Monday, 12 February 2018

Sunday express twitch for American Horned Lark

American Horned Lark
Thinking time - will I be accepted

Access point
Views all around
Jumbo's easier to see than Black-necked Grebes

A 5.15am wake up enabled me to catch Match of the Day on the TV before heading over to Warwick for a 6.30am meet up with the Racecourse clan of @1stbirdoftheday, Lizzy & Jack. They had kindly offered me a spare seat for a trip to Staines to see the long staying American Horned Lark.

We flew down the M40 taking in splendid views of 30+ Red Kites, many close to the motorway. 

A quick fruit loaf breakfast from the car boot & a few layers of coats put us ready to battle the cold, fresh London morning. Heading up a well used footpath, avoiding many leftover gifts from local dogs, the biting wind could be felt. A couple of early birders hadn't located the Lark so we were pleased that a shout came from the far end it had been found whilst we were scanning & watching the Goldeneye. 

Whilst the high railings were not ideal it didn't stop you getting excellent views of the bird. I tried to get a few record shots but the bird was always behind a tuft of scrub or grass.

There have been three previous records of which all were rejected. Should it be accepted it would be a first for Britain. When you research Shore Larks there could be 40+ sub species which most are non migratory. 

The bird certainly had less yellow on its head whilst it's mask was far not obvious. The throat was very yellow, quite a dark back. Sizewise it looked similar to a Skylark. It will be interesting to read what the powers that be make of the bird. 

We called in at a very muddy Staines Moor but the local dog population ended any birding hopes but a Little Egret flew over the car which a nice last bird in the capital.

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