Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Yakety Crex.

Grey Herons are a traditional early autumn migrant on Fair Isle. This one appeared to have just arrived at South Light and it promptly pitched onto the first rocks it found and rested amongst the loafing gulls.
Southeasterly gale force 8 continuing...

That's always a promising shipping forecast, so we headed out into the gale with our hopes high. However, it soon became clear that there either weren't a lot of birds in, or (our hope) they were taking shelter at the bottom of the geos and will appear when the wind drops. My census route in SW saw me find no migrants on the cliffs, so it was a surprise when a Corncrake flew out from long grass near Upper Leogh.
After crashing back into the roadside verge ahead of me, the Corncrake came to the attention of a large cat, which dashed towards its hiding place. Not wishing to see any migrant get munched (let alone the best bird of the day!), I ran after the cat to try to shoo it off. At this stage, the Corncrake heard me approaching and flew off again in that careering manner that makes you wonder how they ever manage a long distance migration. With it fluttering along the road, the cat sensed it had a chance of a catch and went off sprinting after the bird again, causing me to run along the road trying to distract the cat. This went on for several metres, with the fat ginger bird being chased by a fat ginger cat, which in turn was pursued by the warden (and yes, I am a red head and perhaps slightly overweight). The Corncrake then flipped over the stone wall, clipped the top of a fence and crashed into a ditch where it was seen to skulk off into the vegetation and then completely vanish, as is their wont. If anybody managed to capture the whole event on video, I’m sure it would look good set to the Benny Hill theme tune, but as it ended with the bird escaping and hopefully being none the worse for its ordeal, I can live with that.
The day’s birding was cut short by a deluge of rain that arrived shortly after lunch and very few other highlights being noted, although there was still a Common Rosefinch (at Midway then Lower Stoneybrek) and a Barred Warbler at the Obs.
A Rosefinch trying to justify its name by perching in roses.
With the easterlies crashing the rain against the windows as I typed this last night, it really feels like there should be some more birds in, hopefully the weather will have improved enough to be able to find them.

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