Thursday, 1 May 2014

I wood swallow that bee whole!

Oh my. Deary me! The elapsed time since my last post has seen storms morph to sun and wind sublimate to humidity and heat! Spring baby! Sun blazed snowflakes of migrants have slammed into my faces' soft tissue through a succession of falls, varying in demographic and size but all bringing one thing - the cripple!

Look at that! Blue Rock Redstart more like!

Having a Chat! Pair of Stonechat and Black Redstart combo.

The first signs of spring fingering winter ass end came with a push of Black Redstarts and some ridiculously early House Martin in some far from summery conditions.

I can barely believe I got a photo of a House Martin in flight! Poor bugger was clearly slowed down by the surprise early spring coolness that greeted its arrival.

A quick interlude between early spring and middle spring falls saw a most random record! A few days after a Night Heron had frequented the Moors, eluding my eyes and tingling my ears with its croaking calls, I was in the garden for my usual dusk watch when an interesting but familiar heron cal, attracted my attention to an adult Purple Heron! Which gradually flew low over Longstone into the strengthening northerly wind and disappeared never to be seen again. Check how good this photo with my phone thru bins is. Prize winner.

The next chapter is a story of some Willow Carr, not the sort that would be a stupid form of transport but one that harks back to simpler times, times when one could rest of an evening under the dappled sunlight of the gently russling of heavy leaf laden branches..AND GET OFF YOUR FACE ON YANK RAILS! Amazingly this king of retinal adjusting birds reappeared allowing a second chance at admiring it 'one time' as they say, though I went back like two or three time, or triple time, yeah. Photos.

After fully moulting over the winter this Sora is now even better! That bill, those bars....oh and TERTIALS

And with the sun driven poetic sensibilities that have overwhelmed my inner and outer nervous system came the true spring migrants, starting with a little bean flick tease, then hit hard and full on leaving nothing to the imagination, just as well as mine exploded!

After finding an early Ring Ouzel in semi-hellish conditions a couple of weeks before, this shit your pants male in sunshine whilst wearing shorts and t-shirt really got me going!

And then it got freaky. Like real freaky, like awkward nice freaky. With a Spotted Crake replacing the Sora virtually a day after its departure! Needless to say this is hands down the best views of Spotted Crake I've ever had. I'm talking zero feet man! It has two feet and zero feet! Get me! Eyeballs!

A cracking bird that's tameness was only surpassed by it ball rotting beauty!

 From here on in shit gets Mediterranean. After dashing about after a typical mobile and cryptic flashing stinger eater, aka Bee-eater, some early morning jamming saw me lucking it in a likely spot allowing some one on one in the emergent sunlight before the lads arrived to grill it. This would put in motion a steady stream of migrants and rares that would get better and better, as if this could be topped!

The special views that greeted me as I walked out of a hedge!

Being the wary birds they are, this rainbow dancer soon became more distant leaving those close initial views burning through my skull!

During the 'Bee-eater days' as they shall be dubbed, a significant arrival of Wheatear occurred including 176 on the Golfcourse! A concentration the likes of which I have never seen and surely an underestimate. The above pic hints at the spectacle...

And with the Wheatear came some bigger hopping things. Think they are called crescent breasted larger hoppers. I call em spanking Ring Ouzels!

Bloody hell. I'm going on abit aren't I? Well there's been alot of bleddy birds! And it gets better! Part of a joke goal I set myself this spring was to try and add some species to my self-found list, one that I am increasingly treasuring more than my UK list! So the species I really wanted to find were Hoopoe, Golden Oriole and Woodchat Shrike, all being relatively frequent visitors in spring, plus they're fat bright exotic stonkers! So as conditions continued to bring common migrants a pushed out for another epic bird around my favourite spots, jamming Osprey after a call from a mate, then Ring Ouzel among lots of migrants before ending my route mopping up the last of my Longstone patch before lunch. So imagine my surprise when 2 seconds into a wall top scan my bins and gaze fell upon this jaw dropping male Woodchat Shrike. Absolutely nothing as good as having the privilege of discovering such a cracking bird, and on my home turf! A long awaited Longstone tick! Enjoy my OTT amounts of pics!

My first view of the shrike as seen by my phone thru bins...

My camera selection above, cripple your heart out!!
And some by my phone thru bins/scope:

I seen a fair few of these on Scilly over the years, in virtually all plumage's. But shit your pants males in spring just do something to my brain!

And this day gets better. Oh yes! The murk descending in the afternoon, with winds still favourable, and in the heavy silence of the gloom and Grasshopper Warbler began to reel in my garden while my first Cuckoo of the year chimed across the valley. Stunning! A final dash around the headland before dusk got me in your face views of Marsh Harrier, a magic way to end a memorable day!

So we have arrived at the present! The story end with a swallow, giggidy. More heat, more migratio, this time by hirundines had me on red alert! I have been lucky to be working up near Porthellick House chainsawing lately, taking my bins as I always do, and each break scanning the panorama of St. Marys up towards Pelistry. On this particular hot day I was fantasising about Red-rumped Swallows and Little Swifts near constantly, and during my afternoon breaks scan I noticed a decent flock of hirundines way off over Higher Moors, I could just about see several species were involved as each specks feeding style differed significantly. A quick 2 minute dash home later and my scope was trained on a Swallow, the Sand Martin, no, surely it's not this easy? Ok you're going mad, its hazy, stop stringing House Martins Will, but it does have stonking great streamers! Tits surely it is! And then the cherry on top came as the Red-rumper banked showing that diagnostic black on the untertail. And i exploded! A species I have never had the luck to find, was right there, slutting about in my scope! Some phone calls and texts later and birders were on the bird, and just in time as I had to carry on working! Finishing work I was anxious to go enjoy this southern stonker, and arriving home promptly found it low over the garden! What a purple patch Longstone is having (with Hooded Crow and Yellow Wag recently too)! I also had it at Longstone the following evening before finally getting some 'on the wire' views at Higher Moors as the sun set...

If only my flight shots of the stonking rare in excellent light were as good as my House Martin in the fog from earlier in this post!

The bird possessed a very distinctive posture, something I hadn't noticed in my previous encounters.

A view akin to my clinching moment, though it was much further away at the time!

So now we are into Golden Oriole season, the season of mega southern side-winding rares. My guns are off safety. Southeasterlies coming. Lets do this.