Although there's been some outstanding birds spotted in Yorkshire this autumn - the Green Warbler at Buckton & Long-toed Stint at St Aidan's both new to Yorkshire - there's not been many of those classic 'falls' of migrating birds that more often than not bring in rare and unusual species. A few trips out to Flamborough Head in October produced only bits and pieces - a few Bramblings and Siskins in off the sea, a Jack Snipe flushed from the cliffside - and then a full 2 hours peering into a bush one afternoon with several other birders looking for a Red-flanked Bluetail that some saw but it totally eluded me! So it was into November before I was rewarded by something special, a Taiga Flycatcher that appeared in the wooded valley at Flamborough South Landing on the 4th November, a top bird indeed with the only dispute being whether it was the same bird that was seen at the fog-horn station the previous month - either way it was the 5th or 6th record for the UK. Here's the 2 candidates side by side.
Things got even better on the same day when someone turned up a Red-flanked Bluetail at the same location. It was typically skulking the day I was there with much crouching going on just to get a glimpse of the blessed thing, but sweet reward for having dipped on one a few weeks before. - two 'lifers' in one day, get in! The Bluetail was much more confiding during the next few days it was there when it could be seen in all the glory that it's name suggests.
A week later a Pallas's Warbler was flitting about in willow trees on the golf course and was the last 'twitchable' bird of the autumn at Flamborough. Not in the 'mega' rarity bracket perhaps but such a smart little leaf warbler, always a joy to see if you get a good look at one, and it reminded me of my first ever Pallas's at Flamborough back in 2013. As well as being a new bird for me, I was lucky enough to find it (in one of the gullies between South Landing and the headland), see it on my own and watch it feeding for a good length of time. It's one of my most treasured birding memories and this latest Pallas's is a fitting end to the Autumn migration season at Flamborough.
Thanks to Tony Dixon for his images.