Sunday 16 October 2011

An incredible day

The end of an incredible week on the island. Sunday started with a brief naked eye view of a Robin-sized bird ('without a red breast') on the Obs fence in the half light as observers arrived, but with no further sign of anything other than Robins and Dunnocks in the Obs garden nothing more was thought of it and other birds took over... Incredibly a new Firecrest (a fine male - see left) was trapped in the SK along with two Blackcaps and a retrap Redwing. Obs members were delighted with the second Firecrest of the week especially when a Short-eared Owl (right) passed overhead and off towards Middle where it landed. As the regular crew headed for another trip round the island one member (John Elliott) received a phonecall from work which meant he had to stay behind at the Obs (luckily as it turned out). As the others were returning from the North End back towards the trapping area a phonecall from John alerted them to a bird he had found on the Upper Paddock west side fence which showed a bright eye ring and orangey flanks!!! The bird had flown back towards the Newton trap and observers met at the entrance but a quick check revealed nothing. Mild panic ensued. JE provided a brief description of the bird which to all present sounded just like a Red-flanked Bluetail - the incredulous observers split up with mobiles at the ready. Fortunately it was not too long (although it felt like longer) that the bird was relocated down the east side feeding along the sandstone cliff edge ... relief for all present and congratulations all round particularly to John.

The stunning little bird then showed superbly well down the east side and observers kept their distance as news was put out immediately allowing some to arrive even before the tide flooded.

It was watched on and off over the next hour and half before it found its way into the SK trap and was extracted, taken back to the Obs ringed, processed and photographed before being released back in the paddock after which it promptly flew back down to its favoured feeding areas (East side of the island including Niffy Bay).

The bird remained into the afternoon and many twitchers began arriving as the tide ebbed and they congregated in Niffy Bay. Around mid afternoon it again found its way into the SK trap and was taken back to the Obs were it was shown to the gathered crowd before being promptly released back in the paddock. It then remained showing on and off down the East side until 545pm at least.

Photos - Short-eared Owl (CJ), Red-flanked Bluetail (PSW in field, CJW & SRW in hand), Firecrest (SRW)

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