Red-footed Falcon on the patch today is a FULL, FAT, PATCH TICK!
|As I turned up with no scope or camera, I've nicked this from Tom Cadwallender (cheers Tom)|
I was in Warkworth this afternoon watching the Tour of Britain cycle race come through the Northumberland Coast AONB, as I was leaving I got a phone call from Frank Golding who said "I think I might have had a red-footed falcon over Hemscotthill Farm" - Frank had also been watching the TofB but had put his camera away when the bird cam by and he hadn't seen where it went.
I had some more work to do, but I drove by that way on my home, checking fence-posts and overhead wires as I went, not seeing anything.
An hour or so later, I got a phone call from Dave Elliott to say he was watching a male red-footed falcon just north of Bell's Farm. I was soon on the scene (without a scope or camera, luckily I had my bins) to watch a fantastic male red-footed falcon sitting on some straw bales by the side of a field that was being sown, eating a worm.
Not technically on the patch, but the rules of PWC are that if it is seen from the patch - it counts. So off I ran, up the road, with Janet's scope, to watch it from my patch boundary.
We watched it for a half an hour or so, getting good views as it flew from the straw bales to the fence and back. There were two generations of feathers in the wing and it was in active moult, showing it to be a second-calender-year male. - A stunning bird!
A good handful of county-listers came for it, but a lot hadn't arrived when the red-foot was flushed up by a passing marsh harrier. It flew off, north... right over the patch (so it is a proper patch-bird now) and just kept going. It was last seen heading over the plantation towards Low Chibburn and Red Row.
The addition of red-footed falcon to my patch list takes it to 237.
I did wonder whether I would see any new birds on the patch this year after an incredible five new species last year.
R-FF was also a new bird for Northumberland and Britain for me.
Big thanks to Frank and Dave!