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17 August 2014
Windy-migging: August 17th
It had all the appearances of being a really dull day. A cold, blustery wind bending the tree tops and causing you to question your sanity for being up so early. The Wheatear was on the log of happiness so how bad could it be? It was turgid for a long time. Hardly any foolhardy passerines about and those that were zoomed between the trees to the north of Long Wood out of the wind. And it was dull, like it will be on Shetland.
By the time Tony had arrived (Common Sandpiper on Alex his highpoint), we'd supped coffee, and later Dan hove into view, John and I had managed a couple of Whitethroats. It improved slightly with a couple of Lessers and some Garden Warbler, but not a patch on yesterday. Tony wisely gave up, Dan disappeared not returning from a fools errand of trying to find a lark sized lark/pipit that had suddenly appeared and dropped out of view to the south of us. Tawny Pipit I suggested more in hope than expectation. They didn't find it or anything.
John and I wandered over to the SSSI where things weren't a whole heap better. The usual Chiffies and a couple of Willow Warbler in the shelter behind the lime avenue. That was enough for John too. So left on my own I did a circuit and then went back over the road to the north of the old clay pits. Here I thought to check out a bird (probably a bloody Robin) that I'd noticed in a hawthorn by the path. I waited. Finally the bird flew to the next tree: Dan's female type Redstart. Heartened I chased off after another bird I'd seen flashing along centre road. Didn't find that one. Now in the brooms I thought I'd give the lark/pipit ago (it was about this time that Hawky had his Tawny Pipit down Barking Bay so worth a shout), I mean what if...
... bugger all was what if. Though I did refind my Redstart from yesterday by the visimig point, pleasing Tony no end as I tweeted it out.
Nothing was still happening in Long Wood so I tried the Alex; Common Sand still flying around but a bit more friendly today.
Thought I had a Reed Warbler in Alex scrub but it vanished and then it rained, rained some more, constantly, heavily and nearly horizontally. Wet, cold and knackered I decided to give up. On the Alex a few Chiffies were calling from the willows so I thought I'd give it one last go. I sheltered behind a birch and waited for movement.
There were two birds in the south east corner, one a calling Chiffy and one not. The chiffy was slightly less elusive and showed more often and really a quite a grey looking, quite hefty looking bird, the other I'd only seen as it zipped from one part of the willow to the next. Then it perched up. Even in the gloom and rain it's white belly shone. Managing to get the bins on it I got a bit of a yellow bib just under the chin and fairly strong super' in yellow. The wings looked good from this brief view and then it was gone again. It did show a couple of times more but didn't really add anything. The Chiffy it was with flew west along the island. I waited about 20 minutes and then followed it.
A couple of Willow Warbler were down the west end and some more chiffies, and another bright bird that wasn't either. With the wind the birds were finding it difficult to feed productively and cause no end of problems for me trying to watch them. This bird showed more yellow on the chest but with a crisp white belly, it wasn't hanging around though and after watching it on and off for a about five minutes it was off into the taller trees behind. For the next couple of hours I wandered back and forth trying to refind the two birds but only getting calling Chiffchaff and the showy Willow Warbler. Not helping much were the two Kestrel constantly goading the crows around the island and the Sparrowhawk that decided to land in the tree the warblers had been in. After that it all went a bit quiet.
To me the first bird was a nailed on Wood Warbler, but why can't they call, that would be good (and you just don't get so see as many of them as you would like. I saw the one at Amwell last year, the year before that one in Suffolk and a couple up near Aviemore, but not a lot more than ten birds and not a lot of them first winter birds, as I assumed this one to be). The other bird; I would have preferred some clearer views but the wing patterning and it's colour looked the part. Dan had got a possible in the SSSI yesterday so relocation isn't out of the question.
After another 20 minutes of having a wet arse I decided to knock it on the head, after all there is always tomorrow.