Friday, 23 November 2018

Wonderful Warblers (few and far between)

A further result of the poor weather and wrong wind direction this autumn warblers were in thin supply. Normally Yellow-browed Warbler is amongst the commonest species encountered but this autumn we could only muster four birds. Other warblers were also thin on the ground but did include a very showy Willow Warbler at Quoy. 

The first was a mobile individual at Field that was shameless twitched, sort of, from further south on the island. Given the weather conditions I was perhaps looking a blank year so I had to make sure I got this bird. The weather at the time was deteriorating into another wet one so I couldnt spend much time with it as it moved around fencelines. 

Next was another mobile bird in the garden at Burkle.

Never pass up the opportunity to see a Yellow-browed Warbler.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Booted Warbler around your Boots

Following the quiet autumn on Fair Isle I was keen to see something decent when I came off the island and my primary targets were to be the River Warbler at Wester Quarff, the Palla's Warbler at Grutness, the White-rumped Sandpiper at Pool of Virkie and the Booted Warbler at Sumburgh.

Well typically it appears that there had been a clear out over night as there was no sign of the River Warbler, though I did find a Common Rosefinch, there was no sign of the Palla's Warbler, the one I wasnted to see the most, and the White-rumped Sand seemed to missing also, probably due to each of the beaches having dog walkers on them.

So this left me with the Booted Warbler and this one was at least still present. An not only was it still present it showed the best I have ever sene a Booted Warbler previously. At one point I was the only birder present with the bird nearly at my feet and to close to focus the camera on. 

Paradoxically being so close meant that many of the photos were not as good as they could have been, a lot of the bird would be out of focus due to the lack of depth of field. 

Still those here, taken in both out in the sun open and in the shade and show how it could turn from a tea coloured to frosty appearance.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

White-billed Diver at a seaside resort

Yesterday a White-billed Diver was found of North Kent at Margate and I paid little attention to the news, that is until I learnt it was a summer plumaged adult and by which time it was a little to late to go down and see it. 

If there bird was there today I would go and see it. 

It was indeed there and I set off with Sheryl to hopefully see my first Banana Billed Diver in 11 years. 

Traffic was reasonable on the way down and the bird was eventually seen off of the esplanade at Margate. 

For the most part it was way to far off for the camera as the tide was out but the views through the scope were excellent. We spent at least an hour and half watching the bird but once it started to drift out away from the shore we went off to look for the nearby Pallid Swift, which we did not see. 

The images here of the diver are about as good as I could get and are very heavy crops, thus the poorer end result than I would like, and I suspect the very good photos taken yesterday here by others was when the tide was more favourable and the bird was closer in to the beach. 

Still its a White-Billed, or Yellow-billed, depending on your preferences, Diver and it was a stunner.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Of Buntings and Finches

Numbers of Snow and Lapland Buntings were relatively low this year with only a scattering of Laplands and smaller flocks of Snow's. Of the Lapland Buntings only the bird at the Setter muck heap put on any sort of prolonged show whilst of the Snow Buntings seen the small flock at North Light and the individual on the cliffs at Furse were the only non flyby's.

Finches were represented in the main by Brambling, especially as we progressed into October and singles became cliff favouring flocks. The West Cliffs during the howling easterlies mid month were favoured and often flocks of 30-40 could be found in some of the sheltered Geo's. 

At the end of September the isle hosted at lest three lingering Common Rosefinch's and whilst I saw at least one of these birds at several different island crofts it was extremely flighty and never lingered to long where people were present. I managed only a couple of quickly took shots when it landed on the fence at Quoy before it again flew off south.

Twite numbers seemed lower than usual this year, presumably again the winds in wrong direction playing their part, though several 20+ flocks were noted in favoured areas with this bird being at the Bulls Park crop strip.

Siskins and Redpolls also put in appearances but in low numbers and rarely lingered long but those that did and were photographed will feature in a latter post.