Saturday, 30 October 2010

Back to school !!!!

  Well finally after almost three weeks, the kids are back to school. Coming from down 'sooth',  we find it hard to understand why there needs to be a three week school holiday during October. I think its a throw back to the traditional 'tattie' harvest when all hands were needed to bring in the potatoes. Sula went back last Wednesday, and Rona went on Thursday.

Wednesday 27th October

  After dropping Sula off at school (Rona was in creche for the day) I took a quick look at Westing beach as the wind direction was right for photo opportunities of waves etc and also for gulls feeding in the breakers as the waves broke on the beach. There were a few gulls there, but the light wasn't particularly good so I sat for ten minutes watching Turnstones feeding amongst the seaweed. Amongst the Turnstones was a solitary Purple Sandpiper which was the first I'd seen there this autumn.

 Purple Sandpiper

  Needing to get back home, I headed off back along the road, only to stop suddenly after only a couple of minutes as a brown shape caught my eye coming up the field from the sea. It was an otter, still wet from the sea water and it was in a bit of a hurry. It only hesitated as it crossed the road in front of me, then continuing up across the fields. The pics below are record shots really as they were taken at 1600 ISO.

  After lunch, the weather had brightened up a bit, so I managed to get a look at Valyie  (I was over there to talk to someone about work). There were still one or two Waxwings around but all I managed was some shots of some Starlings. Even these birds can look stunning when the sun shines on their feathers - giving them a total 'makeover'.

  Returning back to Uyeasound later, the sun was shining brightly, making the recently arrived Whooper Swans look stunning against the blue sky - not good for exposures though. The numbers of Whoopers are steadily getting up in to double figures but will probably peak at around 30 or so before some will move further south. Also on the loch were numerous Wigeon, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye and also two female Goosanders.

Whooper Swan

  Thursday and Friday I was busy so I didn't really see much - although there is always something to see around, even if it's not rare or unusual!

Saturday 30th October

  Over night and this morning, we'd had southerly gales and while I didn't expect to find any unusual birds around, I always like going out to watch the wild seas etc. A good indicator of the sea state, is the number of gulls resting on the cliff-tops etc and today was no exception. As soon as I turned down the road to Lamba Ness, the grass in the distance was white with gulls. Earlier in the week I'd seen a 1st winter Glaucous Gull flying around there so there was a good chance it could be resting with the other birds. The birds were fairly close to the road but as always, they were quite wary and so many of them moved a little further away as I approached in the car. Glancing back to my right, a 'white-winged gull' took of from close to the road and landed not too far away, I managed to fire off a few shots before it too moved a little further away. With this terrain, it's pointless trying to get closer as, soon as the door is opened, the birds take off and move away completely,.

Glaucous Gull

  In the afternoon, we all took a family walk to the beautiful beach at Easting. The wind was blowing from the south straight off of the beach and into the breaking waves. I made a bad decision not to take the wide-angle and now regretted it. I tried to get some shots using the camera phone but the results are obviously not the same :(   Whilst there, I was very surprised to get a phone call from Brydon (not surprised for the call, but to get a signal) There was a Grey Phalarope at Haroldswick - I'd either missed it earlier or it had flown in after I'd passed, but I would have to pass on it - at least until later.

  An hour or so later, we all headed down to Haroldswick and there the bird was, still feeding on the surface of the water as the waves broke on the shore. By now the light was going (big rain storm approaching) and so it was again a high ISO (1000 iso only gave me 1/800th of a second exposure speed). I'll take another look tomorrow to see if it's still there and hopefully the weather will be better. 

Grey Phalarope


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

'Missed' again

  Despite spending a fair amount of time looking, getting a decent picture of a Waxwing this year has so far eluded me. There have been several flocks around Unst, but these have been very mobile and not tending to stay in place for very long. So, as far as pictures go, it looks like I'll have to be content (for the time being) with these two from two years ago.

  At the end of last week, I had a look around the north of the island and re-found the Shore Lark at Lamba Ness and also a Short-toed Lark near Haroldswick. The S-t Lark was very flighty and difficult to get anywhere near to - even in the car. For some reason it would spend most of its time when feeding, on the roadside verges. This proved difficult for two reasons, firstly, the bird would be feeding ahead of me which made things difficult for using the camera out of the window and secondly, just when I'd get reasonably close, a car would come along and the bird would then fly off to another piece of road often some distance away. The picture below is a rather large crop. -

Short-toed Lark
 After the quite large numbers of small migrants around over the last few weeks, things are starting to quieten down a bit with most of the smaller birds having moved on. The redpoll, Brambling and Chaffinch numbers have dropped off and so to have the numbers of Robins and Goldcrests. I'm still seeing a few Chiffchaffs around (three yesterday) and amongst these are the occasional 'Tristis' or Siberian Chiffchaff. This race of Chiffchaff are often the latest of the Chiffchaffs to pass through and are now believed by some to be more regular visitors to our shores than previously thought. I'm not going in to the identification here as it would take up a lot of space and also I'm certainly no expert !

'Tristis' Chiffchaff
 Last Friday (22nd Oct) I took the girls with me down south to Lerwick and then on to Sumburgh airport to pick up Catriona who'd been away working. As far as wildlife goes, there wasn't much about although we did have a Red Grouse fly across the road in front of the car as we drove south through South Mainland. I've said it so many times - if fact I reckon it happens every time I go south - something turns up on Unst I've not seen here, this time it was a Blue Tit. I can almost hear the laughter, getting exited about a BLUE TIT ? Well, I think it's good bird when you look at the map where Shetland is, the Blue Tits in my garden down in the Cotswolds looked as though they'd have a hard job of flying across the nearest field, the same goes for Goldcrests. When I suggested that I'd like to get back fairly early on Sunday so I could go and look for it there were almost horrors of disbelief from the rest of the family ! Did I see the bird ? - no I couldn't find it.

  Yesterday (26th Oct), I had a quick visit to Lamba Ness to see if the Shore Lark was still around. On the road down, I past a perched Merlin that took off as I rolled to a standstill. I love these little birds and never get tired of seeing them, despite some days seeing several. This bird took of at great speed and headed off towards the headland, putting up virtually every small (and large) bird in the process. It was now doubtful if I would see the Shore Lark, I was right, no sign of the lark. The one that wintered on Lamba Ness two years ago, would often disappear for a week or more then show up again at the head; maybe this one will ? 
  As I started walking back around to the car, I heard a bird call coming from high over head heading north. It was a sound I wasn't familiar with but it had the tones of a diver species. Scanning the sky above me, I found two divers flying over at quite a height. The sun was lighting up the birds and from what I could see, they both appeared to have very light coloured bills and necks; I'm pretty sure they were both White-billed Divers but sadly I'll never know for sure. If, like I'd first thought, I'd taken my camera with me, I would have identified them for sure - another one that got away. Below are a couple of pictures I took a few years ago one winter of a very confiding White-billed Diver and also a Great Northern Diver that was down on the Hayle Estuary in Cornwall.

White-billed Diver

Great Northern Diver


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A 'mixed bag'

Thursday 14th October

Today the girls and I were heading off down to west Mainland to have long over due work done on the Audi - the front windows were going to be fixed at last ! I'd already told Brydon not to find anything scarce on Unst - something always turns up - so off we headed on the 9.50am ferry. Most of the day was relatively uneventful, took the kids swimming, did some shopping and decided to keep the courtesy car until Monday and pick our car up then. Things changed on the way back as we arrived at Toft however, as a call from Brydon told me he'd found an OBP (Olive-backed Pipit) in Baltasound and was I around to take a picture? OBPs are a true Siberian rarity and, unless either seen well or heard, can be quite difficult to tell apart from Tree Pipit.

It took another hour and a half, before were were back in Baltasound, so quickly changing the car for my Suby (which had my tripod etc in it) we I headed off up to SHE (Setters Hill Estate) to look for this vagrant. It didn't take long as the bird took flight and called as it flew around me in a semi circle and landed again in some boggy grass. The light was pretty horrible - 1600 iso only gave me around 250th second - but at least I got a record shot. The following morning the light was a little better so I headed off there again and soon found the bird in almost the same place. It was very flighty and getting anywhere near close enough was virtually impossible, so again I had to make do with some record shots. Despite being a typical LBJ (little brown job) it did have quite distinctive head markings, so hopefully, my getting to see this bird will stick in my mind, should I be lucky to come across one again.

A large crop of an Olive-backed Pipit

Saturday 16th October

Despite the fact that it was actually quite a nice morning, we spent most of it at home doing 'chores' until that is, I got the 'call' from Brydon to say that there were Waxwings over at Norwick. Rather than go straight away, we headed off about an hour later only to get there too late. When he phoned, he'd had them feeding less than 15ft from him and was getting frame filling head shots and in the sunshine at that. By the time we arrived most of them had moved on and all we had were two briefly on a fence, I grabbed a couple of shaky shots, which it seems, I've now deleted anyway. Despite this, there were still other birds around to enjoy including Redpolls, Blackcaps, Robins, Bramblings and Goldcrests.

Tuesday 19th October

This morning, we had the first sign (weather wise) that winter isn't too far away, it snowed or rather it was 'wet' snow. Yesterday, the wind had veered northerly and had gained strength and the temperature had dropped a few degrees. I had some stuff to do at home today so, after dropping the kids at the creche, I had a quick look at Skaw before returning back home. I'd not been there for a few days as I'd heard that the crofter had 'thrown a wobbly' recently about visiting 'twitchers' walking all over the croft land - as usual, the minority causing a problem for the majority etc etc. Just having a quick walk around the beach area, I saw a Robin and a couple of Redpolls. Heading back to the car, a bird flew out from some dead vegetation - bright pink breast, white rump, black head etc, it was a stunning male Bullfinch. Bullfinches are scarce migrants here, with varying numbers turning up from time to time, but they are certainly not common. At first the  bird was quite flighty, but it soon settled down to feed again and allowed me to get quite close. When I lived in the Cotswolds, Bullfinches were often very shy and difficult to get close to, here because of hunger, it's a bit easier. But saying that, thought has to be given to the bird and not harass it in the name of picture taking, its life may depend on it...........


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A new week, another good bird

Saturday 9th October

  After the report of the Pallas's Warbler at Skaw yesterday, I thought I'd head over fairly early to check the place out. Just after I arrived, three visiting birders who'd been staying at Northdale arrived and told me that the bird had been seen flying over the hill yesterday afternoon so I didn't bother to head up the burn and look for it. On the way back, I passed a small flock of 13 Barnacle Geese feeding near the Haroldswick heritage centre. I've seen them here before, but not as confiding as these.

Barnacle Geese

   Later on, I called in at Haligarth to try and find the Dusky Warbler. The bird was still there but was heard more often than seen, so no photos sadly. The rest of the morning was spent starting to fit the new exhaust to my Suby', unfortunately I couldn't finish it due to some bolts that were firmly rusted in place which would require an angle grinder.

Sunday 10th October

  Today was to be a relatively bird free day as we were going down to Lerwick to take my better half Catriona to the Northlink ferry as she was going away to work in Ethiopia for a week.

 On the return back, we had a wait of 45 minutes for the ferry at Toft which gave a me a bit of time to watch the Kittiwakes that use the terminal to roost on. I think that of the commoner ones, Kittiwakes are my favourite gull.


 Monday 11th October

This evening was the first sign of an aurora over Unst this autumn. I check the website on a regular basis for predictions or the likelihood on seeing the northern lights and last night was a good forecast for the northern hemisphere. Around 8.30pm I looked out north from here and despite the thin cloud cover could see a green glow in the sky. The main problem from our house is that we look towards the street lighting of Baltasound and on anything but a very clear night, there can be light pollution. Here's to many clear nights this winter as there is a prediction of good auroras this winter.

Tuesday 12th October

  Last night on Nature in Shetland there was a report of a Shore Lark on Unst at Lamba Ness. I saw one here (in fact it over wintered) a couple of years ago and managed to get a few pics but was never really happy with them. I was hoping that one would show up again but wasn't really expecting one this early in the autumn, so last night I was REALLY hoping it would remain over night. So first port of call today was to be Lamba Ness. Parking the car at the top, we did my normal circuit and drew a blank. Continuing on around the cliffs, I heard a call and then saw a palish bird flash past us and land 50 or 60yds away - it was the Shore Lark. Carefully retreating with my girls, we went back to the car so I could get my camera and tripod. I did briefly consider the bean bag, but then thought it would be too low to the ground - there are lots of tall spiky bits of grass that I would be trying to focus through. I soon relocated the bird, but it was feeding very quickly and was covering a lot of ground. Unfortunately there was very little in the way of cover for me to approach it, only a few hollows and the occasional small rock, it wasn't going to be easy.
Finally after about half an hour of crawling over the wet grass, I got as close as I dare (if I over did it, the bird would fly as the cliff edge was not far behind it) Moving on my stomach and moving the camera+500+tripod was not easy and I'm now paying for it with a bad back ! Looking back, I should of attached the tripod head to the 'frying pan' which would of allowed me to slide the camera set up over the grass with relative ease but still give me a low view point. The pics below are still 50% crops but as I said, I dared not try and get any closer.

Shore Lark

  After seeing this stunner, we headed down to Skaw for a quick look but 'all' that was there was around 80 Snow Buntings (still good to see none the less) a Robin and a Chiffchaff. Robins are not common birds on Shetland and we usually only see them in spring and autumn - and at the moment there are quite a few about (probably less than a dozen on north Unst) Unlike the ones in the gardens down south, these birds aren't quite so approachable, behaving like their continental cousins and are secretive and are quick to take flight. Fortunately today however, this one remained for about 10 seconds.

  Passing back through Haroldswick, we saw 3 winter plumaged Slavonian Grebes and a female Longtailed Duck in the bay, although they were too far out to photograph.

  I heard today that Brydon had seen a Snow Goose on Fetlar and that it was last seen heading north. Lets hope it heads across to this island as it would be a 'first' for Unst and also a new bird for me.


Friday, 8 October 2010

A Good Finish

  Today my friend Tim was going home and I was taking him down to Sumburgh Airport. The plan was to maybe take in a bit of birding on the way down and to also call in to Lerwick to do a bit of shopping and also to hopefully collect a new exhaust for my Subaru.

   Of the birds that were around on Mainland, we decided to go and try for a Citrine Wagtail at Sandwick on South Mainland. It was to be a bit of a wild goose chase (or rather a wild wagtail chase!) as we didn't really know where abouts it was and the landscape there was largely wet, boggy fields and lots of it. We soon decided that it was not going to be a useful way to spend the time and headed off over towards Loch of Spiggie.

  Driving south down the road from Bigton towards Spiggie, Tim suddenly yelled 'GREAT GREY SHRIKE !' Sure enough, there was one, flying along parallel and at eye level to the car - what a cracker . Parking up, we then spent 20 minutes trying to relocate the bird, but to no avail. Carrying on, Tim turned on his phone to check his bird alert texts. Seconds later, the messages came up , ' G G Shrike and Redflanked Bluetail at Geosetter south Mainland'. That was 5 minutes back up the road and we had just seen the shrike.

  By the time we got back, there were a number of people there but the bird hadn't been seen for 20 minutes or so. Despite extensive searching of the gully, the bird seemed to have disappeared. While most of the folk had descended back down the hill/ditch/gully, Tim and I sat down and checked the place where it had last been seen. Thankfully, Tim saw it again below us and I quickly set up the camera on the tripod. Within minutes the rest of the birders had come back up, but fortunately for me, the bird came out in the gully just below me and sat on a bare branch for what seemed like minutes but was probably only 30 seconds or so. Due to the dull lighting below me, I used a high ISO (1600) but was too high really, but it did give me 800 sec shutter speed.

  The angle of view could have been better - it was probably an 80 degree slope below me - and it would have been nice to have had the sun on it, but I was glad just to see it. Once the rest of the birders/twitchers/photographers had gathered around, the bird flew on up the gully to a spot about 70 or 80 yards away. Rather than follow them like sheep, I stayed put thinking that the bird would come back down as there was more cover here - and after 5 minutes away, this it did.

  I was still in a fairly good position and managed a few more shots before deciding to 'call it a day' as also there were now more people arriving. After feeling a bit 'robbed' a couple of weeks back on Unst - having seen one of these very briefly and then it being re-found a few days later by visiting birders, I was pretty happy to get to see this bird very well indeed.

Redflanked Bluetail

  Our elation was soon to be deflated when we tried to leave in the car. I had parked on the grass to avoid parking in a passing place, bad move. The front wheels were not getting any traction and we were firmly stuck (how I wished I was in the Suby'), fortunately a number of the guys had also returned to their cars. Tongue firmly in cheek, I asked who'd been up to see the Unst Lanceolated Warbler ? When a number of them said yes, I said 'great stuff, we found it, can we have a push please ?' Even with 8 guys pushing, the car still didn't move and only when I attached a tow rope to a 4x4 did we get out - many thanks guys.

  After that, we thought it would be a good idea to go straight to the airport, and this we did. I think I've mentioned it before, when ever I go off of Unst, something good turns up. This happened again today, this time it was a Dusky Warbler in Haligarth and a Pallas's Warbler at Skaw. The latter bird is one I've always wanted to see, lets hope it's around tomorrow.


Thursday, 7 October 2010

A Red Letter Day

  As I mentioned in my previous post, I have had a good friend on mine staying with us this week who is also a very keep birder. All week we have been going out throughout the island looking for migrants with a varying amount of success. Apart from looking for any rare migrants, we were looking for the commoner birds which aren't so easy to find down south such as pure bred Rock Doves (very common here), several races of Redpoll and also birds like Longtailed Duck and divers etc. There were a number of birds we found - and then lost - including brief views of a probable Richard's Pipit, Bluethroat and frustratingly short views of several unidentified warblers. We have also had cracking views of a flock of around 100 Snow Buntings, large flocks of Lapland Buntings to name just a few.

  Yesterday morning, we headed over to Skaw at around 9.30am. Firstly we checked the beach and only found a Wheatear and this was then followed by a couple of Blackcaps and a Whinchat. Heading around the back of the croft, I then noticed a small dark warbler at the side of one of the sheep pens behind some foliage. The bird certainly looked different and when it ran like a mouse, I though it was certainly something special. The bird flew up and then landed again in one of the pens but when we looked over in to it the bird was nowhere to be seen. We then spent almost an hour trying to relocate the bird but to no avail. Because of the behavior and the colour, my gut feeling was that it was maybe of the Grasshopper Warbler type but maybe we would never know. Later that day, I mentioned it to Brydon and thought that was that, how wrong was I ! Later that evening, he phoned me to say that he'd told one of his tour leaders (Martin Garner) about it and he'd been over to try and find it and he succeeded ! Basically after much deliberation they concluded that the bird was a Lanceolated Warbler. You can read about Martin's identification here .

  This morning we were going to head off over to Skaw to try and catch up with the bird again. The problem today however was that we didn't have any transport as my car was off the road. A quick text early this morning to Dougie got us a lift over at 9am. As we arrived, it was clear that it was still there due to a small number of cars and several mini buses. Within minutes of arriving we were watching this rare bird from northeast Asia feeding at he back of one of the barns. Unfortunately the light wasn't particularly good for photography but just seeing the bird was enough. This species has become a bit of a Fair Isle specialty with the vast majority of British records occurring there, so, to get one away from there is also pretty special. The first one below was in the shade of the barn/wall and the second was in better light but is obscured by foliage.

Lanceolated Warbler

The rest of the day was spent walking back from Skaw (about 7 miles or so) birdwatching on the way and generally enjoying the beautiful sunny October day - which was warm at time ! As well as lots of the regular birds, we saw another Little Bunting, 8 Pinkfooted Geese and I had brief view of a Bluethroat in Haroldswick. My friend Tim goes home tomorrow and I hope, he goes home happy having seen a number of good birds.


Saturday, 2 October 2010

A Good Few Days

  After the good trip to Fetlar on Tuesday, I was looking forward to the next few days as I had several friends visiting us here on Unst. The first was Geoff from the Cotswolds and his brother Andrew (who was visting from Australia). I had bumped in to them already during my visit to Fetlar when I went to Funzie and was now going to go out for half a day with them on Thursday. Wednesday was to be a work day - rearranged after Monday was such a nice day and Wednesday was supposed to be rather wet.

Thursday 30th September

  It's always nice showing people around Unst and going to some of my favourite places and seeing  the reactions when we visit the various locations. Tie this in with looking for birds as well and it makes it very enjoyable time - weather permitting ! We didn't see many birds today, but we did see Lapland Buntings, Snow Buntings, Redpolls, Bramblings and a probable Icterine Warbler at Skaw. Also at Skaw, we had 3 Siskins that were very confiding and allowed us within 5ft. Unfortunately the light level was pretty poor which meant I was shooting at ISO 1250 just to get me a shutter speed of 1/160 second - not fast enough to freeze their movement as they fed, so I had to slightly prejudge the moment when they were relatively still.

  After lunch, we headed down to Lund, prior to me having to do the school run. Lund was rather quiet after the last week or so as now the wind was coming from the SE, the bay was slightly sheltered. In the nettles behind the beach, we found a couple of Goldcrests feeding, a Willow Warbler and a Robin. This bird gave us the run around for a short while as it ducked and dived through the nettles and only gave up its identity when it finally sat on the wall for a brief moment.

In the evening, Catriona and I had one of those rare occasions out without children in tow. We went for a very pleasant meal with Geoff and Andrew at one of the local eating houses - and very good it was too !

Friday 1st October

Today, Geoff and Andrew were heading off back down to Mainland before heading back to the deep south and I was going to Lerwick to pick up my friend Tim who had arrived for a week. No trip to Lerwick takes place with out the obligatory 'chores', so, once I'd met up with Tim, it was off around town at a fast pace to get the jobs done.

  Over at Esherness in north west Mainland, were a couple of birds we thought we'd take a look at, these being Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Buff-bellied Pipit. It wasn't quite that simple however as we also had to keep an eye on the weather. The forecast for later in the day was for the wind to increase to a force 9 gale from the south east - good for blowing the birds to Shetland but not good for getting us back to Unst ! It took us about 40 minutes to get firstly to Tangwick and to try  for the pipit. On arriving at the location, even if we'd wanted to open the car doors, it was very difficult - the wind was pretty strong. As we sat there, a pipit flew in to the place I'd been told where may show. Due to the wind, the vegetation blowing around and the fact it was really keeping its head down, I must admit we didn't positively identify it - it could have been anything! Despite this bird being rarer than the sandpiper, I was looking more forward to catching up with the B-b Sandpipers (there was in fact 3 there). Arriving at the lighthouse car park, the wind almost took the doors off - not good for trying to photograph birds in the open.

  In a very short time, we located the birds, methodically feeding across the short cropped grass in to the wind. We circled around them, firstly to get the light behind us and also as this would get the wind behind me to help shield the camera set up from movement by the very strong gusts. Due to the wind strength, I had to up the ISO to give me enough shutter speed to also try and stop any movement of the lens etc. The birds were pretty confiding and two of them came to a frame filling distance - which in fact was too close using the 500.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

  As we knelt down watching them, we saw two men walking up towards us some distance away - it was Geoff and Andrew - who had decided to check these birds out as well. After half an hour, Tim and I headed off and fortunately didn't get stuck on Mainland ! Getting back to Unst around 3.30pm, we decided to 'twitch' a Red-breasted Flycatcher that had been seen during the day just a few hundred yards from our house. We saw the bird briefly, but by now the light was pretty bad - maybe tomorrow ?

Saturday 2nd October

  Well, what a night , The gale came through and with it hopefully a few wind blown migrants ! Just after 7am, we headed off over to Skaw as on the web last night it had said there'd been a Redflanked Bluetail and also a Bluethroat there. Not much in the way of birds there but what raging sea, it was boiling with 'anger'. It turned out that it was Skaw on Whalsay, not Unst - not my mistake but the website. Going up to Lamba Ness, it was more to see the raging sea than expect to see any birds, so not staying long it was on to Norwick. Parking by the beach next to a mini bus, I presumed it was a bird tour, but who ? Noticing on the seat a particular brand of jacket, I knew it was Brydon so at least if there was anything about, they would have found it. Sure enough, not long after first speaking, one of his group found a Little Bunting in a tattie crop with a large flock of Bramblings. The bird showed well which enabled us to good views and also pictures.

Little Bunting
  The rest of the morning was spent looking for (in vain as it turned out ) the Arctic Redpoll which had been around the Norwick/Northdale area. I'd seen them several times but Tim wanted one for his 'visit list'. We saw plenty of other Redpolls and also more Bramblings,, Lap Bunts' and also a few Snow Buntings, but no Arctics'. After lunch, we went to look for the RB Fly' again just along the road. The bird was still there but I think due to the wind, it was keeping to the shelter of the small stand of trees which made picture taking virtually impossible - I don't like using flash on birds. It did show very briefly before darting back in to the foliage, so no apologies for the quality - maybe tomorrow ?

Red-breasted Flycatcher

  All in all, the last few days have been really enjoyable, some really nice birds and good company and not bad weather - even if, at times, it's a job to stand up in the wind !