Monday 3rd October Fresh to strong ESE Sunny, cool.
Sunshine but much cooler due to the fresh wind. It is in the right direction though so who knows, there may be birds. Like yesterday? One can only hope but a day like that is really a once in a lifetime event.
A slavonian grebe is close in at North Haven again. The blyth's reed warbler is showing from the Bird Observatory garden before breakfast and a common rosefinch has been caught in a mist net. Measured and ringed, it is soon released.
Yesterday's list of rares is still on the Bird Observatory noticeboard testing everyone to find better today.
Down the island it is immediately clear that there has been a huge clear out of migrant birds. I don't see my first phyllosc' for a couple of hours.
Jack snipe, curlews, pipits, fulmars, gannets, pink-footed geese, wigeon; the day goes by and although I see a group of birders gather to look at the lanceolated warbler, now to be found in the garden at Midway, I don't join them. I continue to search.
To the shop in the afternoon for food I go to the Kirk to read and have lunch.
After lunch I am walking the bike up the hill by the school when a bird comes out of the long grass. I think it looks good. I watch where it doves down into the grass and head that way. It doesn't flush until I almost tread on it and it flies like a bullet and into a ditch. What is it? A thrush? That size but behaving like this. Must check. I carefully walk the ditch and up it flies again heading away from me at seed to dive into a ditch once again.
I phone Lee Gregory who I can see a few hundred yards away near North Shirva. Lee is a great friend and he with Cath Mendez come over. Meanwhile I have been praying to my guardian angels that it is a good bird.
The three of us move over to the last place I saw the bird and out comes a . . .
red-flanked browntail! (work it out....)
Oh well, always call out a bird you're not sure of. I have never seen a redwing, for that's what it was, behave in such a way. Wierd.
The three comrades walk back towards the Bird Obs and laugh. Lee walks the Plantation Heligoland trap and the Gully one also. From the latter he comes out with a bird in the bag, a black-spotted browntail. OK, a song thrush to you and me. One day it will be a mega but not today.