Tuesday 25 August 2015

Its started

Autumn migration is always an exciting time, with more birds arriving in the easterly winds. With news of a possible Booted Warbler down at Sumburgh, we headed south in the hope that it may linger.

                                                                                               Willow warblers

A quick look in the garden revealed a Willow Warbler not a brightly coloured as the Noss bird. It was difficult picking up birds with the dense foliage but a smaller, very active bird appeared next to the WW, but flew off towards the hotel and couldn't be relocated. Young Pied Wagtails chased each other along the southern wall and then a couple of nicely coloured Wheatear popped into view.

Walking along the path to the farm more Wheatear flew up in front of me, along with another Willow warbler and wren. At the farm, birds quickly revealed themselves with Pied Flycatcher, Icterine warbler, Redstart and a further couple of Willow Warbler very active. The Booted Warbler finally made a brief appearance in the bush between the kept and unkept gardens A Swallow came over low and up at the cattle pens two Whinchat showed well.

Flocks of Starling started coming over, then a few Redshank and Rock Dove no doubt scared by the passing Merlin that was chasing a small bird.

Looking over the beach at Grutness a small party of waders could be seen scurrying along the tide line. These included - Dunlin(2) Turnstone(2) Sanderling (15) Oystercatcher (1) Ringed Plover(8) Redshank (2) and a flock of Knot (32) flew south

At the Grutness garden three willow warbler came into view catching insects, then a large brown warbler flew up out of a small bush and up and over the wall ? Another female Pied flycatcher moved along the more mature shrubs but stayed in the shade.

Down at the jetty three Shag stood with wings outstretched drying off after a recent fishing trips. A flock of 38 Kittiwake came over and in the distance around 50 Gannets could be seen diving in for fish.

This week Pallid Harrier (Spiggie) Sabine gull (Sumburgh) Black Tern & Wood Sandpiper (Hillwell), Lesser Grey Shrike (Lunna) Arctic warbler (Walls) along with Barred and Icterine Warbler and a few Red Backed Shrike became the more exotic visitors to the south mainland

Weather wise its been excellent over the weekend apart from being windy, but at least these easterly winds bring in the migrants

Friday 21 August 2015

Good old Paddy

Finally managed to get over to Noss last Sunday in glorious sunshine. Nobody followed us across Bressay so i was picked up by Chris in the inflatable and transported over the sound of Noss into his `Kingdom'

At that time a trickle of migrants had started to appear but my main target was the long stay Paddyfield warbler which had now been present for 26 days in the small garden at the back of the wardens house.

I say garden but most gardeners would have been quickly into the plot to start pulling out all the weeds.

Chris quickly introduced me to Paddy- the warbler, which quickly flew up into view  after some `pishing' - as birders do. 

It briefly landed on the wall before heading down into the undergrowth, its normal habitat.

Its always difficult to photograph a moving bird amongst vegetation as the autofocus tends to lock onto a plant rather than the bird.

It did however pose about halfway up a stem so managed a few shots. The bird maintained its usual circuit but then disappeared for 1/2 hour.

I relocated the bird in a new spot over in a nettle patch behind the house, a spot that Chris hadn't see the bird in.

After leaving the nettle patch it flew close to the wall before finally going back into the garden. Disappearing occasionally into the nettle patch, perhaps a sign that it was intending to leave the island.

I continued to photograph it for 2.5 hours in total, most of this time the bird was low down. Each time it flew it would land and go deep down.

The Paddyfield warbler moved on the next day after 26 consecutive days the third longest stayer, the longest being 45 days. This was also unusual as there are very few records of July birds.

Paddyfield warblers are a cross between a Reed/ marsh and Sedge Warbler, short-bodied with short wings and a long tail. Warm brown above and very pale underparts. the rusty tone on the rump was very evident when flying. These birds are normally found in Russia, NE China, Asia- Mongolia

While photographing the Paddyfield Warbler you could help but notice a very brightly coloured Willow Warbler

Young birds showed a large amount of yellow underparts and it looked very exotic in the sun

A Garden Warbler put  in the odd appearance but usually in the distance.

A pair of Twite dropped in

It must have been a warm day to see people in the sea.

Time to head back to the mainland, a well spent 2.5 hours even if i didn't get anywhere but the garden. The Paddyfield warbler may have disappeared the day after my visit but Icterine Warbler, Wryneck, Pied Fly and even a few Puffins could be seen, unfortunately with South Easterly winds its not possible to get over to the island and with the whole reserve closing on the 30 August i may have been one of the last to visit for this year.