A tale of nature, wildlife and birding from Cheshire, North Wales and across the globe....

A tale of nature, wildlife and birding from Cheshire, North Wales and across the globe....

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Isabelline Wheatear - Easington, Yorkshire!

With a prolonged spate of easterly winds over the past few weeks, it was only a matter of time before the eastern hotspot of Britain that is Spurn delivered once again, and true to form a fine Isabelline Wheatear was found at Easington on the 17th of the last month, hot on the heels of the first mainland British record of Siberian Accentor just a few days earlier.
Isabelline Wheatear - Easington, Yorkshire
With 36 past records of Isabelline Wheatear in Britain, despite becoming almost annual in recent years, they are still extremely rare birds, and having missed the Seaton Snook bird in Cleveland back in 2014, this was the first opportunity to catch up with one since on British soil. Luckily, the Easington bird stuck until the weekend (it was first found on a Monday – typical) and come a cold and blustery Saturday morning we were braving the biting nip of an easterly wind as we trudged along the field edge to catch up with our target bird. Thankfully, we didn’t have long to wait, as upon arrival the Wheatear was crouching in the grass relatively near to the fence line, offering great views through the scope before hopping up and heading further out in to the field. 
Isabelline Wheatear - Easington, Yorkshire
Isabelline Wheatear - Easington, Yorkshire
Isabelline Wheatear - Easington, Yorkshire
Watching as it flitted and scurried over the bare soil of the adjacent ploughed field, we could take in all the features that distinguish Isabelline Wheatears from the similar Northern Wheatears we’re more accustomed to seeing in Britain – the white fore eyebrow as opposed to the buff colouration seen on Northern Wheatears, along with the black alula of the Isabelline that contrasts with the pale wing. The thick black band on the end of the tail was also apparent on the occasional instances when the bird flew, as were the paler upper wings (Isabelline actually means a pale creamy-brown fawn colour – which the Wheatear definitely was!).
Isabelline Wheatear - Easington, Yorkshire
The black alula contrasting with the pale wing...
Isabelline Wheatear - Easington, Yorkshire
...and the thick black band on the end of the tail
Normally occurring in the Middle-East, Russia and Northern Africa, with the prolonged easterlies, presumably originating from the depths of these areas and capturing birds on migration, there has since been a slight invasion of Isabelline Wheatears, with a whopping further 6 birds found over the course of a couple of weeks. 
Easington, Yorkshire
The field the Isabelline Wheatear was favouring
Whilst not the brightest of species, or indeed, individual, never the less this was a much welcome bird and a great autumnal Wheatear to catch up with. 
Isabelline Wheatear - Easington, Yorkshire

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