You are my haw

Devoted most of the day to hot vegetable action – planted yet more tatties, 60 assorted brassicas, and chicken-proofed the side of the new yard that’s most vulnerable to hen-infiltration. Went down the isle after lunch to get some stuff from the shop, half-heartedly birding along the way – not a lot to be seen, for all it’s been south-easterlies today. Best I could muster was a Spotted Flycatcher until… I found this lurking inside an open garage door. There was just long enough to squeeze off one photo of a Hawfinch in its natural habitat – feeding on bird seed underneath a stepladder. Seeing me, it displayed typical Hawfinch evasive behaviour – and scuttled underneath the parked car beside it. Shetland… it’s just non-stop nature in the raw up here.

Cheap Haw

Other than that, nothing much doing at all, though the rain that’s finally arrived with the southeasterlies may be good for tomorrow. These spent the day lurking just offshore, with at one point 3 Great Northern Divers further out in the bay.

090523 Eider 002

Devoted this evening to watching the Drench pheasant rodeo advert over and over again. I’m easily amused.

Taking stock of Hoopoe and Hawfinch

An excellent day today – bright sunshine, clear skies, and a moderate south-southwesterly. I spent most of the day working on building some more chicken runs for the breeding trios and quads, but all the meantime kept half an eye on the sea, skies and fields around me. Masses of displaying Curlew activity, and Skylarks and Wrens singing constantly kept me company. First addition to the house yearlist were a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers in the bay below the house, a somewhat overdue yeartick.

Then distracted by a phonecall from MC – he was watching the Hoopoe one of the non-birding islanders had found yesterday. I’d had a text first thing yesterday morning from JLI to let me know about it, but hadn’t got back to the isle until after dark, and figured I’d make the most of the fine weather at home this morning. However, confronted with the reality of a Hoopoe in a scope… my good intentions crumbled, and I drove down the isle to give it a couple of minutes. A smart enough bird, it was doing its best to feed on the short turf above a boulder beach. It looked a typically nervous specimen of its kind, and not likely to take a close approach kindly, so I left shortly afterwards to head back home to crack on with my carpentry.

But only briefly – I dropped everything when a small dark dove dropped down into the field beside me – it was looking good for Stock, but there’s a nasty feral-pigeon-thing here at the moment that does a passable Stock imitation from a distance, so it needed a second glance. Joy, a Stock Dove. Not just new for the house yearlist, but new for the house period. A few hours later, things went dove mental when I noticed 3 Stock Doves in the field beside the house. As soon as they copped me stalking them they were off, flying away a couple of fields, pausing briefly, and then away again down the island.

I finished the afternoon down at the other end of the island checking some gardens as a reward for finishing the hen runs. Pied Wagtail on the meadows, and a Hawfinch in Cath’s garden (the Hume’s Garden, lest I forget).

I’d have pretty photos of all of these birds (mergansers aside) if Warehouse Express weren’t so bloody useless. Have treated myself to a new camera and lens at long last, and the nice lady at Warehouse Express promised me it would be sent next day delivery a fortnight ago. I chased them last Tuesday – they admitted it hadn’t been sent yet, apologised profusely, and promised it would be in the post that very afternoon. Still no sign of it today. So whatever you do, don’t buy a camera from them, or believe their blandishments and promises. They’re just leading you on, the teases. It’s like being back in 6th form all over again…