Saturday, 24 September 2011

24th September

After a brief hiatus, the daily rarities resumed. A brace of new Nearctic waders were the day's highlights - not an entirely unexpected event after recent weather systems across the Atlantic. Firstly, our second Buff-breasted Sandpiper of the year dropped into the current rarity hotspot at Bewan Loch in the morning, spending a while in the company of its compatriot BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT and a Citrine Wagtail before relocating to the west coast of the island. A short time later, a juvenile American Golden Plover - a new species for the rapidly advancing year-list - joined one of the large flocks of its European counterparts near Gretchen Loch.

American Golden Plover

The other Citrine Wagtail was also still present in the southern half of the island, and the other BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT had opted for a change of scenery at Bridesness Point. A new Barred Warbler was ringed at Holland House, where 3 Yellow-browed Warblers all bore rings from earlier in the week. At least 1 Common Rosefinch was seen, and other passerines included the first Chaffinch of the autumn, 3 Robins, 5 Whinchats, 4 Song Thrushes, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 14 Blackcaps, 34 Lapland Buntings and 60 Snow Buntings.

The Curlew Sandpiper and a Grey Plover were still around, and the day's selection of raptors comprised 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlins, 2 Peregrines and a Kestrel.

A Merlin was a surprise highlight of the evening's mist-netting session. Given the numbers of transatlantic vagrants currently appearing on European coasts, it is prudent to check any Merlins for the American subspecies. The bird featured on this blog on the 13th of September showed some interesting features, but appears to be just a dark European Merlin, possibly of the Icelandic form. Today's bird is a straightforward European one, with too many pale tail bars to arouse hopes of a Nearctic vagrant; but it was nice to study it up close all the same.

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