23 Oct 2011

Back to earth.

After last weekends excitement it was inevitable that things would be fairly quiet this weekend. The week was frustrating in that there were two good birds nationally. A short staying Scarlet Tanager in Cornwall but even more frustratingly a long staying male Siberian Rubythroat on Shetland. The Rubythroat was tempting the longer it stayed but, due to work commitments  I couldn't go and part of me reasoned that in the last five years there have been 3 records so eventually there would be a nearer one.

Anyway, back to the weekend. Expectations weren't high but I still drove over to Hilbre in the dark to be on at dawn as the high tide was really early. A single Blackbird and Robin were ringed and unbelievably Thursday's Coal Tit was still present and found to have put on weight during its stay. Even more unbelievable is the fact its still there today (Sunday).

As the early morning cloud gave way to a cloudless sky it was obvious that although there weren't many birds on the island there was plenty going on in the airspace above with a steady stream of Chaffinches, Skylarks and a Reed Bunting passing overhead. A group of Starlings dropped in for a quick rest on the radio mast before departing towards the mainland and a small part of Redwings 'tseeped' their way south. Star bird though was a Merlin that came in low from the west over the sea.
Wader numbers are building up with one of our colour ringed Turnstones making a welcome return. At least 80 of these active little waders were around the Island yesterday with Oystercatchers, Curlew, Redshank, Knot and Bar-tailed Godwits all being logged.
Another sign that the year is drawing to an inexorable close is the arrival of the Brent Geese. 39 birds have so far arrived including this family group that consisted of two adults and four juveniles (yes I can count - one of the adults is out of shot to the left).
A real surprise back home was a Little Owl that woke me up Friday night calling from our neighbours roof. I hear them distantly from the garden but have never had one so close!

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