The stunning white cliffs of Flamborough.... Dover can go and do one!
With no further sign of Yorkshire's first and only EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER at Old Fall Plantation we decided to stroll the short distance down towards the lighthouse. The rare Hippo' was probably still present but may have been too scared to appear due to the throng of sour-faced clay-heads that were present. See HERE for proof that the average Stoke birder superficially resembles a British Bulldog licking urine from a thistle. In fact I reckon the only Stokey I've ever seen break into a smile is Phil Locker. Just kidding lads! Anyway, whilst gathered around the willow clump near the golf course looking for migrants we managed to jam in on a grotty 1st winter type Common Rosefinch (269). The bird suddenly appeared from nowhere, perched up high in a willow briefly and vanished without a trace.
It was at this stage that the pair of north midlanders I happened to be with became restless. They needed a gravy or lard fix pretty fast and as a result trudged off to the cafe as fast as their chubby, little legs could carry them. No sooner had they disappeared over the horizon than a stunning 1st winter Barred Warbler (270) appeared. After enjoying some decent views, Russ Berger and I then joined them up in the cafe for a quick brew. It was at this stage we found out something very interesting about one of our ASBO brethen. Whilst the rest of the lads were checking out an attractive serving wench (not me though, I'm too much in love), Mikipedia Feely's attention was drawn towards an elderly, male window cleaner who failed to pay enough attention to the corners. I have never witnessed such anger over a partially cleansed pane of glass.
After another quick view of the Barred Warbler as well as a Garden Warbler, a few Common Chiffchaff and numerous Common Whitethroats we decided to take part in a bit of a sea-watch. I have no idea why we continue to take part in this specialist sector of birding because we never see anything remotely interesting. With just Gannets and Fulmars to be seen, we soon gave up. What would we do next? Whilst heading back to the bay brambles area, Chopper Jones briefed us that access had been arranged for birders to view a BOOTED WARBLER just down the coast at Grimston. We quickly made our way back to the car.
It's grim at Grimston!
As we approached the tiny, rural hamlet of Grimston I received a welcome text from Chopper Jones to say that the BOOTED WARBLER was showing very well. Excellent. We arrived on site at exactly the same time as Pezza Perrins and Jules Allen. Coincidently, they had been seeing exactly the same stuff as we had but further south at Spurn. According to the Stokies the bird had been showing just five minutes before we arrived. It was just a matter of time before it was safely added to our year list... right? Wrong! It was never seen again.... but what was the reason for the rarity's disappearance? Maybe it was a freshly arrived migrant that had just continued its journey inland? Maybe it was just keeping low in the increasingly blustery conditions? Maybe it was the booming, southern droll of a fellow year lister chatting nonsense about the size of various County lists and Excel spreadsheets? Perhaps we will never solve the mystery regarding the vanishing BOOTED WARBLER of old Grimston village.
Birding always seems to kick you in the balls when you're at your lowest. Just as I was dropping Mike off at home in Mansfield, news filtered through of a GREAT SNIPE at Spurn. Just typical. I made my way back home as depressed as a clay-head.... but hold on a minute, at least those lads had seen the bleedin' BOOTED WARBLER! GRRRRRRRRR!