Last roll of the dice

Excellent day today birding around my end of the isle – after another night of fresh south-easterlies and some more heavy rain, it had eased back to a light breeze by first light, and with fog sitting just offshore there were clearly new birds coming in to the land they could see. Thrush numbers back up again, with double figures of Blackbird and Song Thrush accompanying increased numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare. A walk around yielded 5 Robins (an increase), 2 Black Redstarts (1 new bird), 1 Brambling (presumably the semi-resident bird), and 5 Chiffchaffs. Also approximately 10 Goldcrest, though harder to be sure of them as those in the depths of the plantation tend to sit pretty tight.

Black Redstart doing new

New birds for the house yearlist aplenty in the space of an hour – a Jack Snipe flushed from the ditch at the foot of the drive (the first of 3 individuals I found during my walk), and a Woodcock flushed from the shore up towards the house a little later. It pitched down into the field behind the house, and was found again up there easily enough as it crept along the base of a drystone dyke. Okay, 2 new species isn’t really “aplenty” but they all count, and getting 2 species in a day this late on is a bonus.

091031 Whalsay 002

Chiffchaffs much darker than the ones we had here last week – clearly from somewhere different, though god knows or cares less what race any of these might be. Happened on yet another black feral cat at Roadside – looked a lot bigger than the 2 recent casualties. The mother, perhaps. Daisy Dingo spinning on the lead to be slipped, but in the end we all settled for scaring it away from where it was evidently trying to catch a Robin with a temporary territory. (Note the shit photo of a black cat running away – one for the red-tops in a quiet news week, surely. The Beast of Skaw…)

Feral cat doing tomcat humping migrant grave

Feral cat doing bad news like Daisy gets around

So nothing rare or even scarce, but it felt like there was potential in the air. You wouldn’t have been surprised to find something, even this late in the game.


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