What an autumn it has been on Holy Island, at this rate it will be rivalling Fair Isle, so with this in mind and determined that I would not miss out on the action after Keith got the Accentor yesterday whilst I had to work, we headed off to Holy Island and crossed as soon as was safe. On parking we headed straight for the area of beach where the Accentor was watched yesterday, several others were already there but no sign of the fabled sibe. This wasn't a problem as 100 yards along the beach the assembled crowd watched a very approachable Isabelline Wheatear, only the second for the county, it showed really well down to a few metres as it searched the tideline for scraps. We then spent some time searching the dunes for the Accentor with no success, at which point we headed to the Half Moon slack and were soon scoping a very pale Isabelline Shrike which had been found the previous evening, it was mobile but by keeping back and keeping still views were possible. What a two weeks it has been with 3 new birds for the Island's list and lots of happy birders who will always remember this Autumn.
Tuesday, 18 October 2016
Yet another busy day turned upside down by news of a Siberian Mega.As anticipated from recent news a Siberian Accentor was found on Holy Island, a county first! I made my way to the island via delays by slow traffic, roadworks & closed railway crossings. On arriving at the North shore, just west of Snipe point I found about 30 fellow birders waiting for views. A few brief fluttering glimpses of a bird dropping into the dunes wetted the appetite and we were not disappointed since the bird eventually hopped out into the open and gave brilliant views down to about 10 feet! Amazing! When the bird flew back into the dunes everyone gave a big sigh of relief and very nearly a cheer of delight. Being time constrained I made my way from the island to arrive home to news that another first for the island, in the form of an Isabelline Shrike had been found at the Snook! But it didn't spoil my day.
Saturday, 8 October 2016
An early start on Holy Island saw us checking out the excavations with little success however as we headed towards the Quarry it was obvious there were still migrants about mainly in the form of Redwings and dozens of Goldcrests. Whilst checking Reed Buntings amongst the dunes a Great Grey Shrike suddenly exploded from a bush, scared the Buntings and headed over the next dune. Our next point of call was the Willows at the north end of the Straight Lonnen, here a Red-breasted Flycatcher was showing well along with a Lesser Whitethroat, further along the Lonnen we came upon a second Red-breasted Flycatcher and on the wires a second Great Grey Shrike perched. At this point along with Alan Hall we headed off too the Vicars garden to stand by the wall and consume our Turnbulls Steak Pies ( other pies are available), we could hear a Yellow-browed Warbler and when a small bird came into sight we all though that is what it would be, then we saw the un-mistakable crown stripe and realised that it was in fact a gorgeous little Pallas's Warbler. It then proceeded to endlessly forage amongst the leaves just above our heads before finally flying across the garden to give more distant views, more birders arrived and some did manage to get views. We headed back to the car via Chare Ends where we finished off the day with a Common Redstart.
Wednesday, 5 October 2016
I was about to go around the Ponds and Keith had the car packed to do some work when I decided to check the computer, good move as the first thing up was a White's Thrush on Holy Island, it had just been found so I rang Alan Hall who I knew would be there, what came next sounded like- yes,pant ,pant, pant, Straight Lonnen,pant ,pant, heading there now. By this time Keith had cleared the car and within minutes we were away, at this point I should say no speed limits were broken during this blog.40 minutes later we were walking very quickly up the Straight Lonnen , we finally reached the willows at the north end where a group of fellow birders were scanning the trees. Almost immediately the bird appeared and showed well to the assembled group for quite some time, a large thrush with very distinctive markings and when it flew the underwing barring showed up very well.At this point we decided to leave the bird and head home as we both had work to go to, we felt very smug as we headed back along the Lonnen with groups of birders running in the opposite direction knowing that we had seen probably the Holy Grail of birds,lets hope many more saw it too.
Tuesday, 4 October 2016
A small group of us checked out Kyloe Quarry on Sunday morning. Next year, members of AWG will be carrying out a survey of the wildlife of this unusual spot for Lord Joicey, in a similar way the the one we did of Ford Moss last year. It is much more compact of course, so there will be less biodiversity, but you never know what we will find. The quarry has not been worked for 40 years and has still not been overgrown with vegetation. Listen out for more information at the monthly indoor meetings...
Saturday, 1 October 2016
We headed off to Boulmer this morning for a Bairds Sandpiper seen last evening on the beach, a small group of birders had gathered to pay homage and the bird in question was soon picked out amongst a group of Dunlin. Only slightly smaller than the Dunlin it showed a heavily scaled back with short legs and most obvious a long primary projection giving it a very attenuated look at the rear. The question was how long would we be able to view it, the answer not very long as after about 10 minutes a Peregrine decided to start stooping on the assembled waders hoping to spook them into flight, this had the desired effect as the group disappeared out of sight and the Raptor left empty handed, hopefully the bird will be back at high tide.
Saturday, 24 September 2016
We were going seawatching this morning but decided to first try for a Rose-coloured Starling which had been reported at Roseden on fatballs. On arrival at the site we met the local farmer and had a good chat about the whereabouts of this bird, he had not seen it and couldn't think of anyone in the village with feeders out but he did suggest trying a cottage on the other side of the A 697. This looked more promising as the garden was full of feeders with lots of birds but no Starlings, after about half an hour we decided to go and come back later. As we reached the main road a number of Starlings appeared in the hedge and one of them was very pale, on getting better views we noted the pale buffy plumage with dark wings and a pale yellowish bill, it was the Rosy, not a stunning bird but worth looking for and perhaps greatly overlooked amongst Starling flocks.