September 21st   Leave a comment

A spell of easterly wind yesterday and heavy rain showers overnight. It cleared up a bit by the afternoon and I went out to the bottom (south part) of Kilminning. There were a lot of birds about, active after the rain. Flocks of skylarks, probably just in from Scandinavia in the stubble fields, and hundreds of home-grown goldfinches on the thistles along the edges. I started to check the insides of the bushes and under the canopies of the trees where the flycatchers and warblers end up after a storm. You still have to get lucky, but it was still and movement amongst the leaves was easy to spot. I saw something in a rowan that looked like a shrike, largish with a longish tail and with a scaly look. For once, instead of diving further into the tree, the bird looked back at me and bristled its head, looking more affronted than alarmed. It scrabbled around the branch it was on and even came a bit closer giving me a lovely view. A barred warbler – not a shrike – but as good as. I am lucky when I find a barred warbler, rare and also skulking, and not usually given to looking back at you with as much interest as I was giving it. They are scruffy looking warblers, with scaly marks under their tail and on their back that make them look dirty. And their colour is already a dirty grey with a slight pinkish tinge as if they have got dusty. As the barred warbler looked at me it fluffed up its head feathers again further adding to its dishevelled appearance. I am probably not selling this bird, but it was super-sized and full of character, and best of all, actually visible. Perhaps the bird then realised I had discovered why barred warblers generally skulk – because it’s easier than looking smart. I can sympathise with that. Of course, it promptly disappeared. I had probably only been looking at it for 15 seconds: it seemed like a lot longer. I kept looking but there was nothing else except a willow warbler.

Barred warbler

I checked out the top of Kilminning just in case. Where there is one rare bird there is usually another. Only a chiff-chaff and a lot more goldfinches. I scanned them for a rosefinch and was rewarded with a young siskin. Not a great rarity but the first of the winter.

The sun came out in the evening to clebrate. The sea flat calm. Not nearly as many seabirds as the weekend, but great visibility. There were two adult little gulls dipping with the kittiwakes out from the Brandyburn. Things seem to be picking up this autumn at last.

Adult winter little gull

Posted September 21, 2017 by wildcrail in Sightings

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