Monday, 21 May 2012


The winds were from the north east and the rain fell on Thursday and Friday. There was no field work. By the evening  the rain had stopped. Mark came in to say he'd seen a Bluethroat on the south of the Island.

Bluethroats are small birds that are not so distantly related to Robins. They breed in Scandinavia. They do not breed in Britain but they are a scarce spring migrant along the east coast. The Isle of May sees this species almost annually. The males have a lovely 'cornflower blue' throat with a red spot in the middle.

I missed the bird that Mark saw but on Saturday morning I was going over to pick the luggage up for the Bird Observatory. I saw a plump bird with a short tail and a strong facial pattern jump out of a ditch. A Bluethroat! The bird ran around feeding quickly and was very difficult to photograph. It flew away towards the main light and disappeared. I proceeded to go down to the Lowlightlight and when I got to Horse Hole and the same happened. Another female Bluethroat! And I had not even got off the quadbike!

The Bluethroats skulks behind a rock

A different bird was ringed in the afternoon

Out in the open enjoying the early evening sunshine

Later in the evening I was escorting our new volunteer Lucie to the Lighthouse . On our way back I found a female Red-backed Shrike. Another scarce migrant to the east coast. We enjoyed watching the bird catching flies and flying from stalk to stalk. Then the ringers caught it.

A female Yellow Wagtail dropped in to add more colour to the proceedings.

There were a lot of common migrants to see. Those lucky enough to be out on the boat on Sunday were treated to a selection of these birds including one regular who was delighted by not only seeing but photographing his first Bluethroat.

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