The Plan : the plan was to have a quick look around the Mancetter Hills, principally to look for Ring Ouzel and then ease up to Middleton Lakes to look for Grasshopper warbler and then maybe pop in to Shustoke Res. That was the plan but things didnt quite work out that way. I started at Steppy Lane but there wasnt much about except Linnets, Sand Martins and the odd Skylark. I walked back to the car but instead of going on to the Tame valley decided to check out some Sheep enclosures and Horse paddocks where a Wheatear had been found a couple of days before. Nothing in the paddocks except a single Yellowhammer but on a gate next to some disused farm machinery was a rather dark looking Redstart. My immediate reaction was Black Redstart but then caution took over as there hadnt been too many records and certainly not in Warwickshire. I continued to watch becoming more and more convinced it was indeed a Black Redstart. I phoned Steve H. and went back for my camera. On returning the bird showed again and I got a record shot.
Black Redstart, Mancetter N.Warks
After putting out news I was joined by a few other local enthusiasts and although the bird disappeared for a while it eventually reappeared to give everyone reasonable views.
It was now probably too late to look for Grasshopper warbler so it was lunch at home, during which Dave H. phoned with news of a possible Red rump Swallow at Draycote Water. I wasnt dashing over for a possible but when it changed into a Fulmar I made a move. Normally I would avoid Draycote like the plague on a Bank holiday but a Fulmar is a great bird for Warks. so it was worth a try. Now can you 'see' a bird you didnt identify for certain at the time? I saw the Fulmar shortly after arriving. It was circling quite high up but the dark grey wings with white marks were clear however, the shape and pointed wings didnt seem right so I dismissed it. It was only when I saw Tim Marlow's photo that I was sure the bird I'd seen was the Fulmar. Other birds on site were less problematic: 7 Little Gulls, 2 Common Scoters and a flyover Whimbrel.
I needed a cup of tea and some peace and quiet after all the excitement. Morrisons on the way back was just the ticket. I was the only person in the Cafe. Back at home I remembered that I'd picked up a message somewhere along the line that the Red crested Pochard were still on Mill pool Alvecote.If I was going to do a County year list I needed to go.
Red crested Pochard, Alvecote