Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Fair Isle - Day 2 in the Puffinn Household

Although we were delayed, we finally made it over to Fair Isle on Monday morning. Myself, Mark Golley, Paul Cook, Dave Foster and Brian Unwin spent two days on mainland Shetland, taking in Western Bonelli's Warbler, Wryneck and numerous Yellow-browed Warblers, before flying over from Tingwall. As the bird observatory was full, we're staying in The Puffinn, a cheap and chearfull self-catering cottage in the south of the island near the lighthouse.
OK, so we've arrived a week later than we had wished, having missed the Brown Flycatcher, Sibe Thrush, P-G Tips and multiple Lanceys that were here last week, but there are a fews birds around to keep us busy, and of course this is Fair Isle, where anything can, and does, happen.
Little Bunting is the rarest bird left around, along with 2 juvenile Peck Sands (above), but there are probably about 10 Yellow-browed Warblers left on the island, as well as Lapland Bunting (above) and lots of common migrants such as Lesser Whitethroat and Whinchat, as shown above.
Anyway, hopefully there will be some easterlies on the cards soon and we can get out and start seeming some good stuff.
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Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Getting soaked in North Norfolk - 7 Sep 08

Well, I have to confess, it was the wrong decision. I'd seen the weather on the BBC website, so opted to go and look for migrants in Burnham Overy Dunes and then seawatching off Cley when the wind whipped up at midday.
So, I headed out to north Norfolk at 6.30am and ended up at a rather wet Burnham Overy Staithe (BOS) at 7.30. I headed out to the dunes, in the rain and wind, but after 5 1/2 hours of searching all I had to show for my efforts were 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, about 15 Wheatear and a good soaking. In fact I saw more skuas than anything else. I had a flock of 6 Bonxies fly south (inland!) on my way out to the dunes and then 4 Arctic Skuas (1 adult pale morph + 3 juvs) fly north-west (from inland) as I returned. The morning was saved somewhat by a lovely migrant Honey Buzzard, which had presumably come in off the sea. It put everything up over the saltmarsh, circled over BOS, and then headed off east. I headed off in the same direction, to Cley for some seawatching, but the weather had cleared up considerably by now, so the Cory's Shearwaters, Sabines Gulls, skuas and all that had made the morning so enjoyable for those bright enough to not be looking for migrants were no more.
Oh well, the autumn is still young....