Monday, 7 October 2013

Autumnal gems

Back off to sea in a few days so just enough time to undertake a final twitch and intense birding session  before bag packing and airport mayhem. First stop was the Frankfield loch in Stepps, Glasgow. I arrived at 08:40ish and having eventually found somewhere to park I walked the short distance to the loch and started working through the ducks. Some 10 minutes later I was on the drake blue-winged teal- a smashing duck looking much nicer than I had expected after its 'eclipse' phase. The white crescent was particularly neat and striking and the bird was feeding within a nice flock of teal and a few shoveler which provided good comparisons. A group of 12 snipe sat out in the open were also worthy of scoping as they jostled for a position on a length of semi-submerged planking.

Next stop, St. Abbs in the borders- I really wanted to see a potential lifer in the shape of the Sardinian warbler that had been frequenting the scrub at the north end of the Mire loch. I was not disappointed- after 2.5 hours of carefully watching the scrub, the bird eventually popped out allowing good views for 30 seconds or so- much to the obvious relief of the 20 or so birders that had been waiting - for the most part, very patiently. Of course as is the usual theme at any twitch these days some birders exhibited very little field craft sense- talking loudly, clattering tripods, walking in front of the gathered crowd etc. Probably best not to dwell on the bad manners of a few for too long! On the upside I met some really nice, pleasant birders at the site, who readily swapped info. and added to the overall enjoyment of the occasion.

Having enjoyed the incredibly handsome sard. I spent the rest of the time birding the area- a really nice site to look for migrants and I enjoyed a couple of yellow-browed warblers, a spotted flycatcher, two redstarts and a number of willow warblers and chiffchaffs. I saw a ybw fly briefly between the tops of the trees and in the strong sunlight I thought I had a glimpse of a yellow rump- I immediately thought of  Pallas's warbler but I wasn't sure and could not relocate the bird so kept quiet about that-damn! I need a Pallas's too!

Following a night in b n b I headed off for the 300 mile drive back to Ullapool- a long drive but worth every mile. Time to pack my seabag..........

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