Busy, busy, busy now that Autumn is in full swing and the wind has been from the eastern half over the past week. There is never enough time to do everything.
On 31st August I managed a couple of short seawatches at The Bathing House. An hour in the morning resulted in some decent birds with 1 ad Pomarine Skua, 1 close in juv Long tailed Skua, that bonked one of 25 Arctic Skuas on the head forcing it to land before moving away north. A great comparison of size and structure could be had during the interaction. 1 drake Velvet Scoter was a surprise along with small numbers of Common Scoter, Wigeon and Teal. It really is that time of year. 80 Manx Shearwaters completed the show.
It felt good so after work I popped down to Cullernose, but an hour and a half showed that most passage was now over. Still, 2 Long tailed Skuas, 14 Arctic Skua, 1 poss Pom but too distant and 30 Manx made it still worth while.
On Saturday 3rd September rain and easterlies looked good for an arrival of migrants to off we went to check the coast path area. Up at Holy Island and the Isle of May birds were falling in with plenty of scarcities too, but a random bit of mainland isnt really like that. We just hope for scraps really...in this case, I didnt even get those. No migrants at all, not so much as a Chiffchaff. Some compensation was had on the way back when I flushed a lovely Convolvulous Hawk-moth from the verge. It was soon pocketed and taken home for photos then released after dark.
|Convolvulous Hawk-moth, one of our largest moths.|
Sunday 4th dawned foggy and mild with a light south easterly breeze. I met John at Boulmer where we were filled with hope of what the morning might uncover, after all this is a big headland into the North Sea.
The final tally is less than inspiring so here are the highlights - Curlew Sandpiper 1 juv on the beach with Dunlin, 3 Black and 1 Bar tailed Godwit flew S, 9 Brent Geese N at sea. The only passerine that got us going was an 'educational unstreaked acro' in a ditch near the car park. Doesnt that phrase make your heart sink? All I wanted was a Wryneck, not of this educational nonsense ( a phrase used to try and get some meagre enjoyment from stringing a common species). The acro turned out to be Reed Warbler no matter how hard we tried. It is still a decent bird on this patch really, Ive only ever seen maybe 4 or 5 in the area.
|Above - Reed Warbler, top 2 mine, bottom one is by JWR a much nicer shot than my efforts.|
As the wind was set firmly from the east,a couple of days annual leave were booked for Monday and Tuesday.
On Monday a half hour sea scan had 8 Red throated Divers and 3 Arctic Skuas S with 1 Arctic N, but the glare from the sea was appalling so I gave up and went along to check Craster. On route back, a juv Peregrine went over N and a Whimbrel S .This is the north end of my patch and its not been visited much this year.
A good yomp around Craster Village fuelled with numerous juicy Brambles at last had a few birds.
Pied Flycatcher 2, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Blackcap 2, Calling phylloscs 12, non seen but 1 Willow Tit showed well. More insect migrants included 6 Red Admirals and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth.
The moth trap has produced some good stuff this week too but thats for another post...