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Monday, 21 November 2011

BLACKPOLL WARBLER in Kent

The 44th BLACKPOLL WARBLER for Britain and the first for KENT was found and identified by Andrew Appleton in the St James' area of Royal Tunbridge Wells mid-afternoon on Saturday 19 November. News of its discovery was broadcast within minutes and fortuitously for county birders Barry Wright and Chris Gibbard, both were within 17 miles driving distance of the site and arrived less than 45 minutes later.

Andy had discovered the bird whilst working at his garage and had managed to keep on it up until the time the two other observers arrived. It was keeping fairly low in the foliage and was favouring a belt of trees and shrubs bordering Pennine Walk where he lived. It remained on view for about an hour, allowing both Barry and Chris to connect, but disappeared just ten minutes before Andy Lawson and others started to arrive. It represented the 451st species of this year in Britain and Ireland....

On Sunday 20 November, no less than 100 observers turned out and despite exhaustive searching of the entire area, it was not relocated and was considered to have departed on the cold, clear night. It was a surprise therefore, to hear that Miles Wheeler had relocated it in the same initial bank of trees at 1115 hours today. Once again, the bird was feeding alone, although very loosely associating with Blue and Long-tailed Tits. At least 40 observers turned out again but alas, no further sign was had. A truly elusive bird.

DIRECTIONS: Leave the A21 at the A264 turning and head towards Royal Tunbridge Wells. After exactly 1.2 miles, turn right on to Sandrock Road and then first right in to Cleveland. Park sensibly and courteously along Cleveland and continue on foot into Pennine Walk cul-de-sac. The belt of trees and overhanging Willows that the bird has been frequenting border the road on the right.

For a Finder's Account, read my blog at http://rarebirdsinbritain.blogspot.com/