I succumbed and went to Holy Island yesterday to see the Brown Shrike that's been there for three days, we enjoyed good but distant views of the bird which should be making it's way down the Pacific coast of Asia or somewhere now. The 'supporting cast' was canny too - a Red-Flanked Bluetail and a Dusky Warbler in the village. I don't enjoy twitching but it was nice to see some people you don't get to see very often as well as some great birding. It was too busy for me though. There was a handful of Red-flanked Bluetails in the county this weekend - a skeleton I need to lay to rest at Druridge after screwing one up a few years ago.
After my 'away-day' I was back on the patch this morning with Janet to do some ringing. Conditions were good but we were disappointed to only catch 29 new birds. For an Autumn day, after easterly winds, not to catch ANY thrushes, Robins or Chaffinches is unheard of.
We did catch a species that we've never caught before on the patch. As I approached our 'bridge' net, a flash of iridescent blue shot along the channel that links the Budge fields to the Big Pool, I'd disturbed a Kingfisher which must've been fishing for minnows. The channel goes into a bramble thicket so I didn't expect it would get very far and I was right, it doubled-back and straight into our net.
Kingfishers aren't common on the patch, averaging one very three years, but I've seen them in four out of the past five years, so maybe they are becoming less-scarce?
The usual 'Autumn' birds made up the rest of the catch. A couple of Blackcaps, one of which was carrying a lot of fat, two Bullfinch and three Siskins were unusual.
|First-winter male Blackcap
Between net-rounds we saw a Lesser Whitethroat making its way along the Whitebeams, a Yellow-browed Warbler and most unusual a Green Woodpecker! It was picked up heading north by Welsh Joe - "What's that? It's flying like a woodpecker" because it was a woodpecker, a Green Woodpecker. It kept going north until it was out-of-sight. Only my second-ever on the patch after a fly through (also north ) on 7th October 2017. A Great-spotted Woodpecker was hanging around, calling all for most of the morning, but we didn't catch it.
I also did the WeBS count today. Teal numbers have picked up to 121 and Wigeon to 60, waders were scarce - 97 Lapwing, 36 Curlew and a Redshank.
We packed-up just after 2pm.