Monday, 7 November 2016


Dukadale area, Orkney, 1995...a second summer male was (debatably) the first truly twitchable PALLID HARRIER for Britain. On June 23rd I drove from York to John-a-Groats. An organised twitch had been arranged involving a boat crossing plus coaches to the site. Bear with me, as it was over 21 years ago! A decent crowd of over 100 twitchers waited until a few minutes before we had to connect! Quite a relief I can tell you. I drove back again.
Since then there have been several records BUT it's still a prime bird to see.
I couldn't visit Welwick yesterday for reasons already apparent so I made sure I was down there early this morning. I parked at the start of the path and walked down with you know who. As I reached the Humber bank I could see more cars and a group stood on the bank. I figured Bud wouldn't be to popular so I made my way passed the group with a quick "good morning" to John Harriman and Gary Dayes. I walked him down towards Skeffling whilst scanning the marsh frequently. It soon showed albeit distantly. Murphy's law dictated it showed closer for the attendant group than yours truly. It ranged widely over the marsh and along the foreshore in the early morning light...
We continued. It kept on patrolling the saltmarsh...
At one point it flew quite close to the assembled group but I was "miles" away! I had to take what I could get...
By 10 it had moved along towards Skeffling and disappeared. I gave it till 11.30 scanning from the car park. Then, a pager message...Richard's Pipit at Long Bank Marsh. Might as well. As I approached another message, this time over the radio...something was flying South past the Warren. You guessed it...PALLID HARRIER. With the help of Lance Degnan's scope I managed to add it to my Spurn list (S.278). My second record on the Patch having seen the Patrington Haven bird in May 12.

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