Wednesday 2 October 2013

You wind some, you lose some.

2nd October 2013
A wild and windy day saw no planes or boat (so therefore no restock for the bar) and difficult birding conditions.
The Olive-backed Pipit found near the Sheep Cru this morning was a good start, but it took off and disappeared towards the airstrip never to be seen again. That was pretty much it in terms of new highlights, with the wind proving too much of a barrier to birding. A Greenfinch was the first of the autumn, a Whitethroat was the first for over a week and, amongst the lingering migrants, there were a few that increased in number (15 Blackcap, 63 Redwing, 56 Song Thrush, 24 Robin, 7 Dunnock and 6 Blackbird).
The west cliffs again held a good scattering of common migrants, although extreme caution was needed to bird them in very strong winds.
There were also still Dotterel, 7 Yellow-browed Warbler, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Stonechat and Lesser Redpoll present amongst a variety of lingering birds. Seven Barnacle Geese passed over (although were struggling to make progress in the wind) amongst a scatter of wildfowl records.
The Dotterel remained faithful to the Golden Plover flock and spent most of its time on Chatham's Land (at Barkland)
After no sightings in 2012, Stonechats have had a better year, with this one present at Chalet for the last two days. 
Tomorrow seems unlikely to be much different from today (although probably wetter), so it will be tough going again. However, there are still birds coming through, so there’s still the chance of something really good being discovered given the wind direction (although Friday looks more promising, with calmer conditions hopefully encouraging birds out).
Redpolls of various sizes and species have been around in small numbers for a while now. This 'Mealy' Common (left) and Lesser were near the Chapel yesterday.
This Lesser Redpoll was trapped today, with biometrics matching the plumage features to confirm it as this species (which is much scarcer than Common Redpoll on Fair Isle).

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