Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A bit of a fall

Well I knew I should have gone to NRon but diplomatically it wasn't really on and anyway I'm puffed out at the moment with work tooooooooooooooo much, so I slept until after 9 on Saturday and didn't go birding really, not much, just a few looks at The Shunan, and a trip to Evie, oh, and a peek at Bosquoy. But I didn't see a Paddyfield Warbler nor a Marsh Warbler (tho' thanks to Martin G I do know now exactly how to identify the next unstreaked Accro I find - look here, nice, thanks Martin).

Anyway, I was a bit more frisky on Sunday and managed to get myself down the track by 05:20. Nothing much on The S so the plan was a South Ron raid. First stop though was Echnaloch Bay on Burray to hunt out the previous day's apparently unconfirmed (actually PH had seen it) subadult, female Surfie. First couple of scans failed to find it and its Common (presumed) companions but that just because they were re-enacting a U-Boat raid on Scapa Flow. When I did connect they were surprisingly closer than I had expected, indeed if I had remembered to take Martin G's handy book or my memory I would have been able to eliminate Black Scoter also I reckon. Anyway the spotty headed one showed quite well and was convenient for a good grilling. Interestingly small against the CSs, Velvet would be larger, it presented with a flat topped, bulky head, with a dark crown and nape (there was no white on the hind neck) on a small body, it was interestingly brown, really quite pale on the wings and when it helpfully flapped there was no white panel. Job done. At that point PH turned up and spilled the beans on some migrants that I needed for the year listing competition. Cara Bushes produced a singing Whitethroat after a bit of thrashing about and then I headed south for Hestily, where I dipped a Redstart; Windwick, where there were a pair of Common Scoter (again presumed, I've got the criteria embedded now though); Cleat and area where there were a number of Spotted Flycatchers, including a rather dark one, another Whitethroat and Chiff and Willow.

Some pix from the South Ronaldsay outing

....and I got home just in time to take the dog for a walk. But there weren't any birds up on the moor and all I got was a stream of texts telling me what I was missing on the boat trip that I'd (wisely as it turned out) failed to book on to. Eventually the texters owned up that the stories of flocks of L-tSkuas and Black Terns were fiction. However, JB found a nice Golden Oriole on Deerness late in the afternoon, but by that time I was in the pub.

At home the Siskin flock of four (five today) remained, the new Nyjer feeder having finally pulled something in, the Cuckoo continued to sing up the back and The Shunan continued to be rather quiet. Bosquoy produced three Pintail though and the tiny inland Arctic Tern colony there seems to have survived.

Cupcake (with edible Lepidoptera)


Andrew Huyton said...

Hi Alistair, would welcome some inside knowledge on birding Orkney. Thinking of coming up for the blues festival 21st-23rd Sept but at that time of year and having to come all that way I'm not going to come without staying on and doing some birding. So questions are - can you bird the Island or at least some good areas without a car? I'd be camping near Stromness if I decide to make the trip. Secondly how easy/expensive is it to get across to North Ron at that time of year? You can email me at andrewhuyton@hotmail.com any advice would be very much appreciated.

Alastair said...

Andrew, I've mailed you the gen.