Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Vegetable Pechora
Another day of strong NW winds and intermittent heavy showers. The recent quiet spell was broken mid morning by news of a Pechora Pipit at Kenaby crop and a frantic run for the red flagged car. Although very elusive and flighty it did eventually show well enough for all to see and enjoy! A great find Chas & Steve! I spent much of the afternoon in the south of the Island searching for rares & the Pechora. I found a Common Rosefinch (images below - different one to yesterday which is now sporting a ring) & Garden Warbler in Kenaby crop mid afternoon & had a Merlin & several small flocks of Barnacle Geese. The Richards Pipit frequently put in an appearance throughout the afternoon in various locations and is very mobile. Other highlights today included a Pied Fly which was trapped and ringed, as well as a Blackbird and a few Chiffs and Willows.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

A Rosy Day . . .
A much better day today as the wind had dropped & sunshine prevailed. It was really enjoyable to be out & there were clearly more birds in which gave everyone a much needed boost. I spent the morning on the south-west side. A Slavonian Grebe was in Hesti Geo (pictured below). After clambering up Malcolm's Head I photographed Fulmars in flight & had a few Chaffinch & 10 Snow Buntings followed by a Common Rosefinch (pictured below) Blackcap & Chiffchaff at Quoy. Phil caught a NW type Redpoll in Burkle garden in the afternoon & I birded the East cliffs which produced little, a Merlin, 20+ Snow Bunting & several Linnet being the highlights along with many Golden Plover & Pink Feet/Greylag flocks. Phil & Simon trapped & ringed another Lapland Bunting (pictured below) at the Chalet late afternoon & a Pintail was noted with Wigeon on Da Water. Yesterday's birding highlight was the first Redwings of the Autumn. Lachlan returned to School in Lerwick & we were joined by our friend Martin Culshaw who had successfully twitched the Taiga Flycatcher & Sandhill Crane as well before arriving on the afternoon plane for his Fair Isle week. Needless to say our alcohol consumption has just increased tenfold! - lets just hope the birds do the same! ;-)

Saturday, 26 September 2009

A Westerly Weekend

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Return to Fair Isle
Arrived on Fair Isle yesterday morning through howling Westerlies, which seem to dominate the weather forecast predictions for the next ten days! Before Fair Isle, we had a days birding on mainland Shetland, with Pied Fly, Redstart, 3 Common Crossbills & Barred Warbler at Vidlin followed by delicious soup and bagels at the Peerie Cafe in Lerwick. Later we enjoyed a meal out at the Sumburgh Hotel with Helen who we stayed with in Toab. We were pleasantly surprised to get onto Fair Isle at all yesterday given the foul & worsening conditions but we were soon catching up with friends, drinking tea & pondering on the weather & what delights we might not be seeing this autumn visit. In between afternoon showers we caught & ringed a lone Dunlin on the scrape with Alan Bull & Peter Stronach & later at night the boys 'dazzled' waders including Curlew, Ringed Plover & 2 more Dunlin. Today, the westerly winds had died down in the morning but the conditions worsened again throughout the afternoon. The few birds noted this morning included up to 6 Lapland Buntings, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Whinchat, Richard's Pipit, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whooper Swan, 5 Linnet. I photographed Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Lapland Bunting & Chiffchaff.
Great to be back here!!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Bat in the moth trap . . .
An incredible surprise awaited us in the moth trap in our Woodbridge garden this morning, a Brown Long-eared Bat was found hiding under one of the egg boxes! It seemed very alert & tried on several occasions to bite Phil's fingers but without success as Phil soon got a good grip on him, gently holding the skin at the back of the bat's neck. This stunning (if that's the right word . .) little mammal flew around the kitchen for a minute of two before heading out into the daylight & making for a dark roof space in one of the neighbour's houses. I had seen a bat sp flying about the garden catching moths a night or two ago, so I imagine this was possibly the same bat who must have made an error of judgement.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

'Tuf' Love . . .
News of a 'Tufted Puffin' in Kent this morning was bitter sweet for the birding community as a whole but euphoria no doubt for the lucky 7. Feelings swayed from total excitement and desperation to see such a dream seabird, to total disappointment as the realization that the bird had gone and was unlikely to be found again (today anyway . .). What a bird ! I decided to console myself with some afternoon birding at Bawdsey - East Lane. The winds were strong, coming right in off the churning sea. I spent a few lame minutes striving to find my own Tufted Puffin, well a Sab's Gull or Leach's Petrel or something . . . but soon gave up after the first few Black-headed Gulls shot by.
A walk along the sheltered lane opposite the first pool saw a smart and very vocal Pied Flycatcher & a good number of Migrant Hawkers hunting in the sheltered sunny rides. The sea wall produced 1 Black Redstart & 3 very approachable young Swallows who sat up on fencing near the car park.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

A number of my images appeared in today's Telegraph Magazine (pg 64-71). The images, of various birds and landscapes from Fair Isle were to accompany an article by Tim Dee called Rites of Passage. Every Autumn millions of birds, some only a few weeks out of the egg, travel impossible distances to their wintering grounds. One of their favoured stopping-off points is Fair Isle, where Tim Dee, too, was irresistibly drawn. Photographs by Rebecca Nason. This article has been extracted from a new book entitled 'The Running Sky: A Birdwatching Life' by Tim Dee. (This book is available from Telegraph Books for £14.99 plus £1.25 p&p 0844-871 1515). . . .
August Moths Revisited
Just downloading a few moth images from the garden August moth sessions - here are some of my favourites. The best & possibly the rarest micro moth was this beautifully patterned Ethmia bipunctella, a Red Data Book Species restricted to coastal shingle habitats in the south-eastern counties. The Bullrush Wainscot was a 'large' & impressive Wainscot. We have had 2 tiny migrant 'Rush Veneers' and a good few Small Dusty Waves. The Striped Hawkmoth was taken a Portland Bird Observatory (they have since had Silver-striped & Convolvulus Hawkmoth). The Star-wort was another striking moth, similar to a 'Shark' moth in shape & found locally in the south-east of England on coastal saltmarsh habitats.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Evening on the Coast
Following a good few days at the computer sorting images I was relieved to get out to the coast this evening for a walk around East Lane at Bawdsey. Although the winds were fresh, I really enjoyed being there as the sun began to set & an autumnal gold filtered over the adjacent fields & pools. There were numerous Migrant Hawkers sat up in vegetation getting the last of the days warmth & a few waders on the pools, including Dunlin & Common Sandpiper. Swallows, Sand Martins & House Martins fed over the pools and drifted through in small numbers. A walk along a lane near the pools saw many tame Rats(!) as well as my first 'Pied flycatcher' of the Autumn . . .