Sunday 9 December 2012

The best redpoll ever

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Liam's been staying with me at the weekend for some birding (see yesterday's post for our first outing) and when a HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL came through from Suffolk in the middle of dinner, we were erring as to whether or not to go. It was a bit of a way and we were looking forward to a relaxed day staying local. We started today at Banstead Downs Golf Course, locating at least one of the wintering Firecrests and both independently hearing a 99%-certain Waxwing calling once as it passed over, maybe a hundred feet up. It was then that the redpoll came on the pager; I called Ian to see if he was up for it, and picked him up. We very briefly stopped on Canons Lane to allow Liam to Canons-tick Lapwing, which was a success. A good sign!

The journey was remarkably smooth and we got to Aldeburgh in about two-and-a-half hours. It took me a while to get ready and by the time I started putting my camera over my shoulder and locking the car Ian and Liam had seen the bird well and watched it fly off! Not to worry, though, as it was soon relocated and it didn't exactly prove a challenge to get on or get clear views of, showing virtually no fear of the several-dozen birders admiring it. A true beauty, allowing both its overall striking appearance and more precise features to be observed in exceptional viewing conditions. Happy all round, with no reason for angst about photographers or people getting too close as the bird simply did not care.