Went down to water the plants in the glasshouse yesterday, and had a momentary satellite delay as my brain caught up with what my ears were hearing – an out-of-context hooet call from the depths of a tomato plant. That sounded like a Redstart… and it was. A smart female, zipping around the glasshouse and flycatching. Did you know Redstarts can hover? Me neither. But they can.
It was late, so rather than usher her out or catch her and face the hassle of driving to BM well into the evening, I decided to leave her be in there for the night. No shortage of food, and plenty of roosting material in the form of the apple trees and tomatoes. Checking Birds in Shetland, it seems this smashes the earliest autumn Redstart record by an awesome 5 days. Woohoo. It’s not quite the buzz of a self-found rarity, but still… it’s an achievement, of a sort. In these quiet days of summer you have to take your thrills where you can.
Went in armed this morning with a kite net, and caught it first time of asking. Straight down the isle to let BM ring it, and back to the patch feeling enthused. Autumn’s underway. Or not. Absolutely bugger all else migrant-wise to be seen, just scores of juvenile Wheatears messing the place up, and hordes of Starlings failing miserably to lure a Rosy to their numbers. Needless to say, not a whiff of a Crossbill, let alone a Two-barred – though I hear Scandinavia is knee-deep in them today, so here’s hoping. Shetland’s due easterlies of one kind or another for the coming week or so…
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