More fall (for) you

Took a day’s holiday to make the most of the weather – deliciously south-easterly and rainy. Birders are the only people (with the possible exception of lunatic naked ramblers from London) who enjoy these conditions, but even I was struggling to find the love this morning as the wind made holding binoculars steady almost impossible at times, and the drizzle came in semi-solid lumps and columns across the hills at you.

First migrant I clapped eyes on was when I opened the back door to go and feed the hens – a bedraggled Redstart (yawn…) sheltering amongst the hosta pots beside the door. That was about it though until JLI arrived and we set to working our way around the patch. Initially not very successful, or at least not compared to yesterday when every fence and wall seemed adorned with a Redstart. Dribs and drabs of Redstarts (10), a Chiffchaff, a couple of Whinchats, and a few Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Garden Warbler. One of the latter necessitated JLI lying on the road to clinch, as it appeared in possibly the most exposed area, where standing to use binoculars was simply impossible.

On to Vevoe, and the first of many Spotted Flycatchers of the day. Also Tree Pipit, and various common warblery stuff. Vatshoull was notable for a significantly increased Wigeon flock, up from single figures yesterday to a respectable 43 today. On into Symbister, and a pitstop for chocolate and fizzy stuff. Took our spoils to the meadows to peer into the drizzle and look for Citrine Wagtails. No luck. 8 albas, and one flava notable – also a single Sanderling, and 2 Ruff.

Back into the gardens, and in their shelter with an easing wind, began to rack up reasonable numbers of the usual warbler suspects, Redstarts, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Whinchats, and a single Reed Warbler and our second Tree Pipit of the day. We finally hit the jackpot for the day with an elusive but occasionally showy Bluethroat near the shop. BM and JA came along, so we made our excuses and moved onwards to more gardens, and finally back to Skaw, where the easing conditions had allowed more birds to come out of the woodwork – Spotted Flycatchers most obviously, but also a brace of Lesser Whitethroat in the plantation.

A good day in the end – a shame there was no BB to really seal it, but good numbers of migrants, and a hard slog in trying conditions to earn a Bluethroat. It feels good to be tired like this.


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