Wednesday, 8 October 2014
With the easterly winds of the previous two days subsiding overnight to leave dry, cloudy conditions at dawn we certainly had high expectations of a few things crawling out of the woodwork today. And it didn't disappoint with plenty of variety and included c120 birds trapped and ringed but once again we only managed to cover about a third of the island with ringing commitments and rarity chasing causing distractions. It began with the confirmation that the 3 Olive-backed Pipits from the 6th were all still present and correct, with the Observatory bird lingering all day after a brief jaunt northwards early on and 2 birds still at Nether Linnay, where a Corncrake was also flushed early doors. A fourth Olive-backed Pipit was then seen at Westness (with the nearby Nether Linnay birds both checked for and both still present shortly after) and quite where the individual trapped and ringed at Holland Gardens at dusk fits into things we'll have to wait till tomorrow to find out-could there be 5!!! After last week's magical half hour it happened again early afternoon when the autumn's second Pechora Pipit was discovered at Sandar (a nice 50th birthday present for the finder) just after a Blue Tit had been located on the coast near the airfield. The former was generally elusive but showed well in flight many times and occasionally 'running' through the grass and becomes the 5th island record whereas the Tit showed brilliantly, was even heard singing and is only the 6th island record and the first since the previous 5-all in 1988!! It seemed odd to leave a national rarity to go and twitch a common garden bird but that's the northern isles for you. So here's the tally for another hectic day...Non-passerines included the Brent Goose still, 62 Barnacle Geese, 129 Pink-footed Geese, the autumn's first Long-tailed Duck, 12 Grey Herons, 2 Kestrels and a Short-eared Owl, 5 Jack Snipe, a Woodcock and 12 Woodpigeons. There were 2 Tree Pipits, a 'flava' Wagtail, 24 Robins, Black Redstart, 4 Ring Ouzels, 136 Song Thrushes, 57 Redwings, 20 Blackbirds, a Grasshopper Warbler (caught and ringed at the obs), 23 Blackcaps, Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 12 Goldcrests, Pied Flycatcher, 97 Bramblings, 26 Chaffinch, 11 Siskins, 18 Snow and 2 Lapland Buntings. Not a bad day, so a few hours sleep and we'll do it all again tomorrow..