Sunday, September 14, 2008

Barry's predictive water

Barry's water is never completely wrong. Today was perhaps not epic on the cosmic scale, but in the scale of Newtonhill passerines, it was pretty good. Observant reader will have noticed me complaining recently about checking bushes and seeing *nothing*. Well I wasn't lying. So when I put on my lederhosen and opera glasses and went out this morning, and immediately saw a Garden Warbler in one of the rowan trees with the House Sparrows and European Goldfinches, I knew something was up. And me so when I hit the track from St Anne's, saw a movement in the aspens and boing! A Common Redstart bounced up onto a branch - these are less than annual here. The heard a Willow Warbler in the gorse by the burn, and as I was looking for it another small bird - looked Phylloscy - started flitting out calling repeatedly 'shree', but wouldn't settle and I have the dubious pleasure of hearing its 'shree's getting further and further away until it was lost in the gardens of the village somewhere. Can't help thinking that something interesting got away there.

Mill Garden had another Garden Warbler (by this time I knew something was up), and hello, and unstreaked Acro - but I couldn't really get anything on it as it flitted away. Probably Reed Warbler. All these birds were very flighty and obviously fresh in. In fact I know for certain they weren't here yesterday.

Down the track, and I I came to the willows at the very bottom of the Mill Garden, the ground shook as a Barred Warbler flew up the burn and straight into cover. Outsize. I saw enough on it as it skulked away - particularly the back end(!) but it was soon gone for good, and even a blat of Barred Warbler call from my phone couldn't entice it out. Anyway, as any fule know, Barred Warblers never call.

After this level of excitement, gardens in Newtonhill were disappointingly quiet, but when I made it up to the allotments (no gardeners - c'mon!) they at last started to show a bit of their potential, with another Garden Warbler, 2 Common Whitethroats, and a juvenile Willow Warbler that disappeared behind a branch and metamorphed on the other side into a Common Chiffchaff. wtf? but then the WW came back. OK I'll have one of each.

Had to get back by 10 so Diane could go jogging, but I saw on BirdGuides that a European Honey-buzzard was heading over the Bridge of Don, and went out into the back garden to 'helpfully' hang the washing out, with my bins and an eye on the sky. There was a family of Goldfinces in the trees at the back of the garden and... eh up, a Lesser Whitethroat. Must be a Sylvia day. N/hill getting its years supply of passerine migrants in a single morning. Suits me fine.

Afternoon, and Lizzie, bless her, wants to go and see the rare bird (Greater Sand Plover) at the Ythan! What, Lizzie? I checked her temperature, and she was fine, so I buckled and we went. Lizzie has never been birding before, so why not start at the top? Got to the Ythan, and she started whinging immediately about having to walk.. until we got to the beach, which was covered in dead jellyfish, and amused us immensely. Turning the corner... ooh, waders, so I set up the scope and showed her Ringed Plovers and Dunlins, and hmmm a Red Knot and hold on, a dog! Noooooooooo!!!!!! It flushed everything and I saw the Sand Plover scooting off across the estuary. Now I didn't really know what to do - din't want to grip Lizzie off on her first trip, in fact didn't know how she would take this at all, so I kept shtum and was reasonably confident that we would be able to catch up with it on the north side. Although to be honest, I don't think she was taking it too seriously, which is how it should be.

We drove round to the north side, to the ploughed field where there were a few people watching without success. But frankly, who cares - the field was stowed and Lizzie was having a fantastic time - she loved the Northern Lapwings in the scope, and the 100s of Eurasian Golden Plovers, spotting the ones with black tummies. There were 3 Ruff, v close and with a male still quite bright. I told her they're called Ruff because they hurt your hand if you touch them. 'What, really?' 'Yes'. (looks doubtful) 'What, really really?' 'No, Lizzie'. We saw some Grey Plovers (Black-bellied) too, and I saw a Sanderling (bit subtle for Lizzie that one) and a Little Stint (asking a bit much for her this time. Next time maybe). Chuck in some Common Redshanks and we were having a ball. 'Is this what you do every weekend Daddy?' I mean, I hope she likes it, but not every weekend! Also she needed to get back for athletics at 5, so we couldn't really search the place to see where the Sand Plover had gone.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Well, the migs got here eventually..... And at least you managed to ID all of yours correctly!