Last day blues – of the best kind
Couldn’t resist a pre-dawn assault on Skaw and Norwick- checking for visible (and audible) migration. Clearly Brambling, Siskins and Redwings were on the move- expect new birds today me thinks. The 2 Little Buntings called too each other very early and seemed to fly off south.
Just offshore the educational duo of juvenile terns: 1 Common and 1 Arctic Tern showed well plus 2 1st winter Little Gulls. The Black Duck hybrid thing flew around. Nice morning. Heading south we had another ‘from the van’ find. Graham picked up a Barred Warbler along a stone dyke at Haroldswick- just before the phone purred to say a Dusky Warbler had been found at Halligarth.
Scored at Halligarth everyone heard and got good if brief typically views of the Dusky Warbler plus 2 Yellow-broweds and several Swallows over. While Otter searching, news broke of Red-flanked Bluetail on south Mainland.
By the time we had reached the North Mainland there was a choice. 2 Bluetails. One at Geosetter and one at Tresta. We opted for the Tresta bird found by Punkbirders.
Call of the Bluetail
Little story: Having been directed Stu Piner and finder Dan Brown I went on the other side of walled garden away from the rest of the group as we awaited the appearance of the Tresta (mainland not Fetlar) Bluetail. Needed a wee. My mid-stream urinating activity flushed the Red-flanked Bluetail from the wall’s base. Right in front of me! So I watched as it sat on branch only c 10 feet away- no bins needed- nor easily used! Result: my best ‘pish’ ever.
Short time later bird is hidden again and I hear an odd call. Kind of like a certain call of Chiffchaff but wrong; an odd warbler? I went through a mental warbler list but couldn’t attach the sound to a species. Then it called again – with almost chat like – stonechat like quality as well. I realised -it must be the Bluetail calling. Excellent! For me better than brief views of the bird. Seen Red-flanked Bluetail before but never heard the call. A new call tick!
my description of Red-flanked Bluetail call:
sort of cross between Chiffchaff ‘swee’ call and a Stonechat.
Red-flanked Bluetail. Tresta, 8th October 2010. Dan Brown
Then a final drive to drop off our excellent tour group of Paul, Andrew, Graham and Chris at the Sumburgh Hotel. 1 week and some 115 species later. New ‘life’ birds for everyone and some top-notch scare and rare bird finds. Not sure anyone was keen for it to end. The only slight regret through the day was that a Pallas’s Warbler had been seen well up the Skaw burn. We predicted that the Sumburgh area was a likely spot for one to turn up before flights home the next morning. Must try that prophesy thing more often! Next time then!