Fast-forward to Thursday, four days into our ‘birding fortnight’, non-existent Norfolk migrants and reports of a very content East Olivaceous Warbler in Fife, the inevitable happened. I receive a call ‘Shall we go to Scotland tomorrow?’
Just before 2am Gary Picked me up, collecting Robert on the way we arrived in Scotland by 7.30 and after a stop for breakfast we arrived in Fife Ness, Fife about 10.30am. After a while we soon located the bird. Constantly ticking it wasn’t hard to follow through the scrub. The bird was quite mobile but the brief views were had were frequent and often at close range. A quick look on the sea turned up the expected sea birds and hunting around the area we found a couple of Blackcap, Reed Bunting, Blackbirds and a very tired Redwing. A Red Breasted Flycatcher was located near the gate before we left, and there was also at least 3 Chiffchaff in the area, but the Radde’s Warbler of the previous day couldn’t be relocated.
Driving home we decide to look for Black Grouse, a bird Robert has never seen. Heading towards Langden Beck a well known site for Black Grouse in Durham, we stumbled across 15 Black Grouse in a couple of fields in Northumberland. The 13 cocks all in one place was very unexpected and almost takes moment of the day from the Eastern Olivaceous. Most of the birds mysterious melted away over the 20min or so we watched them, I assume heading off to roost as the sun started to drop behind the hills. A brief spontaneous stop ‘somewhere on a hill’ allowed Robert to pick up ‘Grouse Lifer’ number two when we found 4/5 Red Grouse in the fading light. A beautiful sunset then finished off the day nicely (the following 5 hours drive home in drizzle aside).