Sunday, November 09, 2008

Full of Eastern Promise

Friday 7th November 08

With some good weather... actually quite appalling weather, but from the east - I sacked the papers, as the Punkbirder parlance would have it and went out for a walk in the wind at Newtonhill. A pretty stiff southeasterly, as it happened. And immediately a brownish
Common Chiffchaff hanging around with 2 Goldcrests in the bushes at the top of the track spoke to me of promises of eastern delights with a hint of Ukhtinskaya gulags. Unfortunately the other birds I saw subsequently spoke to me of back garden peanuts and wasted afternoons. Highlights were a party (presumably the same party as last week) of at leasrt 6 Long-tailed Tits in the bushes down the track, and another Common Chiffchaff. Both Chiffies called and neither was Siberian sounding, tbh. So in spite of Pallas's Warblers at Blackdog and Bridge of Don, there was nothing new here today.

Sunday 9th November 08.

Torrential rain and wind from the south last night. The weather is playing my song. Initially very quiet, with small numbers of
Coal Tits, Goldcrests, Blue Tits in the gorse etc along the burn. I wandered up what from now on I am compelled to call 'Honeypot Lane', the path between the Mill and the playpark. This is where the Wood Warbler and Yellow-browed Warblers were earlier this autumn. And now... Pallas's Leaf Warbler. Above my head initially, as soon as I saw the dumpy shape and the silky white underparts I knew what it was going to be, and then watched it for 20 minutes as it fed among the sycamores and coming down into the bracken to within 3 m of me, much as the Y-bW had done. Cripple cripple. It flew down into the Mill garden to allow me to make notes then it flew back up with a couple of Goldcrests for round two. Quite a lemony bird - green up top with a fresh clean yellow super etc and white covert bars. When it flew between branches or hovered in front of sycamore leaves it was showing off its creamy yellow band-rump. It went off down the bank and I thought it was worth my while walking 5 m further to check the bushes at the bird table in the Retreat garden. There was a Goldcrest and a Coal Tit and then who should pop its head out than the Pallas's Warbler, but it couldn't be the same one and this was actually a slightly different colour, with a kind of creme brulee face - warmer super and even darker green on top. There were two birds, and I kept on this one for 5 minutes before checking that bird one - lemoney cricket - was still present down the bank. Top hole.

Bird 1

So I phoned them in to BirdGuides, and continued down the track to the beach. There had been a few new arrivals and the place was hoaching with Common Chaffinches, Blackbirds and European Robins. And the party of Long-tailed Tits, 10 of them today. When I checked the BirdGuides website to savour the Pallas's glory(!) I noticed that also mentioned was a Hume's Leaf Warbler and Firecrest from Muchalls, yesterday afternoon! wtf!!! I mean wtf!!!!!! Nothing like getting the news out is there? :-) Anyway, worth a look, so I went down to Muchalls, calling in at the allotments, though it remains stubbornly Radde's free there. 'In the gully between the railwayy viaduct and the sea', said the BirdGuides news on Humey & Firey ltd., which should be quite easy as thereare only two trees, one willow and 1 alder, both head high, in there. No birds at all, and very few (Robins, tits) in the valley above the viaduct. No birders either.

Still, not to worry. Pallas's Warbler regains its place as commoner than Common Treecreeper in Newtonhill, and I got some cracking views of the bird so good an international committee of the UN actually named this blog after it. But that's a story for another day.

btw don'tcha just love it when this happens.

And finally...

1 comment:

Alastair said...

Gripped off again Martin. Nice find.