Weds 9th Nov 2016 Rain all day. I had two target birds. A cattle egret had been seen at Covenham and the pallid harrier had come south over the Humber into Lincs.
There were some good birds to be seen as I made my way round to the east bank, which was where the egret had been seen from. Two female common scoters swam out towards the middle. A slavonian grebe dived along the south bank and four or five littoralis rock pipits were looking very attractive. The cormorant flock was impressive at 160. A drake goosander flew in. There were two grey wagtails. It was still pouring with rain. Alas there was no sign of the egret, but as I was nearing the complete circuit of the res, a small group of birds caught my attention. Yellowhammers, goldfinches, meadow pipits and, hold on a minute, a stonechat. I was only getting brief views in the poor conditions, and it was flitting about no end. In my final brief view it showed me it’s rump-OMG-an unstreaked bright orangey/rusty colour. It was only a Sibe! It then vanished and I couldn’t find it again. Incredibly frustrating! Amazingly it had a (ludicrously late) whinchat for company.
Once again a couple of large perch (3lbs+) were washed up, being tucked into by gulls and crows. A cormorant came up with a large live one which it was struggling with.
I decided to make the short journey over to Grainthorpe to try for the harrier, with the thought of returning to Cov later. At Horseshoe point two local birders were already onto a distant harrier. We all agreed it looked good, a slim winged, long tailed juvenile type, but it was very, very far off. It showed for a few minutes in the murky wetness. We put it down as a ‘probable’ pallid. It was turning into a very frustrating day.
Back at the res firstly I drove down a lane in search of the cattle egret, checking fields before having another look for the stonechat. Light was fading, home time.
Thurs 10th. Well, I just had to get back again for another go, arriving soon after first light. No sign of the stonechat (or whinchat, or cattle egret) in morning and afternoon searches. One that got away. In a break from Covenham I did get lucky with the harrier this time. Good scope views from south of Horseshoe point. Fantastic stuff, first one I’ve seen in Lincs.
Again there were good birds on the res-a black throated diver, a long tailed duck, the slavonian grebe and the two female common scoters were all on show. Lots of goldeneyes now in. All in all a superb couple of days birding.
My Lincolnshire 2016 yearlist now at 239 (BOU).