Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The air turns blue!

Male Bluethroat, Brownsman
© Joe Cockram, National Trust

Its a cracker...
© Joe Cockram, National Trust
Only on the Farnes...nesting Eider alongside a male Bluethroat
© Joe Cockram, National Trust

No strimming today, Bluethroat stops play

The Inner Farne team arrive by boat...

Birding Farnes: the Farnes team watching the bird near the Brownsman cottage

Wednesday 13th May

This was no typical day on the Farnes. Whilst typing an early morning e-mail in Brownsman cottage, the radio burst into life…”male Bluethroat behind the cottage!!!” (or words to that affect…yes the air turned blue for a few minutes). Joe had been preparing to strim an area of vegetation and was shocked to be eyeballing a male Bluethroat. Moments later, the team on Brownsman had assembled, and watched patiently as it fed out in the open, occasionally peering at the wardens beside it, wondering what all the fuss was about. A quick message relayed over to the Inner Farne team had them scampering across Staple Sound (twitching by Zodiac boat!) and soon the team were together. All eight wardens present enjoyed remarkable views of this cracking little visitor, which proved to be a very tame individual, as at times it fed down to less than eight foot and appeared not to have a care in the world. At one point, it even considered running over my legs and was even too close to focus for Joe’s camera – they don’t get much closer. This was no ordinary bird. This was a Bluethroat on the Farnes. Welcome to birding the Farnes way! The bird remained on the island all day and fed well on various insects and was still present as the sun went down (it’ll probably be in Scandinavia by the time dawn reaches the islands tomorrow morning).

Bluethroat’s are a scarce migrant to the UK (they winter in the southern Mediterranean and Africa region and breed in Scandinavia) although the Farnes has a very good reputation as they are considered an ‘annual’ out here (recorded in 35 of the previous 40 years including incredible peaks of up to 37 in 1993 and 31 in 1987!!!). However one is enough and what a belter! The entire team were buzzing after that and it gives just a flavouring of what may be in store for the rest of the migration season. Role on some more easterlies…

Weather: E 2-4, sunny and warm (yet again! – no sign of rain just yet)

Highlights: Manx Shearwater 1S, Knot 80 including summer plumage individuals, Little Tern 53 in roost, Swallow 21, Sand Martin, Skylark, Wheatear 3, Bluethroat male (2nd year), Grasshopper Warbler 2, Lesser Whitethroat 3, Whitethroat 2, Chiffchaff 4 and Goldfinch.

Breeding Birds: Our attention was elsewhere so very little to report although the Wren nest was discovered on Inner Farne in a stone wall.


Newton Stringer said...


Ipin said...

Cracking bird...and cracking photo's! Oh for one of them at Druridge...

I hope you are going to rustle up a mega for when we come out on the 3rd!

Jan said...

OMG what amazing shots, how close did that bluethroat want to get to the camera?

Ash said...

Great stuff! Photos and write up. My Bluethroat prediction was far too easy so how about Rustic Bunting on Sunday in the Brownsman veg garden. Or maybe Thrush Nightingale. Good luck monkeys.