Thursday, 22 September 2011

22nd September

There was no sign of the Lesser Kestrel, but our little purple patch of good birds continued to provide its daily dose of excitement. The birding tour group staying at the observatory, having already enjoyed an amazing run of rarities, managed to go one better than their Short-toed Lark when they found a superb BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT in exactly the same place. Incredibly, while we were watching the pipit, a second bird walked into view alongside the original one!

The 2 Buff-bellied Pipits were quite different in appearance, the original bird (lower picture) having distinctly warmer plumage tones. The only previous record of this American vagrant on North Ronaldsay was in October 2008.

Both Citrine Wagtails, though overshadowed by mega rarities for the last few days, were still present and continuing to show well at times. A Barred Warbler, 3 Yellow-browed Warblers and a Common Rosefinch provided the supporting cast of scarce passerines, while common migrants included a Common Redstart, 5 Whinchats, 3 Song Thrushes, a Reed Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 9 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest and 17 Lapland Buntings. A movement of Pink-footed Geese included overhead flocks of 74 and 8 birds and at least 3 Grey Plovers, 3 (Common!) Kestrels and 3 Merlins were on the island.

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