Sunday, 4 July 2010

Mega Rarity Found at Holywell!

Holywell Birding shows the group his mega find. As you can see niether Cain nor the finch came to any harm. Many twitchers will, I know, regret the fact that the finding was supressed, even if it was done so for sound reasons. I hope the photograph will ease their pain of not 'ticking' the bird.
3rd July. Before I go onto discuss the mega find by Holywell Birding, I’d just like to say that the day he planned and organised so well for the 19th Whitley Bay Scout Group was a great success. It was a pleasure to be part of it and to see the interest and enthusiasm shown by all of the young people involved (and the not so young too:-)). It was a great day. Take a bow Cain and never let anyone tell you that young people can't be interested in nature!

Now, as if ordered for the day, the sun shone and birds of the likes of Hobby and Little Egret made an appearance at the pond, along with some notable Dragonflies. Sadly I was sweating in the dene at the time, so missed them. However I enjoyed showing the group some of the botanical interest down there and I was at least with them when we all had close up sightings of a remarkably rare and little known yellow finch. News of the birds appearance had been suppressed owing to the fact that there may be a pair attempting to breed in the area. I would plead with all twitchers that they refrain from attempting to find this bird and risking disturbance!

I have every faith in Holywell Birdings ornithological expertise, so I never had any doubt that he was onto something when he told me that he had discovered the bird the evening before. However there had been a little scepticism amongst a few of the scouts so Cain showed everyone one of the feathers he had found from the finch. I understand that this feather has today been sent off for DNA testing as there is some thought that this bird may be an entirely new species. If this is proven to be the case, someone has already suggested the scientific name of Carduelis megacainus and in high ornithological circles it is already being talked of as the ‘Scrimmy’ Finch.

Because of some perceived scepticism amongst the group, Cain took the group, me and Phil, aka Crammy Birder, down to take a look at the bird feeding. I noted that it feeds upside down and I learnt that it has already built a fierce reputation especially if disturbed when feeding. Unperturbed Cain took one of the scouts along with him to try and capture the bird for ringing purposes. So stealthily did they approach, I thought we might be here until Sunday, and thought about asking the scouts to pitch a tent. Crammy Birder will testify that we heard the finch singing as the two approached. Having put their field skills to good use they did eventually reach the part of the hedge where the bird was feeding and Cain pounced upon the bird. The bird appeared to take exception to this and at one point had Cain on his back and I heard a distinct scream. My heart missed a few beats at this point, as I thought the worst. However it wasn’t long before the calmed finch was being carried back to the group cradled in the arm of the scout. This was met by loud calls of ‘Rubber Duck’ by some of the group. I can only assume this is some kind of triumphant call that Scouts use!

So there you are. There can be no doubts about the veracity of the find which is backed up by my photo which I have no doubt will give the rarities committee something to ponder over as they take their coffee. Crammy Birder has already added it to his life list and is simply awaiting clarification as to whether it is a new species. I was thrilled to be a part of this. Only Holywell Birding, Crammy Birder, Killy Birder and the 19th Whitley Bay Scout Group saw this bird which no doubt will prove to be a blocker for many twitchers for many years to come. You’ll have to live with it guys!

I’ve included some quotes from the day below.

Holywell Birding…’I have no intention of parting with the yellow feather I found as it means so much to me, unless of course anyone come up with a good offer of more than fifty quid!’.

Crammy Birder…’This bird is on my life list as I speak, and as everyone knows, nothing dodgy goes on there………well at least not very often’.

Scout Jack…I never doubted that Cain had made a real mega find here, and the photo proves it!

Scout Vaughn…Wow, great stuff. I’m only sorry I couldn’t put it in my box with the rest of my collection and take it home. When I get home I’m gonna double check that Brian got all the flower names correct.

Scout anonymous… ‘I never believed this was a real bird until I saw it in Cain’s hands. Now I feel a little foolish, so please don’t name me!’

Scout anonymous…Ok, I know I moaned about having to walk so far in the dene, but being allowed to carry such a rare bird really made up for the exhausting walk and I’m proud to be one of the few to have seen this bird.


  1. I hope that rumours that Cain is planning to install a turnstile at the entrance are unfounded!!!
    This rarity should be accessible to everyone, not just the ones that can afford the alleged £25 entrance charge.

  2. Sadly the turnstiles were necessary to control the crowds John. The £25 is going to a good cause, I'm sure. I don't think the bird has been visible however. Brian

  3. John, I'll let you in for a fiver :)