This Roller was first spotted at Spurn on Tuesday 29th May. It was seen at several locations there before being last sighted at about noon. It then remained hidden for a couple of days before being relocated on the Thursday. Since then literally hundreds of birders and twitchers have been to see it. 2 of my 'students' were only a couple of miles up the road, so I alerted them to its presence. They went to see it one day, but then returned the following morning to get some pictures.
As you can see from the picture it is not a small bird, and dwarfs the Meadow Pipit and Goldfinch seen in the photograph. It is about the same size as a Jackdaw, and its colours almost rival a Kingfisher. It is a little off course, as its nearest breeding site is probably in Spain. It has taken up residence in a drilled field where it seems to be surviving on a diet of worms, beetles and other insects.
My Saturday morning job was cancelled, so I took my 12 year-old-nephew to see it. We drove past 6 times & had brief glimpses, and then I parked up for a couple of seconds so we could both see it through the bins. Although it was only 8.15 am there were already plenty of what he called 'geeks' in attendance, and he didn't want to stop for a better view (which he now regrets). I also find these twitches deeply uncomfortable, so I wasn't sorry he wanted to move on. There is no denying this is a gloriously plumaged bird, and it would be great to have a longer look at this species one day.
As I type this post the bird is still present, possibly for the longest stay of this species in Yorkshire, and now a second bird has been sighted near Hornsea Mere! I wonder if they are of a different gender...
All pics (c) 2012 Phil Hargreaves
Roller being Mobbed by Meadow Pipit
PS. The Roller was still present today (5th June), but is now often showing more distantly than previously. Yesterday one reliable witness saw "selfish behaviour" from some of the twitching fraternity with cars abandoned in awkward places. In the end the police were called & several twitchers were asked to move their vehicles. As far as I know the Hornsea Mere Roller hasn't been seen today.