Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Hot young things

Much in keeping with the rest of the UK we are bathing in glorious weather, which is doing wonders for my tan ! Not much happening on the bird front, apart from a Crossbill influx which i am yet to witness so turned my attentions to the bird youth on the isle.

2 Harbour Porpoise this morning also from the garden.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

A Royal re-Tern

Saturday 20th June

A 2 hour flight delay in Edinburgh was eased when i bumped into of all people Tom McKinney returning from a gig in Orkney. Back into Manchester and received news of the African Royal Tern appearing again, this time at Llandudno so dropped my bags at home and made the short(ish) journey into North Wales. Lots of birders where strewn along the promenade and was wasn't long before it was picked up, distant from my position but decent scope views then it disappeared around the Orme. with that i drove down to the other end and no sooner was i out of the car it reappeared flying right in front of me giving excellent views. Managed an absolute crap shot of it (dial was set to M) but at least you can tell what it is ?

A pleasant afternoon was spoilt by the old bill who pulled me up for speeding issuing me with a fixed penalty notice, bastards.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Springs last gasp ?

After yesterdays washout decided to do a bit of isle hopping and head over to Bressay. A tentative and patient 1 hour wait was rewarded with decent views of the Lesser Grey Shrike as it moved along the telegraph wires and fences, very flighty and totally unapproachable.

Came across a group of Bonxies constantly arguing over a couple of rabbit carcass's.

Making a day of it, i headed down to the Orca Inn at Hoswick for the singing Marsh Warbler (and a cup of tea) residing in a patch of scrub in the corner of the car park. Fortunately it was constantly in song and pretty much always in view.

Spent an hour or so trying to photograph Puffins in flight, coming to the conclusion i need a lot of practice ! Then bumped into Rob on the way down who prophesied Red-necked Stint or Sandplover on Virkie in the up and coming weeks? You heard it here first (or second if you heard it from Rob).

Friday, 12 June 2009

Redneck country

Joined Dougie this morning for a trip over to Unst & Fetlar with Skaw being the first stop. Unfortunately it seems the Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler has scarpered last being seen on Wednesday, although all may not be lost as it could well be the same bird that was present a Scatness a couple of weeks ago ? Also i saw the (probable) Moltoni's in Norfolk in 2007. A check of various sites on Unst all drew blanks so got the ferry over to Fetlar. Fortunately Fetlar was more rewarding with a pair of Red-necked Phalaropes showing exceptionally well on Loch of Funzie, a female Red-backed Shrike and a brief Water Rail also showing from the hide.

1 out of 3 Prats !

Wednesday 10th June.

Decided to make the journey to Norfolk for the Black-winged Pratincole, an early message had me heading for Titchwell RSPB but no sign by the time i arrived. This has to be my favourite reserve in Norfolk, great habitat and its easy to see the birds. Also it was like an audible attack on my ears? Birds were singing everywhere. Sedge, Reed & Cetti's Warblers were in full song, a Bittern booming and half a dozen Little Gulls calling frantically. Visual highlights were 5 Spoonbills, a Bittern in flight, a female Red-crested Pochard with 5 young, Little Terns and eventually the Black-winged Pratincole that gave a flying masterclass and showed well at a distance mostly, hence the crap photo.

Also visited Choseley barns where Whitethroats were in song everywhere and a trip to a top secret undisclosed location was rewarded with excellent views of a male Montagu's Harrier as well as 2 Turtle Doves.

Friday, 5 June 2009

A bit wild

Thought i better get out in between the wind and rain, so popped down to the Houb to photograph the seabirds getting blown about. I think it the birds that were in full control whilst i was constantly buffeted by the strong northerly wind. It was good to get out for 30 minutes though and equally good to get back indoors.

Thursday, 4 June 2009


Not sure if anybody checked Whalsay today because i know i didn't, took the dogs round the Loch then got back inside out of the cold northerly wind. Wish i could say it will be different tomorrow but with the wind plus rain forecast i doubt it. Back to Cheshire on Saturday so i am sure the big one will turn up then, would be typical.

Thought i would post a picture of the sunset from a few nights ago taken from the garden also.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Spice Girls tribute !

A trip into Lerwick this morning meant a quick visit to Henry's Loch at Quarff for the Wood Sandpipers, unfortunately 2 had become 1 but it showed quite welll and was a nice year tick.

A check of patch produced nothing other than mass swarms of fledged Starlings !

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Good to be wrong ?

Checked patch this morning with not much hope for anything new, that was short lived as a Siskin flew over calling. Unfortunately it was a false dawn as that was it, so turned my attentions to Broughs Butterfly's, lots of Large Whites and 3 Painted Ladies were still around.

With Broughs lack of birds decided to check a few sites on the isle, the Chiffchaff remains at Skaw and a Spotted Flycatcher was at Skiberhoull. A check of a few gardens at Hamister was more rewarding with at first a Robin then a Golden Oriole, possibly a different bird to Saturdays and another Spotted Flycatcher. A check of Symbister meadows produced an Alba Wagtail and a Common Tern was in the harbour. So much for my theory of no birds in northerlies.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Dead !

After yesterdays high excitement i suppose today was bound to be an anticlimax, but i didn't expect it to be so anti-climatic. Patch was dead in fact Whalsay was dead, the only migrant on the isle was the singing Chiffchaff at Skaw. Winds have switched to the north so i don't expect to many new birds soon, i hope i eat my words !