Friday 23 April 2010

Waders and Wheatears

Yesterday, I got a call from the local ranger to say that he'd seen a Rock Pipit of the Scandinavian race up in the north of the island so, with an hour before the afternoon school run, I thought I'd go and have a look. Unfortunately as is often the case, birds unlike public transport don't run to timetables and this bird hadn't hung about - or if it had I couldn't find it ! I sat down on the rocks in between the snow showers and watched a pair of wheatears feeding amongst the boulders. They are one of my favourite passerines and had probably recently arrived or were just passing through to travel on even further north.

Male Wheatear

Like a lot of migrants, at first there are just a handful around and then as if by magic, there are scores of them all over the island.

Checking the watch, I had to leave so as to be in Uyeasound to pick my eldest up from school. As I passed Haroldswick, I saw three Black-tailed Godwits feeding in a grass field close to the road and fortunately for me, there was a small track leading off which allowed me to get even closer. The birds were fairly unconcerned by the presence of my car and apart from looking up briefly they continued to feed which is always a good sign. I did wonder if they were part of the 8 that I'd seen the other day at Lamba Ness.

Black-tailed Godwit

Checking the  watch again, I really did have to get down to the south of the island now - I just hoped nothing showed up on the way down !

Today, I thought I'd take another look at Norwick again just in case the 'littoralis' Rock Pipit was around. Passing through the north end of Haroldswick, I was surprised to see a Common Snipe feeding on the roadside verge. The reason I was surprised, was that it is usually when the fields and boggy areas are frozen that I've seen them feeding there. I rolled the car to a stop (window already open and bean bag in place) in the hope it didn't fly off. The bird could obviously see me but did really take much notice, even when I put the long lens out of the window.

'Grab' shot, full frame,, 500+1.4ex

Once I'd got a couple of record shots, I tried some more to get the framing right - which isn't always easy from the constraints of a car.

virtually full frame

Alas no show of the pipit , just a Pied Wagtail, a 'normal' Rock Pipit and two Wheatears. Also there were two noisy Redshanks and a number of Turnstones who were turning into their breeding plumages.

Returning back to Baltasound, I was very surprised to see an Otter crossing a field in broad daylight which was several hundred yards from any water. Unfortunately it saw my car and fled back in the direction from where it came.

Passing back along the road to our house, the Brent Geese were still there and one was feeding close to the road. Window down, out of gear and rolling to a stop, I managed a number of pictures of the bird as it walked slowly back towards the waters edge.

Brent Goose


1 comment:

WPATW said...

Good mix of species Rob