Monday 30 August 2010


Ogston Rez, Derbyshire - It's where dreams are made... trust me!

After a few hectic days of scouring two of the top birding sites the English east coast has to other, it was inevitable that the best rarity of the bank holiday weekend would turn up less than a hour from home. After enjoying a cracking night's sleep I had a relaxing day of 'crystal making' with my daughter India planned. All that changed however when news filtered through of a possible CITRINE WAGTAIL just up the road in Derbyshire. After receiving permission from my darling, little, nine year-old, arrangements were made to head north with Snapper Richards & Jules Allen. Unfortunately for my year-listing brothers Mike Feely & Stevie Dunn, they had made the decision to head over to Norfolk for a sea-watch. Whilst a first for Derbyshire strutted around just nine minutes away from where he lives, Stevie was sitting a long 135 miles away scouring Blakeney Point for an elusive Short-toed Lark. He was not a happy chap at all.

Upon arrival at Ogston Reservoir we found a large group of birders assembled along the west bank. Unfortunately though, there had been no sign of the elusive eastern vagrant for nearly two hours. I persuaded the lads to head down to the public hide where we could scan in comfort and wait for the bird to appear from the lush vegetation that bordered the original shoreline. A number of Pied Wagtails of differing sexes and ages could be seen occasionally, along with the odd Yellow Wagtail but nothing out of the ordinary could be detected.

Wagtail Watch UK - A birder's view from the Severn Trent public hide (of dreams).

Undeterred, we continued to scour the west bank hoping that the rarity would appear. Every now and then a flock of Linnet would drop into the area and disturb the feeding wagtails. It was during one of these finch raids that something interesting popped out into the open briefly. Surely it was the bird? After a short while it appeared once more, a juvenile CITRINE WAGTAIL (267) heading towards first winter plumage. After teasing us for another hour with a series of brief appearances the bird eventually showed out in the open albeit a touch distantly where it fed along the waterline. Overall the bird resembled a juvenile Yellow Wagtail but with a number of subtle differences. A striking, broad supercilium could be seen to 'rams horn' around the ear coverts. The bird also showed pale lores along with an all dark bill as well as broad whitish double wing bars. There was also no sign of a yellowish wash to the under-tail coverts. The bird also seemed to be proportionately longer tailed and longer legged than the other wagtails on site.

Twitching legend Dipper is welcomed into the brotherhood of ASBO Birderz - East Midlands Chapter. He gained not one but two ASBO stars by a) rebelliously blowing smoke rings at the sign above and b) by cleansing the public hide of misery with his barking dog trick.... pure genius!

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