Saturday, 22 September 2012

No birds, red choppers.

OK, a bit of a catch up here, apologies for the gaps in normal service.
Yesterday was a day of high expectation as we were getting "favourable winds". This isn't a medical term but it means that instead of being pounded by strong south-westerlies which don't tend to blow in the rare birds, we were going to get a bit of easterlies that can bring birds from the continent. So early yesterday morning we were up and about early searching for rare birds that might have dropped in during the night. After covering every inch of the island, thrashing every bush and raking around every nettle and thistle bed the anticipation waned and wild optimism gradually gave way to a more realistic, rational view that though we haven't found a "mega-rare" we still had seen some nice birds. 
 A couple of lesser whitethroats had dropped in, probably Scandinavian birds and so were evidence that some birds had made it across the North Sea

 Bonxies seemed to be on the move with several heading west over the island into the Forth.

 A common rosefinch was probably pick of the birds, though this individual gave no hint to why it got its name.  Other birds of note include 5 goosanders, an arctic skua and a late swift.

More easterlies are expected over the next week so we will no doubt go through the same roller coaster of expectation, realisation and rationalisation .
Today another big bird disturbed the sleep some of the later risers. The Northern Lighthouse Board's maintenance ship, the Pharos appeared with its smart red helicopter to resupply the Mainlight with diesel and water and take off all the rubbish. It does this once each year at a time least likely to cause disturbance to wildlife and visitors. So for the morning we had the added spectacle of watching some amazing flying as the chopper zoomed in a dropped off containers right next to the back door of the lighthouse.

 The island's second grey seal pup of the season didn't seemed too upset by all the noise.

The airlift was finished by early afternoon, the ground crew were ferried back to the boat and they set off to fix a buoy at Montrose letting the island return to peace and quiet.

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