Tuesday, 25 October 2016

23rd-24th October

It's been a very good couple of days on here, we've had a couple of big rares, and quite a few scarcities as well!
The Whooper Swan is still hanging aroung as are the now 8 Tundra Bean Geese, on has since succumbed to what we assume is a bird of prey of kind, however the number went to 9 on the 24th when another single bird was spotted at Kirbest. Six Pink-footed Geese were also present on the 24th, other interesting wildfowl consisted of 3 Goldeneye, 11 Long-tailed Ducks, 2 Pintail and a surprise drake Green-winged Teal on Gretchen on the 23rd.
The Fulmars have started to return and the highest total so far was posted on the 24th with 216 birds being counted in coastal areas. Also on the coast 13 Red-throated Diver and 5 Great-Northern Divers were counted on the 23rd.
Single Woodcock were present on both days, as was the long staying Hoopoe on the 23rd the bird was at Howar and finally the bird was trapped in Holland on the 24th.
A bit of surprise was a yet to be identified Phyllosc at Kirbest, the bird was initially identified by all watchers as a Radde's Warbler, the bird showed all features in the field that pointed to it's identification, however, on review of photographs there has been dispute into identity of the bird, our feeling is to go with the in-field views of the bird, as we all know what effects photo artifact can have on birds in unfavourable light, for this reason we'll keep all photo's under wraps and allow the governing bodies to decide the birds fate.
Other passerine numbers were a single Dunnock, 40 Robin, 19 Blackcap, 17 Chiffchaff, 9 Goldcrest, 8 Chaffinch, 4 Brambling, 1 Greenfinch, 2 Yellowhammer, 1 Snow Bunting and a very late Reed Warbler on the 24th.
Onto another surprise, one that none of us were expecting, I'll move into first person so I can tell the story! After watching the Phyllosc at Kirbest and returning to the obs I was in (of all places) the toilet, I could see what appeared to be a Harrier out the window, on first glance I though it was a male Hen Harrier, knowing that Alistair had wanted to see one, I alerted him to the bird and we went out and looked at what I thought was going to be a Hen Harrier......how wrong I was!!
I lifted my bins and almost dropped them in amazment, it was a Northern Harrier, I picked up the camera and fired off some photos. It was clear to see in the pictures it was a Male Northern Harrier, showing its dark hood, black tipped seconaries and the flecking on the flanks. The assumption is it's last years bird returning.
A very confiding Yellow Wagtail was seen around Brides on the 24th and the day wasn't done with that, it was Kirbest again that provided the bird, a Spotted Crake was flushed before dissappearing back into the iris bed.
Both Long-eared and Short-eared Owls have been present on the 23rd and 24th respectivly, the Long-eared is the first this autumn.
Yellow Wagtail - George Gay

Long-eared Owl - Larissa Simulik

Northern Harrier - George Gay

Northern Harrier - George Gay

Reed Warbler - George Gay


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