Sunday, January 04, 2004

Days away from the Peterborough area seem to be as rare as birds' teeth. My days of chasing rarities around the country aren't quite altogether gone, just usually confined to lifers.

The recent Yankee Robin (Cornwall) and Baltimore Oriole (Oxford) were very tempting, but I didn't succumb. Another Yankee Robin less than two hours away in Grimsby tho soon sent my pulse racing and I could feel a spot of dirty twitching coming on!

Having ignored the robin yesterday in favour of some more top Peterborough birding (but it didn't come close to 2 Jan), Katie Fuller and I decide to head up the A15 when news was confirmed this morning. By late morning we had joined a decent gathering on day three of the Grimsby Yankee Robin's (known) stay (it may well have come in much earlier but was only 'found' on Friday).

The bird gave cracking views as it fed on berry-laden bushes or on the ground on apples and worms. It seemed very aggressive at times to the Blackbirds using the same patch. This first-winter female made it a species pair for me, having already seen a first-winter male on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly in 1998.

Katie and I spent over an hour enjoying the robin and chatting to friends from far and wide (well I was anyway!) before we headed round the corner to watch one of those must-see birds - Waxwing. Few species have the Waxwing's charisma and this bird didn't disappoint, performing brilliantly and doing its 'Don King' impersonation. Crackin!

After a few frame-filling snaps, we headed west to Far Ings where we had a great couple of hours seeking out a Red-necked Grebe and tripping across all sorts of goodies along the way - Smew, Water Rail, Scaup and Willow Tit.

I'd forgotten how good these 'away days' can be, and I might just have to think about some more dirty twitching in the near future.