Sorry for the lack of posts recently. There is a simple reason. Since my last post on the 7th October, I had a week off work. I had no plans and so I just waited for the Autumn rarities to appear, like they always do when I'm working. This year, however, the week I chose to have off was quiet to say the least. By the time Friday came, I'd only visited Westport and nowhere else. It was hard to even conjure up a day trip anywhere, with the only decent birds being in Cornwall, but that would have been a 5hr trip for several quality year ticks.
On Friday 12th October, we headed off for North Wales and Anglesey. As we crossed the Menai Straits, we received news that there were three SURF SCOTERS off Llandulas. We screeched to a halt on the bridge, did a quick mushroom spin and headed back along the A55. We then spent nearly two hours watching a distant flock of c1000 Scoter bobbing about on a heaving sea. This just about summed the week up, but we did have good views of Raven and Chough at South Stack, plus a late Osprey at the Inland Sea.
So it was rather amusing when I returned to work on Monday 15th, and rather predictably, there was a tick for me up in Scotland. We'd dipped the 2010 Flamborough EASTERN OLIVACEOUS when it did a Friday night bunk, and so for another one to be available so soon after was rather nice. However, we had to wait all week before we could go, and we were convinced it wouldn't last until the weekend. Friday morning came, and it was still present, and with a cloudy night forecast, it was all systems go.
There was a full Clayhead turnout for this trip, although Dr Slumberland (CJW) didn't actually need it, as he'd seen the 1966 Scilly bird. We set off at 03-00hrs, had a faultless journey north, and with about ten minutes of the journey left, we received the news that the EOW was indeed still present.
The sat nav slightly misbehaved by trying to take us down a dead end, and I drove past the car park entrance, but we were soon parking up at Kilminning - a large, empty, former picnic/toliet site that had maybe seen better days. It was a great birding area though on the Scottish east coast, and we walked to join the c40 birders already on site. The EOW was frequenting bushes near to the sewage treatment building, and despite the constant hum, we could hear the bird tic-ing away. For such a massive warbler, it was easy to follow as it crashed through the bushes, with branches bending all over the place, and still constantly calling. Unfortunately, we felt it was being harried a little by the long lens boys, and whenever it showed, they would move in for the kill. On one occasion it was feeding quite happily in one bush, but when the long-lensers moved in from the right and left, it soon moved on. Some long-lens boys are quite clueless.
Initial views of the EOW by the green shed
The EOW. Copies available at the usual price