Nov 5th - 10th: Jack's last few days saw little new but he did manage to trap another Long-eared Owl and find a Great Spotted Woodpecker in Hjukni Geo on 7th - a late Bonxie went through the same day and 20 Blackcaps was a significant arrival but not as significant as a count of 115 Woodcock!! Last sightings of Stonechat, Ring Ouzel and Goldcrest were all on 6th when Yellowhammers doubled (to two) and a Reed Bunting joined them. All the Shaws were up early to wave Jack off on the Good Shepherd on 10th. It was very sad but I am pleased he has accepted my offer for him to return next season (as has Simon), to the brand spanking new Observatory!! In the meantime I hope he finds adjusting back to the real world (is Hull part of the real world? - answers on a beermat to the usual address)) not too distressing!
Nov 11th-17th: Its hard to cover the isle myself so have to choose areas to do each day - the majority of the south one day, the north the next etc. But suffice to say that things are quietening down further with thrushes dwindling to around 150 Blackbird, 200 Redwing, 60 Fieldfare and 5 Song Thrush. Owls are still evident with a couple of Long-eareds (including more fresh captures) and 3+ Short-eareds. The goose flock has changed slightly with one of the European Whitefronts (the juvenile) departing and being replaced with a Pink-foot and the Barnacle being replaced with a (pale bellied) Brent Goose! Around 80 Greylags make up the bulk! Turnstones have built up to 165 and I suspect they may stay around that number now (or increase slightly) until next March. There are still up to 30 Skylarks and half a dozen Meadow Pipits around with a large handful (18) of Robins, the odd Chiffchaff, a few Chaffinch and Brambling, a Siskin, a couple of Linnets and a second Reed Bunting. Parties of Snow Buntings are everywhere and 570 logged in the south on 15th may have been an underestimate. A Dunnock was at Quoy on 15th and a Jackdaw arrived the same day.
Autumn migration has all but petered out now (22nd). The goose flock has changed again with now 5 Pinkies, 2 Whitefronts and c100 Greylag. Ten Wigeon and 2 Teal feed alongside them. Four Whooper Swans decided to keep going. Three each of Lapwing and Golden Plover loaf around Barkland fields. Thrushes still dominate the passerine scene with 60+ Blackbird, 150 Redwing and 25 Fieldfare scattered around the south but parties of Snow Bunting totalled 115. Still 20+ Skylarks and a four Meadow Pipits linger and the few Robins may well stay for the winter. The Jackdaw that is still here may do so too! The lone Chiffchaff that is also still here is unlikely to though!
Away from birds, the big news this past while has been Hollie's step closer to the big Four-O on 20th. She was so excited that she couldn't wait for me to bring her a cup of tea in bed and rushed downstairs, to be met by the children, who had all made her cards with a large number emblazoned on them! Her pile(!) of presents and cards was swiftly opened before school. The presents I bought here are all (typically) having to be returned for being the wrong size or just not suitable!! I've still got one to come though (it takes ages for anything to get here even if ordered a month in advance!) so hopefully she won't want to send that back too :-(
Ruth invited us all (and s few others) to Setter for a Vegetarian Birthday Tea (Ace! I didn't have to cook!) and the following evening was a Birthday Girlie Night at Kenaby (Ace! I get to watch Match of the Day!).
The New Obs is really coming on with c80% of upstairs now completed and by the time the lads alll depart for their well-earned Christmas break on 16th December, that part should be 100% complete. I can't wait!!! Downstairs is really taking shape too now and with the last tweaks of the final layout now completed they hope to be well on with this too before Christmas.
The Ponies are looking good, if a bit muddy, still just on grass (and the odd handful of carrot peelings), the dog is even better, if a bit annoyingly persistent that I either play with him all the time or take him out for a(nother) walk whilst teh 8 chickens are still pushimng out 6 or 7 eggs a day - Good on ya chooks!
Sunday night - its X Factor judgement time! I've spent the whole afternoon phoning in for five of the acts in an attempt to get Jedward outa there (No! Not really Boss!). Anyway, the time has come.........see ya!