Tuesday, 23 August 2011

It's grim up North.

North census is a great route, it’s got fantastic scenery, Gannet colonies, a nice mix of habitats and a good track record of birds. That said, it doesn’t have the crofts and gardens that the southern routes have and so it can be a bit quiet at times for migrants. Today was one of those days: I got back from a more-or-less migrant-less census to find that there were six Barred Warblers, four Common Rosefinch, the first Grasshopper Warbler of the autumn and a fly-over calling wagtail at South Light that will hopefully be tracked down tomorrow as it sounded like a pretty good bet for Citrine, all in the south of the island.

Although I was on bar duty, things were very quiet in the Obs this evening, so I asked Liz if she’d mind keeping an eye on things while I went down to check Da Water and a couple of other sites for the wagtail. With so many migrants in, I thought it would be rude to go past the Plantation and Vaadal traps without checking them. The Plantation looked like it was going to be empty, until a Rosefinch jumped out at the last minute. As I was dealing with trapping that, I became aware of a sharp ‘tzit’ call repeated three or four times coming from just beyond the trap. Eventually my hearing and brain connected and I was very much hoping that I would find a Phyllosc when I approached the Vaadal. Thankfully I did, it went straight in the box and I was able to phone the Obs and tell them I was coming back with an Arctic Warbler! There was also a Barred Warbler caught in the Vaadal - if you're only going to trap three birds, it might as well be those three!
Sweet. Fair Isle is the place in the UK to see this vagrant, with over 70 records! 
The winds are still in the east this evening, so I know it is greedy to ask for anything else, but I can’t help but feel there might be one or two more birds to come…

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