Wednesday 27th October 2010
Yesterday's birding was confined to a tour round the housing estates on the eastern side of Nuneaton. If I'd been looking for cul de sacs I'd have been well chuffed but looking for a reported flock of 30 Waxwings was a different matter. They'd obviously moved on in the few minutes between the pager message and getting on site, a near miss.
Today Lady Luck was smiling. I decided to have another crack at Draycote Water. As I said a couple of days ago birds ARE still moving. My good friend Tony Shepherd saw a Gannet yesterday following the river at Walton a few miles east of Stratford upon Avon. So Draycote seemed as good a bet as anywhere. The luck bit was that for once I was in the right place, just beyond the inlet going towards the valve tower to see the birds in question. I'd just left Kevin Grewcock and had just been looking at a Common Sandpiper at the inlet. When I picked up a distinctive call I didnt recognise. No surprise there, my knowledge of calls isnt as good as it should be, but I knew it was something I wasn't familiar with. I counted 7 birds. They certainly were not Skylarks, but a similar size. I carried the sound round with me for the rest of walk round the reservoir. At various points I stopped to phone people up who might be able to help. Pete Forbes tried to play the call through his mobile phone but it didnt work. I even went to Brandon Marsh for some advice but although the receptionists tried their best to help their computer wasn't wired for sound, so not much good. I had a quick look round the reserve (Green Sandpiper and lots of Common Snipe) then I went home to check out calls. 2 hours later I hadnt found a satisfactory clip of the flight call, just the song. But, looking in various books, the rrrrrt quite loud rasping sound perfectly described what I heard and strengthened my view that I'd seen 7 Lapland Buntings flying over Draycote Water. Its just a shame I was the only observer of this very rare visitor to the County. I shan't submit the record until I've heard a better recording of the flight call, but I'm pretty sure it will confirm the ID.