Sunday 29 September 2013

Yellow-browed Warbler

Well Barrie has done it again and found another Autumn migrant species on Burray.

I got a call from him yesterday lunchtime to say that he had found a Yellow-browed Warbler in a garden near to Churchill Barrier No 4.

As this would be a new life list bird for me I popped down to take a look.

On approach to the garden where he had found it I spotted that the people next door were out in their garden pruning their trees. This didn't bode well for my chances of seeing the warbler and despite looking for around 20 minutes including the surrounding gardens I wasn't able to locate it.

So yet again I had missed another life list bird that was almost on my doorstep.

Still not all was lost as later that afternoon I headed over to Deerness and guess what I saw. You can find out here:

Saturday 28 September 2013

Busy Barrie

After the Common Rosefinch in his garden last Sunday and finding a Bonelli's Warbler on Monday Barrie has found a few more migrants during the week with a Lesser Whitethroat at the Bu, a Chiffchaff at Leith, a Willow Warbler and a Wood Warbler in the village and a Redwing in his garden.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

After a fleeting glimpse yesterday afternoon of what I thought was a Great Spotted Woodpecker this morning I was able to confirm it.

I had a call from my neighbour to say he had just had one in his garden and that it was heading in my direction. I went straight to the windows over looking the garden and there it was sitting in the Fuschia bushes. It then flew across the garden round to the back of the house so I went outside to get a better look. Just as I rounded the side of the house it was off heading back towards my neighbour's garden.

The Great Spotted Woodpecker is a rare bird for Orkney. Last year there were only five records for this species. Already this year there has been one seen in Stromness (19 and 21 Sep), one on Sanday (19 Sep), one in Deerness (21 Sep) and two on North Ronaldsay (26 and 27 Sep). And now there is one on Burray too.

Time to go and find it and anything else this morning's rain might have grounded.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Bonelli's Warbler

My friend Barrie was out and about on the East side of Burray yesterday afternoon and found a Bonelli's Warbler, most likely a Western species.

He found it along the road that runs westwards from Ness in Burray, not far from where he found the Buff-breasted Sandpiper a couple of weeks ago, where it was feeding briefly in gardens and working its way quickly along the dykes.

With the wind now round to the East I wonder what else will turn up on Burray over the next few days.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Common Rosefinch

My friend Barrie had a juvenile Common Rosefinch in his garden in Burray Village this morning. It perched at the top of a dead tree for about 30 seconds before flying off but returned about 30 minutes later for a second showing.

This is the second time this year he has had this species in his garden and the second time I've been down and not seen it.

Still it was good to catch up on what's been about over a brew.

Sunday 15 September 2013

There's a Robin in the garden

I've not been as good at keeping this blog up to date as I had planned so far this year so I must do better.

There have been plenty of Meadow Pipits around for the last 2-3 weeks and numbers of Wheatear have also been building up. A ringing session here last week resulted in 17 Meadow Pipits being ringed and also a Rock Pipit. See here for full details An Orkney Ringer - Home Ground.

Unlike a lot of other places in Orkney which have seen increasing numbers over the last few weeks, here up at the home site there haven't been any Pied Wagtails apart from one last week although I have seen quite a few down in the village.

A quick trip down to Littlequoy Farm during the week to check out a small pool for the possibility of some wader ringing only produced 8 Redshank and 21 Ringed Plover. The pool itself was bone dry, which according to the farmer is quite unusual. Maybe the storms over the next few days will start filling it up again.

There is a flock of 200+ Golden Plover that have been moving around the fields around the home site over the last couple of weeks.

Echnaloch has seen increasing numbers of Greylag Geese in the evenings and these are now being joined by an increasing number of ducks so I'll have to pop down there some time and see what's about.

The young Mute Swan is still on the loch with its parents. In previous years a pair of Mute Swans have always nested very close to the main road. This year there was no sign of them and nobody I talked to was very sure what had happened. Several scans around the shore of the loch throughout the summer didn't show any signs of them having set up a nest elsewhere so it was presumed that possibly one of the swans had died and the other swan had not found a new mate.

Then late in the summer a single youngster was seen on the loch with two adults. This raised a number of questions. Was this the original pair with a new nest concealed from view? Was it a new pair with a nest concealed from view? Why was there only one chick? Usually the resident pair had produced around 5-6 chicks a season of which 3-4 had survived. Had there been more chicks that had perished at an early stage? Had the eggs been predated because of the new nest location? Who knows. We will have to wait until next year to see if the same pair will nest again and if the nest can be located and observed.

Back at home I spotted a Robin in the garden yesterday afternoon. This was the first one for this year and comes about a month earlier than the one seen here last year. Will it stick around for the winter or is it just passing through? Last year the Robin only stuck around for a fortnight before it disappeared.

I also had the first sighting of our frog in the new pond since we filled it with water and introduced it to its refurbished home.