Thursday, September 17, 2015

Another Bonelli's?!?

Didn't have long this am, but there were a few phylloscs and the spotted flycatcher at Shite Lane this am, with a male Blackcap down Marsh Lane. Old Spoons did the business today tho, with Galley's second Western Bonelli's Warbler in 10 days!! I got up for a few glimpses of it late morning and it was a right fecker to see! Clearly a duller, less green-fringed bird, although still very clean white underneath, smaller than willows and greyer about the head - wouldn't have been happy with the views of last weeks one hadn't given itself up!

Western Bonelli's Warbler both courtesy C Cronin
As if that wasn't enough excitement, I jammed a flyover, calling yellow wagtail over the house after lunch - less than annual here, and its been ages since my last one! Happy days!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Another rare, another planet

Although the wind had swung round to the west overnight, it still felt like there had to be more out there, if the success of yesterday evening was anything to go on. Would the current white-hot streak at Galley continue?

Up with the lark then, followed by the usual tramp about in the half dark until it eventually gets light enough to see properly!

Bleary early morning ear
More wheatears were in evidence at least, with at least a dozen booting around out on the head. A couple of  willow warblers and whinchats too, plus the spotted flycatcher still at Shite Lane and a few flyover siskins for the year too.

However, it was Old Spoons that turned up the goods today, with a fine ortolan bunting in the mahoosive beet field down the top lane. Coincidentally the very same field where I had my first one at Galley back in Sept 2010. Time was against me this morning, but a hoof around this pm proved fruitful, once I twigged that the bird I was looking at wasn't a meadow pipit! The old "should have brought the camera" adage also crossed my mind, so here's a record shot courtesy of Old Spoons himself.

Ortolan, Galley Head, Courtesy C Cronin

Friday, September 11, 2015

Abusing modern technology

It rained all day today. Until I got a call about a lesser whitethroat on Galley whereupon I looked out of the window and realised it had stopped raining and was clearing nicely. But I was saddled at home with 2 kids! Thrashing for migs was not a viable option! Nooooooooooooooooooo!

Luckily some quick thinking involving a tablet, a laptop and the promise of chips on the way home got us out the door and up the road. No sign of the lesser whitey but I was just watching a load of finches flitting around on the edge of a weedy field when a rosefinch popped up out of nowhere, and sat there eyeballing me! Full fat patch tick! And number 200 for the patch! Amazeballs!

Managed to call Old Spoons without dropping my phone or losing the bird, so he saw it too. Sadly instead of posing for a photo, it suddenly flew up, circled a few times calling, before disappearing northwards into the distance! Brief but brilliant!

There was enough battery in the electrical devices to give me a few minutes at Shite Lane before heading to the chippy. It seemed pretty quiet at first, but then I found a small flock of warblers, containg at least 6 willow warblers, blackcap and best of all yesterday's garden warbler, which I'd failed to catch up with. Only my second at Galley in 11 years - outrageous! They aren't particularly common, but I do seem to have a knack of missing the ones that do turn up. Not today though - cashed in completely!

The chips were good too!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Big score at Shite Lane!!

Had an hour this am before I was supposed to go to work so I decided to chance my arm with the light easterlies overnight. Out round the head at first light for 2 wheatears, while a skove down the top lane produced a late swift. Not much doing then, but I still had Shite Lane to go...

Quiet enough there too at first, before a weird phyllosc call caught my ear - kind of like a willow warbler "hoo-eet" call but higher pitched and thinner, kind of like someone doing a bad impression of a willow warbler. Views of the bird proved scarily interesting, clearly a phyllosc, with a pale grey head, a wide supercilium, greeny fringes on the primaries, dark legs and really clean pale grey/white underneath. When a willow warbler hopped up beside it, it was clearly bigger! "Help" I thought, "a Bonelli's Warbler", before ringing and texting frantically! By the time other folks arrived, I'd heard that the call fitted Western, as Eastern should give a "chip" type call apparently.

A couple of folks heard the call & got on the bird again briefly a short time later, and it showed well briefly again this pm, but was seemingly elusive for the rest of the time. Hopefully it'll behave better tomorrow!