1 week ago
Saturday, 3 July 2010
A tick? Don't bet the House on it...
With a free afternoon, only Radio 5 Live for company, and no other distractions closer to home, I felt I had finally run out of reasons not to go and see the House Finch (right) at East Prawle. Despite the certainty that, if it has come from the Americas, it must have been by boat, the fact that it is naturalised rather than native to the East Coast, and the continuing possibility of it being an escape, the presence of other American sparrows at the same time creates a small chance that it may make it onto the British list as a ship-assisted vagrant. Crazy, perhaps, but I don't make the rules. Holland had just beatean Brazil and Murray was a set down when I arrived, two by the time I saw the bird and out long before I gave up on a second look. Feeling sullied by the experience of 'insurance ticking', I had to spend some time photographing 'proper' birds in the form of Cirl Buntings at Prawle Point - at least 3 singing males (right) within 50 yards of the car park. My luck held out, unlike Ghana's, on the return journey with the Gull-billed Tern reported at Topsham at 20:53 just as I was approaching Exeter. By 21:30 I was watching the bird in the near darkness, accompanied by a beautiful summer plumaged Spotted Redshank, a family of Black Swans, hordes of baby toads crossing the path and a huge, restless Sand Martin flock roosting in the reedbed.