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Monday, 27 September 2010

Megas ongoing

On Blakeney Point (North Norfolk), the North American empidonax flycatcher remains for its third day this morning, favouring the two short Sycamores in the Plantation not far from the point end. This involves a boat trip from Morston Quay or an hour-plus hike out on hard shingle west from Cley Coastguards. Not for the frail or faint-hearted and certainly not in the conditions as experienced over the weekend - that there were no fatalities was a sheer miracle ! The identification is far from resolved and detailed discussions with experts in this field are ongoing. The bird differs in several respects from the ALDER FLYCATCHER that was present near Porthgwarra in early October 2008, not least in the wing formulae.

At the opposite end of the country, the island of Tiree (Argyll) continues to host a first-winter female NORTHERN PARULA for a third day, commuting between the gardens and the few trees on Carnan Mor, at the SW end of the island. The bird is showing exceptionally well on occasions and is a typically bright gem. Access is best arranged by travelling the thrice-weekly ferry from Oban (0900 hours departure and just £17 foot-passenger), staying overnight and returning midday the following day. Taxi costs £11 per one-way hire from the Tiree ferry terminal or you may prefer to walk the 6-mile distance each way - overnight bed & breakfast accommodation from £30).

Shetland's best offering over the weekend was a dazzling WHITE'S THRUSH - the first of the autumn and year but bang on cue - followed by another PALLAS'S GRASSHOPPER WARBLER on Fair Isle. Much more to follow in the next four weeks I am confident.....

Meanwhile, with clearing skies and much lighter ENE winds, large numbers of passerine migrants are befalling North Norfolk and elsewhere on the East Coast, particularly of thrushes, finches and warblers. It is only a matter of time before more rarities put their heads out of those Elders, Birches and sueda bushes. Yesterday saw both RADDE'S WARBLER and WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER appear, the latter enjoyed by over 300 enthusiasts

The exciting autumn continues apace.....