Monday 15 February 2010


Saturday 13th September 2007.
The days prior had seen quite a fall of migrants, most notably good numbers of Redstarts and Willow Warblers around patch. The day earlier had me scampering around Shetland ultimately for stunning views of a Lanceolated Warbler at Sumburgh Head, not before I had attempted Yellow-breasted Bunting on Fetlar (got as far as Yell) and a Great Snipe at Quendale (needle in haystack springs to mind).
The morning of the 13th was very pleasant after the strong winds and persistent rain of the previous days. It was pretty evident early on that there had been a considerable fall of migrants overnight and meant a full day concentrating solely on patch. The morning produced a very showy Red-breasted Flycatcher and a Common Rosefinch. Down at the Houb a Tree Pipit showed well, as did a Yellow Wagtail around the churchyard and 5 Brent Geese flew over.

After a quick bite to eat it was back around patch retracing my steps. The Red-breasted Flycatcher was still about but there was no sign of the Common Rosefinch. A Wryneck was found by the 2 Johns at the rig, which showed well on a fence post albeit at a distance. After circumnavigating all the gardens and ditches I decided to check Brough quarry, I later found out no-one had ever checked here. It looks decent enough habitat a small grassy area outside the perimeter fence and a decent area of scrub and weeds inside, mainly made up of nettles and docks with a lone bush for cover. No sooner was I walking through the docks I flushed a Bunting which gave a short flight and pitched back down. With very little to go on I walked forward but this time it flew out of the quarry and into the fields over the road. I did manage to get enough to eliminate the commoner Buntings, and also had the Fetlar Yellow-breasted Bunting from yesterday swirling around my head. As I tried to call Jon Laurie he was in turn calling me ? A Corncrake in a garden at Vats-Houll, I told him of my Bunting and felt it best to see the Corncrake then return to the quarry 'mob handed'. After good scurrying views of the Corncrake it was back to the quarry. Fortunately the Bunting was back and again flushed easily and again out of the quarry, but this time John Laurie managed enough of the salient features to be sure it was a Yellow-breasted Bunting. We searched around a few of the crofts and the fields opposite the quarry but no sign, then after about an hour returned again to the quarry. Again the Bunting was back but thankfully when it flew it stayed in the quarry and on its second flight flew out onto the hardcore to reveal itself. It was thankfully a Yellow-breasted Bunting, not only was it a lifer but also my first self found BB rarity. Makes you wonder what has gone undisturbed here in previous years ? It showed well into the fading light were we left it to roost. It was still present early the next morning showing well but wasn't seen later in the day. Managed to source some excellent images off Dr Marshall, as mine were crap. So glad I did.

Full days count around Brough - 10+ Redstart, 20+ Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 5+ Garden Warbler, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 5+ Whinchat, 5+ Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 5+ Robin, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Common Rosefinch, 5 Brent Geese, Whimbrel, 2 Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, 5+ Redwing, Fieldfare, 5+ Song Thrush, 2 Chaffinch, Wryneck, Tree Pipit & Yellow-breasted Bunting.

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