Monday 26th September Fresh S Sunny with occasional hazy cloud cover
Up to the radio mast, snow bunting and a devil's coach horse beetle, and onward up to the summit of Ward Hill. Ward Hill is covered with the blown up remnants of a World War 2 radar station; twisted metal, concrete and an old rusting oven. How did it ever be thought that the area would be better served by blowing up all of the buildings?
Anyway the sun is shining and the views are fabulous; some of the best scenery anywhere in Britain is at my disposal. Very few birders come this way and I have it all to myself.
The views are magnificent but the birds are missing. There are a few meadow pipits and the occasional wheatear but gone are the numbers of migrants that adorned each geo last week. A single redstart in the immense Grey Geo is the only migrant within them.
Naaversgill's water spout is active again but with nowhere near the intensity displayed before. There are a number of heavily pregnant seals on the rocks here looking ready to pop.
News of a crake species in Meadow Burn I head that way, call in the shop for some food and see yet another yellow-browed warbler in the Burn. Twite are on a fence reminding me of a superb and very funny Pixar animation called For The Birds.
More news, a great snipe has been found by Deryk Shaw, the ex-warden for the Observatory. Everyone gathers and in a case of deja vu, the next hour is spent with lines of birders marching through fields and marshes but no sign of the rare bird.
A different rare bird shows itself briefly in flight in front of Chris Dodds, the Fair Isle ranger, before disappearing just as fast into thick vegetation. He called it right, a lanceolated warbler. After another hour it is caught in a mist net and everyone who wants to gets an eyeful of this wonderful rare Sibe. This is the third lanceolated in the last two weeks!
Whilst searching for this bird a crake flew behind most people. I saw it but only really in silhouette against the sun. A crake most definitely, I couldn't put my hand on my heart and say that I have now seen a spotted crake, though those who had better views than I say it was one.
I stay almost until dark trying to see or hear it to no avail. A year tick eludes me. Another year tick eluded me today as well; a long-tailed skua was photographed earlier on.