Sunday, 9 October 2016

A great day on Holy Island...

Saturday proved to be one of those classic days on Holy Island with loads of common birds and a few more interesting species. We arrived before the sun had risen so waited in the car for a while before looking around the village. As soon as it got light the large numbers of Goldcrests and Robins on the island were impressive, and we soon heard our first Yellow-browed Warbler and Brambling of the day. On reaching the Vicar's Garden another Yellow-browed Warbler was showing and a late Sand Martin flew over.

After this we walked down the Straight Lonnen, seeing an extremely smart Great Grey Shrike and 2 Black-tailed Godwits just to the east. My dad also found a mobile Red-breasted Flycatcher in one of the elders beside the path. We kept on walking and another Red-breasted Flycatcher was in the willows at the north end of the Straight Lonnen, with this bird being much more obliging, showing down to just a couple of metres and calling a lot. A Short-eared Owl also flew over.

We had a thorough search of the dunes around the Quarry and Excavations but were unable to find yesterday's Little Bunting. However another Yellow-browed Warbler was feeding in some tiny hawthorns, 2 Redstarts were around Chare Ends and a Goldcrest landed on my tripod leg! We then heard news of a Pallas's Warbler in the Vicar's Garden so headed there next.

On arrival the garden was a hive of activity with numerous Goldcrests, several Blackcaps and a Garden Warbler. It took a while, but eventually the Pallas's Warbler was relocated and we got some brief but good views of this stunning bird. We waited another hour to see if the bird reappeared with little success but two Yellow-browed Warblers appeared alongside each other. We headed back to the car but decided to stop at the Snook on our way out.

This proved to be a great decision as on reaching the Snook House Plantation my dad got a brief view of a wing-barred phyllosc which he assumed was a Yellow-browed. However, I soon got onto the bird and noticed a very distinct central crown stripe. I told my dad that I thought it was another Pallas's Warbler, who quickly realised I wasn't joking when it flitted upwards revealing a striking bright yellow rump! A great bird to add to our self found lists!! Another Yellow-browed Warbler joined the Pallas's, with a further 2 YBWs on other parts of the Snook, along with a Redstart, Short-eared Owl and Merlin. Here's our final migrant totals...

2 Pallas's Warbler - hadn't had a decent view of one before today so nice to see two well in a day, and even find one!
2 Red-breasted Flycatcher
1 Great Grey Shrike
7 Yellow-browed Warbler
165+ Goldcrest
125+ Redwing
45+ Blackbird
50+ Song Thrush
2 Fieldfare
70+ Robin
1 Barn Owl
2 Short-eared Owl
15+ Chiffchaff
6 Blackcap
4 Brambling
1 Sand Martin
2 Lesser Whitethroat
2 Black-tailed Godwit
3 Redstart
1 Garden Warbler
1 Merlin
c.1000 Brent Goose
50+ Barnacle Goose
2 Little Egret

Self found Pallas's Warbler at Snook House

Pallas's Warbler in the Vicar's Garden

Red-breasted Flycatcher in willows at north end of Straight Lonnen

Great Grey Shrike

Yellow-browed Warbler

Lesser Whitethroat

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