October 6th   3 comments

It was raining heavily all morning so it wasn’t worth going out until midday. I went straight to lower Kilminning to try to put to rest the strange call I heard yesterday. After listening to my recordings of all the likely and less likely candidates, dusky warbler still seemed to be the best bet. I tried some playback in the the rosebushes by the barred warbler bush where I heard the call yesterday. When I sat back in cover – exactly where I was sitting yesterday – dusky warbler call seemed nearly perfect. From ten meters away I could only hear the harsh electric tacks, not the soft song thrush like call between them. Perfect or not, and here and everywhere around the dense rose bushes and scrub of lower Kilminning, there was no response and nothing to see. Perhaps it was somewhere else – the chiff-chaffs in the area yesterday had all moved into more sheltered spots long the western boundary. Or perhaps it was never there at all. All day I kept hoping someone would get sight of a dusky warbler. But it was all a minor repeat of yesterday: the barred warbler, a couple of yellow-browed warblers, lots of redwings and a few bramblings feeding on rowan berries. Elsewhere along the coast and on the May Island there were more rarities appearing. Considering the high number of birders out at Fife Ness today I think we must have just missed the right weather conditions with nothing new being turned up at all. I enjoyed myself nonetheless. It was exciting looking for the dusky warbler, and for sure I will never mistake or overlook its call again. And I now know the inside of every rosebush in Kilminning – they are surprisingly accessible – and every robin and dunnock in the patch. 

One of the bramblings tucking in to a rowan berry at Kilminning today (WC)

Crawling around dense bushes is claustrophobic after a while so I also had a walk over the stubble fields of the airfield, directly adjacent to Kiliminning. They were full of skylarks. Hundreds of skylarks, newly in this week. There were only a handful ten days ago, but today it was a blizzard. I finished off the afternoon in Denburn Wood in the hope of a red-flanked bluetail, but only more dense cover and more robins.

Skylark (JA)

Posted October 6, 2019 by wildcrail in Sightings

3 responses to “October 6th

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  1. Hello Will. You spoke to me as you were leaving Kilminning yesterday – I was standing on the verge.
    I had a call I didn’t recognise yesterday as well, in the barred warbler. It called as soon as I arrived and then nothing. I was only there about 15 minutes though. Another chap played dusky for me and it sounded a good fit, from memory. I popped back again later but only silence, unfortunately, and no sighting of whatever it is. Fun though.

    Stuart MacDonald
    • In my heart I think there is/was a dusky there. But my experience of calling dusky warblers is of a single bird previously so I don’t want to call it on call alone. Frustrating but fun as you say.

      • I had two on the same day on Fair Isle one October. Not much cover compared to Kilminning! Getting a view was relatively easy. I’m sure they must have called but I don’t recall hearing it. Bad field craft!

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