Thursday, 10 November 2011

Local Mega - TWITE at Wilstone


It was another mild day today with the wind still blowing from the south. It was also fairly misty first thing before the sun shone through, giving way to clearer skies


With CDRH phoning me on a daily basis with 'another' batch of Dark-bellied Brent Geese at Queen Mother Reservoir, I visited Wilstone in the hope that one may have made landfall there, particularly as Herts has been largely devoid of this species in 2011. As suspected, there were none, and in fact virtually nothing different from what has been there on recent days.....

The WATER PIPIT was still present in the bay just to the north of the jetty, as well as the party of 10 Meadow Pipits - and with them was what I assumed to be the single Linnet noted on previous occasions and first recorded on 24 October. I had heard it fly around with the pipits and casually glanced at it with the naked eye but had not actually looked at it in the bins' or 'scope. I was therefore mightily annoyed when Steve Blake rang not long after I had departed to say that he was watching a single TWITE ! If only I had not assumed that it was the long-staying Linnet and actually followed it up.

Frustratingly, the most frequently uttered call-notes of Twite are those most readily confused with Linnet and those sweet sounds uttered which actually gave this species its name are in the minority, especially outside of summer and the breeding grounds - and hence why I never picked up on its significance. A lesson truly learned

Steve kept on the Twite for several minutes, as it loosely associated with the Meadow Pipit flock close to the jetty on the east bank. On the deck, it kept largely to itself - preferring to feed on the emergent weedy vegetation higher up the 'beach' whilst the pipits mainly kept to the mud. As I was talking Steve through various pointers, the bird suddenly took flight. It called several times again and was then lost from view - the entire flock disappearing out into the fields of Cemetery Corner. Despite a long vigil, it was not seen again, nor the Meadow Pipit flock.

An excellent record Steve but I am hugely frustrated at overlooking it. Just goes to show that single birds can be replaced in exactly the same location and in exactly the same circumstances.....

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