Monday, 8 October 2012

Isle of May Mega Tick

It was the most stunning sunrise this morning on the island. On mornings like this all you want to do is just get out and enjoy the experience so before 7 I was out to take in the spectacular pinks and purples of the sunrise. After checking Kirkhaven for seal pups, on a whim I headed out along Holymans Road with the idea of going across to Rona at the north end of the island. Still not being fully awake I saw a large bird flying north along the side of the island in the half light, looked back to the path and then did a huge comedy double take closely followed by an air punch. Not only was the bird big, it was also an Isle of May mega tick, a real Isle of May rarity, only 9 or 10 sightings in the last 25 years, something that doesn't come along very often and a lot of people including me need it for their list. I was on a "hot streak" having already found this autumn other Isle of May rarities like tree sparrow and greater spotted woodpecker. In the rush to get my camera out and lens changed (typically I had the wide angle on for sunrises, not the telephoto) I nearly strangled myself there and then, but eventually managed to get everything out and pointing in the right direction. The light was awful, the bird a long way away but I  thought I would get something as proof of identification. But then the bird came down and settled on the sea and even better started to gently swim towards the Middens. I gave thanks and scuttled off along Holymans in a gait only used by twtichers overloaded with equipment. After much use of fieldwork skills I got into position and managed to get the all important pictures. The bird was a star, both confiding, obliging and it showed well as well and I was sure of my identification. But then I had the problem of whether to release the information, do I put it out there ?  Would there be a rush to see it? Well first I had to think of my collegue, I knew that he needed it for his list. Jeremy was still in his pit and I decided to scuttle again, all the way back to Fluke Street to yell through the door. "Mega tick, get out here" I hoarsely shouted and 10 mins later Jeremy stumbled along the path, doing up his trousers. tripping over his laces and trying to get his eyes working. Just in time. After just a few minutes of feasting our eyes on the beauty it took off and carried on its journey north.  We were both still in a state of shock as we headed back down to Kirkhaven to meet the builders delivery boat coming in and help unload.
 "What you been up to this morning already ?" asked Tom the boatman.
"Out before dawn birding, just had an Isle of May mega tick " I replied.
"So what was it? " said Tom the boatman, suddenly quite excited.
" MUTE SWAN" I said proudly, as I basked in the glory.

1 comment:

  1. I should have played it cool and stayed in bed. I saw the bird pass the South Ness while I was emptying the moth trap.