The Portland Naturalist

The Portland Naturalist

Monday, 13 October 2014

Standard Fair - Part 2 (Days 2 + 3)

Our first full day started with the early check of the Heligoland traps.  This only produced two birds, a Song Thrush and a Chaffinch, but luckily, the mist nets back at the obs produced the goods with an adult and a young male Brambling.  
Just after breakfast, I was trying to get some shots of this Twite from the lounge window...

...when I noticed some movement in the bushes behind.  This proved to be a Goldcrest and a Yellow-browed Warbler.  Not the first I've found, but nice all the same.

As I waited outside for the others, first a Peregrine, then a Merlin circled about overhead. 

On our way south to the crofting area of the island, a couple of flocks of Whooper Swan flew over, and two Redpoll confused us as usual, but were probably 'Northwestern' Mealy Redpoll.

We made another attempt at seeing the Bluethroat, which this time showed immediately, although briefly.  It took a lot more waiting for it to show properly.  The wait was punctuated by a marauding Yellow-browed Warbler, which almost landed on my nearby tripod!  So strange seeing one out in the open, perching on wires and posts. 

These are the derelict buildings and small patches of Nettles of Pund, the home of the Bluethroat (and later Little Bunting).  As you can see, the weather was being kind (at the moment!).

On the way back to base for lunch, we flushed a Jack Snipe, and watched a juvenile Hen Harrier hunting. 

Our afternoon ramble took in the north of the island.  Some of the scenery was pretty dramatic.

The reason for going as far as the North Light, was to look for Snow Bunting.  It took no time at all to find a flock of 7, plus this loner.

Having Snow Bunting and Wheatear in the same scope view was quite surreal.

As was having to be blasé about Great Skua flying over.  ''What's this! Oh, it's only a Bonxie''.

One of the only Linnet of the week flew past.  Yep, we were actually searching Twite flocks for Linnet!

Back at the obs, I took the short walk down to the Havens below.  This area was continually swarming with Grey Seal.  A female...

...and a male.

The third day dawned to a decent start, but it was pretty windy out there!

From the Obs, we were able to see a male Scaup down in the Havens.  Once out, we headed down there for a better view.  There was no sign, but there was a cracking summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver instead.

On our walk back down south, we flushed a Jack Snipe from the roadside.  The bird had clearly been busy!

As we relaxed at the only shop on the island, we suddenly got the sight of a bird literally falling from the sky to our feet.

It was a Whinchat, and it was clearly exhausted.

I attempted to feed it with some woodlice and slugs that I found nearby, but it just wasn't interested.

  (c) Nicole Burgum

Unsurprisingly, the bird was later found dead.  The perils of migration are plain to see at this place.

The only other notable sighting from the day was a pair of Pochard flying over, a Fair Isle rarity.

A late round of the traps produced a few birds including a Twite and this Goldcrest.

The forecast for tomorrow is terrible!

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