on Johnny or anyone else (you've got to be careful what you say apparently). It's just in this instance I'll await the decision of the relevant committees. I cast my mind back to the first accepted records of this species in Britain. They were deliberated on long and hard...

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