Sunday, October 20, 2013

Stewchat meet Sibechat!

A busy weekend, left limited time for birding. Most of my time was spoken for but a few well timed dog walks resulted in a few new patch challenge additions.

Firstly came late yesterday afternoon when a very quiet walk to the pond field was livened up by a gang of mixed thrushes plundering some ornamental rowans and hawthorns. Mainly Blackbirds, but with them were single Song Thrush, Redwing and Ring Ouzel. As usual for this time of year, the Ring Ouzel was  a drab first year bird with no collar but nice silvery wings and that distinctive 'chacking' call. 

This morning started with a nice feel to it, a mild south easterly breeze with some light spots of rain and a leaden sky, that soon became more broken.
Instantly I could see, and hear birds moving over head so I wandered up the road to the Cullernose laybye for a quick count. 

In an hour or so I had - 

Skylark 161
Redwing 7
Song Thrush 1
Siskin 8
Brambling 2
Coal Tit 8 ( two parties of 5 and 3 coasting high up)
Great Tit 1 (even more unusual than the Coal Tits, high flying down the coast)
Swallow 1
Linnet 19
Lapland Bunting 1 with 30 Skylarks.
Meadow Pipit 24
Curlew 11
Golden Plover 17
Reed Bunting 1
Goldfinch 12
Lapwing 92.

An excellent showing. I really enjoy viz migging when stuff is on the move...

At lunch time things really did kick off. Several messages came to me from friends both up and down the coast ( thanks all) asking if I had found a Siberian Stonechat south of Howick Village. There were conflicting messages from the info services, one said south of the village, the others said south of the burn mouth. This is quite a big area, so there was nothing for it than to start at the south end and work back north.

Luckily when  I got to the Howick Burn I could see Alan Hall and the birds finder, David Astins, intently watching the scrub up the bank.
They soon got me lined up and the cracking peachy coloured little Sibechat was down to 20 feet at times. Looking very whinchat like but without the eye make-up, this is my fourth for the county, but first since 2001 when I drew one for the cover of 'Birds in Northumbria'... 

 A St Mary's Island bird...
After giving it a good look on foreign soil, I retreated back to patch and looked back, it could be seen quite easily flycatching and tail flicking up the hill. A nice addition to the list...

This is the Howick one (below) from today, pics kindly supplied by David Astins ( cheers David, a great bird!)



Andrew Mart said...

Hi Stewart
Thanks for the compliment!Good to get a message off a fellow artist. Glad you can see Tunnicliffe influence in my work though I'm trying to develop my own 'look' which probably won't happen. Have you seen James McCallum's work? Ive had a bit of a break from drawing recently but hoping to get back into it again.
Liking your work! All the best. AM

Lou Mary said...

I do like that 'sibechat' and your drawing of one on the book is wonderful!

Stewart said...

Cheers Andrew, yes I've seen James work, its excellent. You chaps keep me inspired !

Lou Mary -
Thank you...