Saturday, August 25, 2007


Out the house before the kids woke up. Of course I knew the chances of getting Greenish Warbler for the patch list today were vanishingly small, but even so I was mildly disappointed when I tape-lured greenish call at the Mill Garden and nothing popped out of the bushes. In fact, nothing at all popped out of the bushes - not just 'a little bit quiet for the time of year' but 'totally dead, rotten, buried and reincarnated as a small stoat'. Eventually picked up some Winter Wrens, European Robins, Chaffinches etc., but hard going. A Northern Wheatear at the clifftops was a wee bit of encouragement (second one this year!).

Not a seawatch day (aside from the westerly breeze, I was keen to get up to the Secret Garden and allotments), but I thought I'd look out to sea long enough to get a Sooty Shearwater, then go. TWO minutes later, one flew nonchalently past, going south at 800 m. I reckoned that, even for me, a 2 min seawatch was a bit weedy, so I gave it another 13 min (!!), getting 108 Northern Gannets going north ( = 432/h), 12 Black-legged Kittiwakes, 1 Red-throated Diver north (the exception that disproves the rule), and 1 Common Scoter north.

As I said, I was eager to get up to the Secret Garden, but predictably I needn't have bothered. 1 Willow Warbler in the allotments was the only potential migrant. But by way of a bit of a change, I found, photographed and ate this Short-tailed Vole Microtus agrestis.

Note the short tail.


John said...

Have you discovered you live in the great shrew burial ground? Is your patch simply littered with wee mammal corpses or do you have some special dead rodent sensing equipment? The corpses appear to be intact, so probably not the work of predators...maybe they succumbed to old age? Or were crushed under tires? Trod upon? And you find all these corpses while seawatching, between flurries of Sooty Shearwaters... perhaps an investigation is in order here...was it only birds he had in that secret freezer?

Martin said...

I think I'm just the Grim Reaper for small mammals. I touch their hearts and they die. Or something. Maybe if I spent less time scanning the ground for corpses I'd see more birds!