Sunday, 20 November 2011

Lost keys found

Yeserday I went to Costa to try to see the putative Hume's Warbler but without much luck. However, there were a lot of Twite there, maybe 300 or so. Dick talked to me about bird crop and apple feeders, so we now have Waxwing bait hung securely out of reach of the fruit guzzling Blackbird hordes.

 Fodder Beet and Barley are the main food stuff here

 Twite, not especially enjoying the Sproghawk's attentions

 Good use for a fat ball feeder, there's now one of these in our garden, sans the Blackcap though

There was a large fall of Blackbirds yesterday with flocks in the fields, probably 35 around home and  The Shunan. Thrush numbers were buoyant today with about 300 Fieldfare and 200 redwing around The Shunan.

The worst part of today was the car key catastrophe, though. Taking the mischievous hound to Marwick Bay she decided to misbehave outrageously which required emergency lead application. Back at the car after half an hour or so, no keys. When I'd pulled the lead out of the pocket the car keys and come along too. Were they on the hound's collar? Nope! So to add to the lack of peaceful swift hunting, we were now locked out 10 miles from home, no mobile signal and anyway Louise amd Mollie were away in Kirkwall doing horsey stuff. Once we were both able to search, no other people around for the hound to molest, we scoured pathway and beach. Eventually, down near the tideline Ellen felt something strange underfoot, car keys! Phew.

We elected to have a quiet afternoon at home and as further track repairs are pressing we trudged down the hill. A close encounter with a Peregrine was rather startling. The Lapwings were up and eventually I got onto the Peregrine coming my way at head height, straight my way like a bullet..Through the bins I didn't realise just how close it got until I heard the "Whoosh!" of its wings as it pulled up and arced back south. Next up were excellent views of two Shorties which ended up having a spat. Then a Merlin went across the fields after the thrushes, no doubt why there was all this activity in the first place. It did that Merlin accelerator thing that they do when hunting, upping the pace as they close in with high power wing beats, I didn't see if it was successful but it caused considerable panic.

 Track repairers

One of the two Shorties, notice the diagnostic underwing pattern

We sat in the garden having tea at dusk watching the Rooks and a few Jackdaws heading off past our roost to other trees somewhere. They hang around the trees for much of the day but at the moment they are not roosting here.

Other birds today were a Brambling, eight or so Chaffinch and the Tree Sparrow. Ellen and I finally got around to concreting the feeder pole in place so it will no longer need various lumps of wood driven into the ground to prop it up, hopefully.

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