Friday, 5 August 2011

No planes, but the fog hasn't stopped everything getting here...

A good day today (from a birding point of view at least) as the easterly winds of last night switched to strong westerly by this afternoon and the fog finally started to give way to rain. Thanks to the lack of visibility, we've not had planes since Monday, but hopefully transport will be back to normal tomorrow and we'll get the rest of the team back who have been on holiday (even if they do have to come back on the Good Shepherd...).
Wheatears seem to have had a good season, with plenty of juveniles around.
We did manage a brief respite from the fog yesterday afternoon when the sun came out and so the Parnaby family (and visitors) headed off to the beach for a picnic. Considering we are only three minutes walk from the beach, I was still loaded up like a pit pony with coolbox, bags, bucket and spade, travel rug, etc (and binoculars of course). We had a great time though and Grace splashed away like a little selkie and probably would have stayed there all night given the chance.
Anyway, back to the birds. Today saw our first Pied Flycatcher, Reed Warbler and Whinchat of the autumn (the latter of which conveniently found its way into the Hjon Dyke trap) along with a new Black Redstart at the Obs. I must admit I’m not sure if I can contain my excitement for the autumn – it’s only early August and I’m already imagining some of the things that we might see over the coming weeks! There are also reasonable numbers of waders on the go, with Green Sandpipers in several locations, although their flighty nature makes judging numbers difficult, maybe half a dozen birds were involved. Ruff and Greenshank were also in a couple of places and a small group of Teal arrived, whilst Common Gull numbers were probably over 600 (I’ve not added my notebook up yet).

Waders on the move included a group of 12 Whimbrel heading south yesterday over our picnic. Strangely, the formation flock was being led by a Curlew!
Yesterday also saw an arrival of Painted Lady butterflies, always a good sign of migrants on the move. I’d not be surprised if there is something a bit higher up the rarity scale to report soon, stay tuned!

Another bird that seems to have had a good breeding season is Twite, with 60 around the Obs yesterday.

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