Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Working with Redpolls

  Well not actually working with Redpolls, to be more precise, watching Redpolls while I worked !

  Heading off at around 7.30am, it was a lovely sunny morning and flat calm on Balta Sound. Along the shore road near Buness House, a group of 8 Common Snipe fed amongst the seaweed at the tideline and most unusually, they didn't fly off when I slowed to a stop - although they weren't that close.

Common Snipe

  Going on to work at Norwick this morning on a new roof, I arrived a bit early and so took a walk along the road to where I could hear some Redpolls calling.  What I hadn't bargained for was that the midges would be out - and the midge stuff for some reason had solidified in the bottle. For half an hour or so I followed the birds around a couple of small fields as they fed on seeds. They were really confiding and on occasions had the Arctic Redpolls sitting less than 6 feet from me. As well as the two Arctic Redpolls, there were at least a dozen Common Redpolls of the Greenland race and a Redsart, Blackcap and two Willow Warblers.

Common Redpoll (Greenland race)

Same species (virtually full frame)

Arctic Redpoll

Willow Warbler 

  I have certainly had worse days at work and then later having them feeding of seeds just below the scaffolding, made me forget all about the midges ! During the migration period way down south, some call it the 'Scilly season' - as in the Isles of Scilly where loads of twitchers/birders go at this time of year, up here I have heard it called the 'silly season' - but without the 'c' ! Today was the first day this autumn I'd seen cars with birders in from off the island - the 'silly season' has started !


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