Saturday 10 November 2012

Unlucky Duck.

A rather quiet spell saw one inauspicious addition to the year list, with a Velvet Scoter found freshly dead on the North Haven beach (10th), a bird that is still missing from my Fair Isle list (although I swear this one was still warm when I found it!).
Otherwise things had a distinctly wintry theme, although a few lingering highlights included two Great Tits, 25 Waxwing, Hen Harrier (9th), Blue Fulmar (still on the cliffs at Ditfield) and Lesser Redpoll (8th).
Although Great Tit counts have never exceded two this autumn, at least three birds have been involved. This male at the School having apparently replaced one of the original two females at some stage.
Other birds that remain from the autumn include a Chiffchaff at the Obs, where there were also 3 Blackcap until 8th (with one found predated by a raptor on 10th), 2 Rook, Common Redpoll and at least four Water Rail (with the latter at least possibly contemplating overwintering).
A rather pale redpoll at the School looked rather interesting when I first saw it briefly whilst dropping Grace at nursery. When it was eventually tracked down it turned out to be Common Redpoll, probably a pale 'Mealy'.
There were few new birds, although 5 Linnet at the School (8th) was the highest count for some time and a Sparrowhawk (9th) was the first this month. The latter bird was trapped and found to have a very full crop, with a suspicious pile of Waxwing feathers nearby perhaps indicating it has a taste for apple-flavoured birds. Also new was a first-winter Glaucous Gull (7th), with the following day seeing 3(two juvs and an adult) in Finnequoy.
Perhaps the north-westerlies tomorrow might bring us one last surprise from over the Atlantic, or maybe one of those Pine Grosbeaks will eventually cross the North Sea, but it is starting to feel like that’s just about it for the year.
Water Rail is often a garden bird on Fair Isle in the winter, although the minimum of four currently present is a good count. This one has taken up reisdence at the Obs, where it occasionally shows very well from the office window (and provides a welcome distraction from the paperwork!).

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