With the incoming "Storm" being hyped up, I was looking forward to a long weekend on the patch, with the hopes of some Juicy migrants inbound from the states.
A quick seawatch in strong winds produced 1 Leaches, 1 Sooty and 1 Manx along with a rake of Auks, but otherwise very little moving, which was surprising.
So I moved on to the gardens.
Despite being sheltered for the most part, the wind was still coming over the top and affecting things and little was noted in any of the usual spots, in fact nothing was even heard.
I then chanced the lake, and here I ran into a good sized flock of smalls with the golden plover...and a stint with them. Oooo.
Out in the middle of the mud, it looked cold and spot on for a Semi-p, after a few minutes one of the obliging peregrines flushed the entirety of the lake and the flock of plover and smalls landed in close and sure enough it was a cracking juv Semi-p. The bird continued feeding until the peregrine made a second pass a few minutes later, and this time the flock decided that the beach was a better option, so out they went.
A walk of the weed on the beach produced a white wag but little else.
Sunday was a far sunnier day, though still a tad on the windy side.
Started out working gardens, but that breeze was still affecting a fair few spots.
The grotto was looking the most sheltered, so I concentrated there, with a few crests, chiffs and tits, sparrows and finches hanging around.
The boom moment came when checking the ash and sycamores at Spanish point, when suddenly down below me a beige looking warbler started mooching along the fuschia...flicking wings and swinging the tail!!
Got the bins on it and there was this big f*ck off flared super, big domed head and bright legs, and then it dove for cover.
Radde's warbler!! It mooched in the fuschia for a few seconds, invisible, and gave a couple of calls. The call was unfamiliar, did not match up with to the slightly wittering call I was used to, more of a wet "smick". But later it wasn't hard to find several examples of that call online.
I stayed rooted to the spot for over an hour, trying the odd bout of pishing, but the bird refused to show. I then tried to get a view down into the geo I suspected it was spending it's time in (unfortunately private property) and a bout of pishing again brought up that dome head. This time I got a look at a chunky looking bill, and then it turned and dove for cover again, showing an orangey looking undertail.
Now I was really thinking Radde's, but that call was throwing me. Unfortunately my phone was dead, so calling for other birders to help was out. I gave it right up until dusk. But I never got a view of the bird again.
Once I checked the calls online all doubts were eased, so I put the news out to a few local birders in the hopes help would be on hand to re-locate on Monday. Of course, that was unlikely with most headed to Baltimore. So despite being certain of what it was, I am just not happy with the views I got, not how I want to find a Radde's, which has always been a dream bird of mine to find. So it's one that got away.
I spent most of Monday trying to relocate the bird, staring into that geo and fuschia, walking along the tideline staring up and checking other likely gardens. Even with the wind having eased, and more birds being present (Yellow browed still in the Dusky Garden), there was no further sign. Every chance it's still in there though!
Comparative Score: 127.07%