Sunday 19 May 2013

Reddy Meals

Bluethroat Farnes style - with a nesting Eider (Bex Outram)

...and a female Bluethroat... (Bex Outram)

Female Red-backed Shrike (David Steel)

Distant but showy (David Kinchin-smith) 

A migrant 'White' Wagtail

Lesser Whitethroat Farnes style...on the boardwalk

Rare's habitat - lichen covered rocks ideal for migrant birds
Sunday 19th May comments: Another spring and yet more Bluethroats on the Farne Islands. It may sound blasé, but the Farnes remain part of an exclusive handful of UK localities which can still boast annual records of Bluethroat, despite numbers on passage decreasing considerably in recent years.

In 60 years of recording, the Farnes have boasted records in every year apart from nine seasons’ with recent ‘blanks’ only occurring in 2005, 1999, 1983 and 1982. Following on from last years five records, we’ve bagged another two this weekend as a stunning male and then a female were discovered on the outer group of islands.

Both birds were part of a larger movement of common and scarce migrants which arrived on Saturday across the islands and remained all day Sunday. Bluethroats are related to Robins (but with blue chests!) and breed in Scandinavia but have been caught out by our inclement weather as they head north from southern wintering grounds. However once the weather settles, they will reorientate themselves and continue their journey north.
Also amongst the arrival of birds, a 'butcher bird' was discovered; a female Red-backed Shrike on the West Wideopens as well as a good scattering of commoner migrants including a Long-eared Owl. Its been a busy weekend, following our Puffin press day, but we'll bring more news of that tomorrow. For the time being, the migrant birds have been grabbing the headlines.

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