21 May 2008

What the Fc*k is that!

And so the words of the Secretary of the Hilbre Island Bird Observatory have been immortalised on the Worldwide web! What prompted such an outburst? Well I will tell you.

With S E Winds blowing all week and Bluethroats being seen on Bardsey and Aberdeen the weather conditions looked promising for a rarity on Hilbre so I rang Steve Williams and cadged a lift in the Landrover at 06.30 this morning along with Colin Jones, Pete & Doreen Williams.
Plenty of hirundines were moving and the first round of the heligoland traps produced a Spotted Flycatcher and a couple of Willow Warblers - a good sign. We had just finished our first cup of tea of the day made by the incomparable Doreen when I spotted an unusual looking bird perched up on the highest point of the island to the south of the Obs. Just its head was showing and calling Steve we both looked looked at it umming and aghhing, or in Steves case swearing ' what the fc*k is that. Look at the super on it'. At that point the bird dived into deep cover and calling the others we made our way towards where it had disappeared. Steve muttered something about a Rubythroat whilst I suggested, partially out of hope, Bluethroat!

Walking slowly through the bracken the bird suddenly flew low in front of us. Pete Williams was probably the first to yell 'Bluethroat' as the bird shot passed him, giving us all a good view of its distinctive tail pattern and veered across to the pond. The bird soon got moved on by the local Meadow Pipits and returned to for whatever will be known as 'Bluethroat Ridge'

The news was put out and local birders informed. Mark Turner & Allan Conlin were two of the first to arrive.Then began a game of hide and seek as the bird defied all attempts to get much detail on it. Initially we thought it wasa 1st summer male, then and adult female..................

Eventually the problem was solved when the bird flew through the Obs garden and got caught in the bottom shelf of a mist net. Red-spotted Bluethroat. 1st summer male!!!!!!

Added excitement was provided by an Osprey between Hilbre & Point of Ayr getting mobbed by large gulls. The good news is that the Bluethroat stayed on the Island and was seen by a number of visiting birders including Frank Duff who managed to get back from Belfast in time!!!

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