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Post Info TOPIC: Chesterfield area


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RE: Chesterfield area


Weds 18th Nov.

Return visit to the spire after dipping last Wednesday with Ian Lyth.

Ian sighted the Crag Martin from the car-park (09.30 hrs) while I was still putting my coat on !

Gave us a 40 min display flying around the spire in the sunshine.
Able to see the white spots on the underside of the tail.

Made up for last week.

Roger.



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Sunday 15th November
9.15am - 3.30pm

Early morning drive in horrendous conditions, strong winds, driving rain, and surface water made for a tough journey. But the sun came out a bit later despite it still behind a bit windy.

The Eurasian Crag Martin was seen twice before I arrived at 9.15am but a quick check on Twitter revealed it was seen at Chesterfield FC Pro-act Stadium where it roosted last night after watching the footy match. It arrived at the Crooked Spire around 5 minutes after I arrived, and only about 10 people present early on which soon escalated to huge crowds later.

Although not a Lifer, it certainly seemed like it as the bird performed the most spectacular aerial display at lightning speed and totally out-did the views I had in Greece this year.
As previously mentioned it was frustrating just trying to get the bins on it, whizzing around at what appeared to be 150mph, turning on a sixpence in an instant and then rocketing off the other way!
All features were observed due to its prolonged stays, it only disappeared about 3 or 4 times (and not for very long), and online reports confirmed it was at the football stadium in those missing periods. I drove over there at one point as did lots of other people, it took me 4mins 30secs to get there, and the damn thing had flown back to the spire in that short time!
Nice to see some familiar faces there, including Andy Makin.

Other birds of note in the Crooked Spire area...

- Sparrowhawk seen for minutes at a time about 5 or 6 times during the day, circling around, the Crag Martin just carried on going about its business, Sparrowhawk probably felt dizzy and didn't attempt to go for it!
- Raven 2 on high lamp-post just round corner from church
- lots of Greenfinch and Goldfinch around
- steady stream of Black-headed Gulls over
- Mediterranean Gull 2 singles low over the church, I was stood with Andy and his mate when the first one went over, then a little later another went over with a Lesser Black-backed Gull tailing it
- Herring Gull 1 only
- LOTS OF WASPS AROUND TOO!!!

The Crag Martin disappeared for a longer period later on and I made the decision to make tracks for home but stop in briefly at the stadium. A good decision as it was visible flying round inside the stadium briefly popping up to a visible height. It then shocked everyone and gave spectacular views over the car park, twice before finally disappearing as the light faded, more than likely gone to roost in the stadium again.

After failing miserably to get a half decent record shot for most of the day, mainly a blurred outline of the bird, within just a few minutes of being at the stadium I miraculously managed a shot of the bird with tail fanned out showing the windows! Albeit at distance, but good enough for me.

Other birds in and around the stadium...
- Pied Wagtails, many around
- Grey Wagtail 1, heard it firstly, then it appeared on stadium roof
- lots of Magpie and Carrion Crow
- Black-headed Gulls
- noisy Starling gathering around the floodlights
- Goldfinch approx 10-15


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Great views of the Eurasion Crag Martin around the crooked spire from 2.30-2.40 today. Flyover Sparrowhawk seemed not to spook it.



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Good views of the Crag Martin this morning over, around and in Chesterfield FC stadium from around 9 a.m. Usual Oldham Birders suspects, viewing (mainly) from the shelter of the Tesco covered car park at the East Stand end. biggrin The bird seemed to favour the area in front of and under the West Stand, but this may be because viewing at that end gave a slightly better view into the ground, so when the bird disappeared from that end it was difficult to tell if it was roosting up, working the other stands or hawking low over the pitch where it may have been less windy. We left when it headed off to the spire. From later updates it was commuting between the spire and the football ground during the morning.

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What a bird! Good views as it flew around the famous crooked spire around 11am. 

The temperature early morning was just 6 degrees and although things weren't looking good, hope was not lost as things can always quickly change.

Suddenly somebody shouted out "I've just seen a hirundine".

Eyes to the skies and a cheer went up from the assembled 150 or so birders and to our delight the bird was there twisting and turning as it flew close to the church with the backdrop of the clock a good chance to view the details of the plumage.

Myself and my girlfriend Emma celebrated with a meal in a nearby Pub...a memorable day and great to see familiar faces including Sid which was a nice surprise!

Brilliant! 



-- Edited by Phil Owen on Sunday 15th of November 2015 06:54:40 AM

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Well done Sid, I know what you mean. Until I got my eye in on it it was a devil of a thing to even get in my bins!! Today it eventually seemed to go to roost on a support girder in the roof of the East Stand at Chesterfield FC, at the Pro Act Stadium, seen up there at 4.50pm around the time the game finished. If it hangs around I wonder if Chesterfields next home game will get a bumper crowd, full of birders looking up instead of at the pitch!! The other option I suppose is if access is somehow arranged in the sfternoon, probably a long shot though!



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Doc Brewster wrote:

 Scopes not needed but record pictures could be got with anything, I got several on my iPhone, just to record a memorable day out smile


Good advice Paul, about not needing a scope to see the Eurasian Crag Martin - I was over there this morning and it took some time to work out how to get onto the bird with binoculars, never mind scopes!!!  It was whizzing about like a demented flea, nice little bird to watch though.



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The bird was present this morning and now has been found after it had gone missing from the church since early afternoon - at Chesterfield Football Club's Pro Act Stadium. The bird has been seen flying around inside the ground under the stadium roof. Could this be where it has been disappearing off to in the afternoons? I know that there is a thread on these forums about birds seen in football stadiums, this one has got to be the rarest one, surely!! smile And Chesterfield are playing Oldham today so I wonder if any forum members are actually there!!!



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Saturday 14th of November 2015 03:34:56 PM

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Phwew, I'm off the hook, didn't curse it staying it would stay & then it didn't. Today it favoured the same area around the Crooked Spire. But, according to mates on-site, it was less reliable than previous days, heading off for longer periods. It again disappeared early afternoon, just after 1.45pm I think. The postcode is S41 7XB and grid ref SK384711 for anyone heading that way smile

 



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It's back!

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Me & my big mouth, saying how it looked likely to stay no

Not seen all day today, don't know whether it moved on or was taken by a predator. Initial reports said that it had been attracting the attention of the resident Peregrine.



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Glad you got the bird, Chris, great lifer to christen the bins on smile

After watching news on my pager all day yesterday whilst in work I had a day off today so everything was crossed that the bird would stayanother day, the weather forecast being good was a bonus too. Sure enough positive news soon came through and off I headed immediately. I made excellent time en route through Congleton, past Danebower Chimney and through Buxton to arrive on site at 10.30am. Seeing lots of folk that I know I was quickly informed that the bird had flown off 10mins earlier. As this is what it keeps doing I wasn't worried and sure enough it flew back to circle round the 'Crooked Spire' only 5mins later. Initially it was hard to get on as it was so fast but once you got used to its speed & flight pattern it was easy to watch this wonderful hirundine feeding around the spire for lengthy periods. Amazingly for Nov 10th it was T-shirt weather and hordes of birders, members of the public and even the media (BBC Radio Sheffield and a TV camera team) were all entranced.

It seems like most of the northwest had encamped over as the site was full of GM Birders, Cheshire Birders and Lancs Birders, making this not only a succesful, fabulous twitch but a great social gathering too biggrin

For others going there are plenty of car parks right opposite the church which are P&D but at £1.10 per hour it's not too bad. The wardens are pretty hot on checking and visit very regularly so best not try to get away without paying. At the moment several Crag Martins have taken up residence in cities over on mainland Europe and have stuck around for many days, the warmer microclimate in cities/towns and the abundance of insects holding them in situ, so hopefully this bird will stick around for some time too and allow anyone else who wants to see it to get across, maybe at the weekend. Scopes not needed but record pictures could be got with anything, I got several on my iPhone, just to record a memorable day out smile



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When you "dip" a bird you feel bad, when you "dip" the same bird twice in the same week you become a little bit damaged towards that species! This happened to members of the "A Team" last year at Flamborough. So, when one turns up in Chesterfield, Derbyshire on a wet and windy miserable day and only stays for a couple of hours. It made you think, "At least we didn't go and "dip" the species again". After a discussion about this species only being one day birds (not like the Flamborough bird) I put it to the back of my mind. At 8-30am a frenzied call from Bob K proclaimed that the Crag Martin was," still around the Twisted Spire in the centre of Chesterfield". Hurried plans and calls were made, including Steve B getting to Milnrow, which saw us heading for Derbyshire around 10-30am. The weather was terrible with high winds & rain all the way along the 50mph motorway`s M62 & M1. Well done to Bob K for driving through all that and getting us to Chesterfield by 12-15pm. It was still raining as we parked up and headed for the twisted spire with the news that the bird was still present. Lots of soaked birders were watching the bird as we arrived and we were put straight onto it. The Crag Martin whizzed around the spire catching prey items and apart from looking a little wet gave very good views with all the ID features seen. It is a long way from home and must have arrived on the back of all the bad (good for birding) recent weather that we have had. Hope it makes it back home to Southern Europe/ Africa. We met some people that had "dipped" the bird the day before and they looked quite relieved to have seen this enigmatic species. We also saw John W from Blackburn, Rob L ex Bolton and Steve from Nottingham of dipped Acadian Flycatcher at Dungeness fame, we had a good laugh. It was time to return to Rochdale. We came back over the Snake Pass and apart from the abysmal weather all enjoyed the ride over the tops.

Dave O



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Superb ,though all too brief views, of the Eurasian Crag Martin around the crooked spire at lunchtime today.Despite the rather inclement weather, and poor light conditions,all the distinctive features of the bird were easily observed,mainly thanks to my recent purchase from Focalpoint Optics.Thanks for all the time , and excellent, impartial advice Doc  wink

Cheers Chris



-- Edited by Chris Greene on Monday 9th of November 2015 04:40:15 PM

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Crag Martin still around the Chesterfield crooked spire this morning, showing well, info from RBA Pagers. News that is like a dagger through the heart (sorry for that over-exaggeration!!) to all us weekday workers smile



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The arrival of a Eurasian Crag Martin in Chesterfield had myself, Steve Burke and Simon Gough heading off to the Crooked Spire.

I've seen them before in Greece this year but I thought if this one is still around when we got there, it might provide some good close views.

Unfortunately it seemed the bird wasn't seen from 1.50pm and 1.59pm according to Birdguides and Twitter respectively and it stayed that way for everyone present, and there were a lot there too!

Other birds of note...
-It appeared that a sizeable Finch roost was in the church garden somewhere. Lots of Goldfinch and Greenfinch were flying round and coming in to the trees.
-large flock of winter Thrushes went over, didn't get bins on them quick enough
-a few Blue Tits
-a single Black-headed Gull that was very high up, I saw some of the gathering opposite pointing up at it but it was definitely a Black-headed Gull

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Visiting family in Arkwright, saw about half a dozen Tree Sparrows on a bird feeder in the village.

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