October 11th   2 comments

I was back out at Kilminning at first light this morning. It is very windy today and although nice and sunny, the conditions weren’t the best for picking up a small bird in dense cover. On the Sherlock Holmes principle – if you have eliminated the possible, then the impossible must be true – I shifted my search from the places where I thought the Pallas’s warbler should be, to the less likely ones. I deliberately stopped checking out the goldcrest and tit flocks in the sycamores and rowans, even though they still beguilingly had many chiff-chaffs and at least three yellow-browed warblers in them. Instead I checked the hawthorn bushes – both of yesterday’s very brief sightings were in hawthorn. Forty minutes later I had view of the Pallas’s warbler, feeding in the dense hawthorns in the southwest corner of upper Kilminning. These are the hawthorns just behind and to the south of the pines running along the western boundary, next to the airfield. It was a heart stopping moment – I have put a lot of hours in trying to find this bird and then suddenly it wasn’t a goldcrest, it was the bird I had been hoping for, green, yellow, stripey and right in front of me. I had it within about 10 meters for several minutes as it fed very actively in the sheltered hawthorns, glowing in the early morning sunlight. I watched it for a couple of minutes, finally enjoying all the detail and then took some pictures. It stayed in the area obligingly and I finally heard it call. Not the loud “duwee” that would have given it away instantly yesterday, but a soft “zeep” – probably distinctive enough to merit a second look if you were passing, but barely audible above a few meters on a windy day. As I watched it I became convinced that this was probably the best bird I had ever seen, although I suspect I will transfer my affection to the next hard won Crail rarity.

The Pallas’s warbler at upper Kilminning this morning – probably on its 4th or 5th day there
And one last portrait (WC)

Posted October 11, 2019 by wildcrail in Sightings

2 responses to “October 11th

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  1. Glad you finally caught up with it. I recognise that feeling when you realise it isn’t a Goldcrest (or Yellow Browed Warbler), from yesterday. Great photos too.

    Barry Farquharson
    • Thanks – yes a great feeling and a great sense of relief – you put the time in yesterday too. I hope it is now easier for everyone else now we have it narrowed down to the hawthorns where you and I saw it.

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