Monday 17 October 2022

Red-eyed Vireo, Seaton Point 15/10/22

 A short write-up of what will probably be my find of the year before the easterlies hit midweek. For the past two weeks, a Nearctic passerine had been on my radar on the patch, and several times I noted to locals that there was more chance of us finding a yank than something from the east.

Saturday the 15th of October was a fairly mundane affair on the patch at Boulmer, though a couple of nice finds by old Spurn mate Jonnie Fisk up the coast at Low Newton kept me looking. I checked Longhoughton Steel early afternoon, paying particularly close attention to the Golden Plover flock, but there was nothing out of the ordinary. A few Redwing in-off made me take the walk back to the car and reset at Seaton Pt to look for any new-in migrants or waders.

A fairly breezy south-westerly made things tricky, but there were a few Redwing and Blackbird in the bushes, and a Chiffchaff gave some hope around the farmhouse. At around 1708, walking across the caravan site intending to check the beach, I reached the first Hawthorn in a little patch that often holds a few migrants; before I stopped, I noticed a rather pale bird clumsily flitting around at eye level, and on putting my bins up was met with a rather plump, olive-green bird facing away.

I've seen only one other Red-eyed Vireo, at Spurn a few years ago, but knew before it turned it's head that this is what this bird was. Duly, it did turn it's head, a grey crown and striking super beaming out of the dark of the bush - then the panic started. I'd been viewing the bird through other branches, and initial attempts to grab a photo failed epically. Do I put news out straight away, knowing I'd have to faff around with location pings etc, or push for a record shot? I did the latter, but failed again for a couple of minutes.

With clouds looming and light starting to ebb away I hurridly put a message on the county Whatsapp Group, along with my location, but in doing so had lost track of the bird. Thankfully, it was still there, motionless in the bottom of the hawthorn, and it was here I got my first shots.

Very similar to my first views, this time then focus managed to lock

After climbing to the top of the hawthorn the bird then flew a short distance out of view - it was here that I lost it for almost 10 minutes, before relocating it in another small hawthorn down the track. Another short flight and some good close, but oscured, views followed before it ended up in a quite a sparse hawthorn for the final 10/15 minutes I saw it. Luckily, John Rutter managed to arrive and get a good view before it seemingly bunked down for the evening, frustratingly just minutes before a larger group of birders began to arrive.

Views gradually improved, until it got into the sparse hawthron below...

An very blustery start on Sunday morning saw a small group of us looking to no avail, and despite me heading back late afternoon in stiller conditions, it does seem to have moved on. A shame, but that area never tends to hold birds for long, my Dusky Warbler in 2020 staying for two days about the only exception I think. Without doubt my best find this year, probably ever given the verdict on my Spurn Baikal Teal, it becomes the 197th species I've seen within 5km from home this year. 

Boulmer brought me my first Nearctic find in 2020, an American Golden Plover, and now my first yank passerine, pretty incredible really. Hopefully some sibes to come this week get me across the 200 mark!

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Red-eyed Vireo, Seaton Point 15/10/22

 A short write-up of what will probably be my find of the year before the easterlies hit midweek. For the past two weeks, a Nearctic passeri...