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Friday, October 12, 2012

14th October

This is a slight alteration to Friday the 12ths hurried entry.

My thanks go to Birdman for keeping up his daily walks in the park. Looking at his reports, this area too was fairly quiet. The highlights being Marsh Harrier (9th) and Firecrest and Fieldfare (11th) 

I am back but only briefly from what was quite a rewarding but very hard working stay on the Isles of Scilly. The weather did it’s best to make life difficult with either rain or fog the first thing you saw when pulling back the curtains on most days. We did manage two fairly sunny days though, which meant that the coats you started the day in became something else to carry later in the day.

Overall species and bird numbers were fairly low, this was due to the banks of clouds that stopped birds from the east venturing in our direction and the same applies to a degree for the hoped for megas from America.

The Highlights were; Buff-breasted Sandpiper, American Golden Plover, Dotterel (ridiculously tame), Grey-Cheeked Thrush, Sykes’s Warbler, Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Red Breasted Bunting, Rosy Starling and Ortolan Bunting.

A few memories from the trip are below:

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Home for the week was the lefthand half of the loft conversion, the views east were sometimes quite spectacular.

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Dawn over the harbour (above) and the sun comes out at the end of the day (below).

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Looking back across the harbour towards a mist covered Garrison

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2 very different days on the islands

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The Buff-breasted Sandpiper and the Curlew Sandpiper were seen at a stop off at Davidstow Airfield (disused wartime airfield) on the way down.

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Ortolan Bunting in a garden by Porthcressa Beach

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Red-breasted Flycatcher

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Western Bonelli’s Warbler

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Dotterel

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Buff-breasted Sandpiper

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Yellow-browed Warbler

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Greenshank

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This snipe matches all the same plumage characteristics of the Wilson’s Snipe that my friend's and I have seen on the islands it just wouldn’t show it’s underwing or tail feather that would have clinched it’s identification. We are confident that it was a Wilson’s Snipe, look at the differences below.

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Sykes’s Warbler

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Richard’s Pipit

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American Golden Plover on a misty airport runway

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The sun came out the following day

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This Curlew Sandpiper was a surprise to those birders looking at the plover.

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Wryneck (slightly distant)

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This Jack Snipe turned up on Lower Moors on our last day.

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I had to pop up to Norfolk over the weekend to visit my mother in-law. It allowed me to pop out for a couple of hours both mornings to do some sea watching at Cley and Sheringham. Yesterday was the quieter with good numbers of Gannets, Razorbills, Guillemots, Red throated Divers and a Black throated Diver. Today was much better, with 1 Manx Shearwater, 7 Great Skuas, 2 Arctic Skuas, 30 Little Gulls, 7 Little Auks, 4 Puffins and 60 R T Divers.

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5 comments:

birdman_euston said...

On the possible Wilson's Snipe, Tony, I concur (as someone who's seen lots of Wilson's but never a Common Snipe) that the head pattern (especially) and mantle colouration of the right-hand bird look familiar but not those of the one on the left. (I know the two features I've mentioned are not considered definitive - they talk about things like tail feathers and axillaries instead - but to me the overall jizz of the bird on the right fits that of a Wilson's nevertheless.)

birdman_euston said...

Just to clarify, I'm referring to the photo immediately below your text about the snipes.

Tony Duckett said...

Hi Birdman.

Thanks for the input, but the bird that matched my 2 previous Wilson Snipe seen in the UK is the greyer bird. Common Snipe do vary in colour from brown to grey but look nothing like the greyer bird in my photos.

Cheers

Tony

birdman_euston said...

Haha, I might have known, Tony! With so much plumage variation within each of the two species, then, one wonders why they split them in the first place - presumably after genetic analysis.

PS Fwiw, I had what sounded like a Skylark (a liquid, two-note 'chirrup') flying N over The Hub at 07:40 this morning. It was about the right size, with a slightly bouncing flight pattern, but I only saw a silhouette as it was flying away from me.

birdman_euston said...

16 Oct:
1 Little Owl (feeding on ground invertebrates around rotting logs close to NE gate of Wetland Pen, area 32 at 07:50 - first time I've seen one here since just before dawn on 20 March), 1 Kestrel, no Chiffchaffs (for practically the first time since mid-March).