Tuesday, 16 October 2018

There was still a calm easterly airflow this morning, combined with a heavy shower in the early hours saw a number of migrants grounded by the weather. Once the weather had cleared, it was clear that some new migrants had arrived, and hopes were high of a far eastern bird. The day produced just that, when a Siberian Stonechat appeared in the South End gorse. The bird showed well throughout the morning, and continued to show into the afternoon as the sun broke through the cloud. The bird lacked black underwings and a dark mask, but showed an obvious contrast in its coverts which allowed us to establish it was a first-winter female Siberian Stonechat. This represents just the fifth island record.

Whilst the Stonechat was the clear highlight, a good supporting cast was also present today. Out to sea a Sooty Shearwater flew west past the South End, whilst 17 Common Scoters, a Golden Plover, a Great Skua, 16 Mediterranean Gulls, 129 Black-headed Gulls and 417 Kittiwakes made up numbers. Whilst on the land a brilliant selection was present. On the wader front, numbers were still high but diversity low as two Snipes, two Whimbrels, 28 Curlews, 18 Redshanks and 28 Turnstones were logged. The Great Spotted Woodpecker was again mobile, and little overhead passage culminated to just 51 Skylarks. Thrushes and Chats were present in good sted today as one Black Redstart, two Redstarts, 10 Stonechats, four Ring Ouzels and seven Redwings were recorded along with the aforementioned Stonechat. Otherwise, warblers seemed to be a little down on yesterday, two Blackcaps, six Chiffchaffs and 23 Goldcrests were the only warblers logged. Other birds seemed to have declined in number as well with just 44 Starlings, 28 Chaffinches, 61 Goldfinches, two Lesser Redpolls and four Reed Buntings recorded.

Siberian Stonechat, from what we could tell it appears to be a S.m.maurus, but we managed to procure a stool sample, so we'll know for sure soon enough!

The stonechat twitch

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