Monday 25 October 2010

9 to 5

No updates can only mean 1 thing? I'm working. I've still got another 10 days or so before I return north but I have managed to get out locally at least. Last weekend was a trip over to Martin Mere, thousands of pinkfeet are always good to see but not a great deal else. Weekend just gone was spent on Anglesey in the company of Dr & Mrs Marshall, a good days birding yesterday with obvious highlights being Glossy Ibis, Chough, Peregrine, Spotted Redshank and a Barn Owl on the way back last night. Bugger all photos taken so hopefully that's something I can rectify this weekend.

Sunday 10 October 2010


Finally got my copy of British Birds, the Rare birds in Great Britain 2009 edition. Front cover, the Brown Shrike in Surrey i took last year. How pleased am i, need a chufty badge now.

Saturday 9 October 2010

Little By Little

Cracked under the pressure and headed off to Out Skerries very early this morning for yesterdays PG Tips. No sign, but that didn't come as a great surprise as last night was a 'count the stars' exercise. Also no sign of the Black-headed Bunting but the Citrine Wagtail was still in residence showing well briefly on the pool.

Managed  to cadge a lift from Vidlin to Laxo off some visiting birders (cheers guys) and waiting for us was a cracking 1w Little Gull. That showed well, obviously.

Back home and quick whiz round Brough. The Rosefinch was still in-situ and an obvious increase in Goldcrest with 15+ seen. The rest was made up of 2 Dunnock, 2 Robin, Whinchat, 3 Blackcap and 4 Chiffchaff.

Friday 8 October 2010

Peep Show

Another day of sunshine, summers come late. Went out with much optimism this morning around patch especially as i had 2 Blackcap in the first garden, which rarely has anything. My optimism was short lived! It was fairly obvious not much if anything was new in. A Common Rosefinch was in with the finch flock, quite possibly the bird from weekend and that was pretty much it. Totals for Brough were 3 Blackcap, Redstart, 4 Goldcrest, Siskin, 3 Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Reed Bunting, Dunnock and a Robin.

Once patch was done i headed home to do some dreaded paperwork. Fortunately a call from Dr Marshall dragged me away, he had found a Radde's Warbler up at Skaw. Upon arrival it had typically gone missing but it wasn't long before we relocated it and were treated to incredible views, at times a matter of inches away. It was totally at ease with our following it around taking photos and generally admiring it. Cracking bird. 

Another quick check of patch drew a blank so i decided to pay Sandwick a visit. First port of call the rig and the ditch, upon arriving at the ditch and willows i muttered that it would be nice if there was a RF Bluetail. Not quite that standard but i did manage to flush a Corncrake that scurried its way down the ditch probably never to be seen again. That rounded off what turned out to be a rather good day i'd say.

Thursday 7 October 2010


A beautiful autumn day with wall to wall sunshine and light southerly winds, far to nice for birding! An early check of patch was rewarded with a patch lifer? A Jack Snipe, a bird i have kicked up from various sites on isle just never on patch. The Red-breasted Flycatcher was still showing fantastically well on its favoured wall, but apart from that it was pretty much the same. A Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, 3 Goldcrest, 3 Siskin, 4 Whinchat, Dunnock and a Reed Bunting.

Drove over to Marrister to look for a Hawfinch which Dr Marshall had in his garden briefly, no sign but a Whinchat and a Reed Warbler made up for it. With not a great deal happening i plucked up the courage to go and do Isbister. A Common Rosefinch was found whilst looking for a Reed Bunting and a Carrion Crow was unexpected. A search of some crops had me kicking up yet another locustella. I got a uniform coloured bird in flight and it wasn't particularly small, so maybe just another gropper? With Dr Marshall off isle i had to leave it until he got home, fortunately it was only around an hour or so. We arrived and almost immediately flushed the bird from where i had left it, we got a couple more flight views and it was decided to erect the mist net. Twice we had the bird in the net and twice it wriggled free and on one occasion it ran under the bloody net. Dr Marshall managed a view of it scrabbling around on a rock and commented it appeared to have an unstreaked undertail, crap! Oh well, will be back for another look tomorrow and with any luck it will still be present, fingers crossed.

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Looking East

Its all gone quiet on patch with just a few migrants hanging on. The Red-breasted Flycatcher was performing well this afternoon and proved to be the bird of the day.Other birds around Brough consisted of Redstart, 3 Blackcap, 2 Robin, 6 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 6 Siskin, 20+ Brambling and 20+ Chaffinch. The Buff-breasted Sandpiper was still associating with a few Golden Plover on the golf course up at Skaw even though i  have yet to see the bird! On a positive note, the forecast for the weekend and beyond looks very interesting with due easterly winds forecast. Days with no lunch break i think, i hope.

Monday 4 October 2010

Greased Lightning

Decided to have a day off isle and was joined by Dougie for a bit of a tour. First up was Levenwick for the (organised!) search of the now re-identified Grasshopper Warbler. Lots of people went away more than happy i think with what they saw, which was a dark tailed, pale rumped locustella spanging from one bit of cover to the next. I think there is a danger of seeing what you want to see and being sucked in by other peoples opinions and comments. Lesson learned. Next up was Sumburgh farm for the very showy Radde's Warbler, if only all birds were this easy!

Passed by Virkie on the way back north and had the Great Grey Shrike fly over heading towards Toab. The plan from there was i was going back down to the locustella and Dougie was to look for the Swainson's Thrush, that was until a text came through informing us a Booted Warbler at Channerwick had been re-identified as a Syke's Warbler, so we headed there. Just as we had encountered earlier the Syke's was bombing from one bit of dense cover to the next. I did manage a brief view sat on a fence, so better than the gropper at least. Photos here. As happy as you can be i suppose we headed north to Eshaness. Thats where we went from the sublime to the ridiculous? First the very showy Buff-bellied Pipit at Tangwick.

Then the almost tame Buff-breasted Sandpipers out at the lighthouse. Also around the lighthouse were 130+ Snow Bunting passing through.

Sunday 3 October 2010


A heavy night entertaining had me worse for wear this morning. Dougie and his better half were also over and he managed to drag me round patch with the hope we may relocate the Red-throated Pipit. No joy, but 4 Pinkfeet were the first of the autumn and Dr Marshall managed to find a Red-breasted Flycatcher in the infamous Bonelli's garden, must have been hung over as i only checked it an hour earlier. Also around Brough were Redstart, 5 Reed Bunting, Dunnock, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Whinchat, 4 Blackcap, 11 Goldcrest, 20+ Brambling, 20+ Chaffinch and even more Song Thrushes.

Elsewhere on the isle, a Grasshopper Warbler at Skaw gave good views then did the decent thing and flew into the Heligoland trap and 6 Lapland Bunting were around the airstrip. Visiting birders had a Pectoral Sandpiper was with a roaming Golden Plover flock around Challister though we couldnt relocate it, maybe tomorrow.

Saturday 2 October 2010

Red Letter Day

Thankfully the wild winds of yesterday were gone, to be replaced with warm autumn sunshine. A cracking day on patch with some quality thrown in for good measure. A phone call mid afternoon of a Crake/Rail sp seen in a neighbours garden had the team assembled for a look, unfortunately there was no sign. With that i decided i would check the tattie rig and was joined by Dr Marshall, no sooner had we started a large pipit sp flew over calling. Fortunately it didn't keep going and landed in view though to far for definitive views with bins. We were joined by John Laurie and made a search of the fields. We managed to relocate it but still distant views but managed to rattle off some flight shots, it looks like Richard's and the call fitted but if anybody has any opinions, feel free.

We informed visiting birders on the isle of the Pipit and were soon joined by them, again trying to relocate it. There was no joy in that, though we inadvertently found a stunning Adult Red-throated Pipit which more than made up for it. My 3rd patch lifer in 3 years, views were fairly distant as we watched feeding through the long grass. It was around for no more than 40 minutes then it flew off with 2 Meadow Pipits for company.

Also on patch though slightly overshadowed were the Common Rosefinch loitering with the finch/sparrow flock, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, Spotted flycatcher, 2 Swallow, 4 Robin, 10 Goldcrest, 5 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 30+ Brambling, 20+ Chaffinch and too many Song Thrushes to count. All bodes well for tomorrow.

Friday 1 October 2010

Wind Beneath My Wings

Quite a fitting post title i think. It is seriously wild up here at the moment, so birding was quite a challenge. Winds this evening are touching 70mph and it sounds like the roof is going to come off! As for the poor birds when they have been visible they have been buffeted around like bits of paper. But they forecast a much calmer day tomorrow, thank god. Patch was fairly productive without being too spectacular. A female Sparrowhawk was a patch year tick, a Yellow-browed Warbler was new as was a Wood Pigeon, a Sedge Warbler was in the iris beds in front of the house along with 1 of 2 Whinchat. Finch's ruled the numbers with 30+ Brambling, 10+ Chaffinch and 3 Siskin. The rest was made up of 5+ Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, Dunnock and 2 Redwing. Most surprising sight was 2 Red Admirals around patch. A couple of Fieldlfare were the first of the autumn on isle other than that is was as you were.