Friday, 23 October 2015

A Week Away Works Wonders

Blimey, it's a been a while since I posted something on here.
That doesn't mean that I haven't been out birding, more a case of that I've struggled to find motivation to write anything about in what has been a very unusual autumn period.
Common migrants have been hard to find (nice clear September nights for clearing out with no off-passage stuff to speak of) and ongoing mild conditions means relatively few weather-induced arrivals from the north.

The influx of yellow-browed warblers had me hopeful but as yet not a single one has materialised on the patch. That said, I've been working away fair bit and also just spent a week on the Scillies so there may have been dozens of the wee sprites at Aldcliffe, but with practically no birders checking the area they could easily have gone unnoticed. It's a philosophical (phylloscophical?) conundrum: a yellow-browed warbler calls in the sycamore but there's no one there to hear it, does it still make a sound?   

Phone'scope pic of Hudsonian whimbrel
Anyhoo, I saw loads of yellow-browed warblers on the Scillies  along with an embarrassing glut of firecrests - always great to see. The Hudsonian whimbrel on Tresco gave me a British tick, as did the St Mary's Blyth's pipit and my third, if well overdue, 'first' was the dazzling (if a little tick infested) olive-backed pipit on St Martins.

'Fawn Yawn' at Land's End

Kev Kelly and I also found the islands' only Pallas's warbler of the season while on Tresco and we finished the week off with a look at a ridiculously approachable juvenile rose-coloured starling at Land's End. The pic of the starling here was taken with my phone. No 'scope, no trickery, just my phone.

Closer to home, here are a few of the highlights from the past few weeks around Aldcliffe...

Oct 4th: a few blackcap around plus 2 'new-in' tree sparrows

Colour-ringed grey wagtail
Oct 5th: common whitethroat, 5 chiffchaff (all but one silent), loads of goldcrests and a very showy party of 6 redpoll.
Colour-ringed grey wagtail at Stodday ETW (ringed at Middleton 27/9/15).

Sept 27th: few chiffchaffs found in the company of the local tit flocks. Small numbers of meadow pipit & swallow overhead.
A drake scaup on the Lune.

Sept 18th: 1 blackcap and common whitethroat this morning. A few swallows mainly in small numbers though one tight flock of 22, plus 4 meadow pipit and 6 alba wagtail over. Chaffinch, greenfinch and reed bunting numbers creeping up a touch. A couple of willow warbler and 5 chiffchaff.
A ringed adult Med gull at Gull Bank
Gadwall up to 6 at Freeman's Pools, plus 2 tufted duck, 6 wigeon, a green sandpiper and the usual little grebes, etc.


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