Tuesday, 24 May 2011

A year ago today........

A year ago today when I was heading home back to the Puffinn, I found a Stunning male RED THROATED PIPIT at Lower Loegh which was the only spring record for Scotland in 2010!!

Below is my account of my Brilliant find:

Red Throated Pipit
24th May' 2010
Fair Isle
After finishing a hard day’s work at Fair isle bird observatory trying to get the new lodge ready for guests, I decided to walk back down to the puffinn at the very south end of the island. I heard there has been a leucistic Meadow pipit hanging around Shirva so I decided to have a look at every pipit on the way down. As I carried along the west road, I came across a ditch at the lower loegh, About 30ft away just on the edge of the ditch, there was a small pipit crouching quite low with its back to me. I knew this looked quite different with it being quite heavily streaked on its back with whitish mantle lines. At this stage, I could not be 100% sure (but R T Pipit  did pop up my mind) as the sun was very low and bright directly behind the bird so I decided just to climb over the fence to get around the bird with the light behind me. As I did that, I accidently flushed the pipit further down the ditch where it was no longer visible but I did managed to get a glimpse of its pinkish throat as it took off. At this point, I gave Jack Ashton-booth (FIBO assistant warden) a call to see if he was nearby to check out this pipit.  As I waited for the cavalry to arrive, I decided to try and relocate the bird by approaching the ditch from the opposite side, as I did, it got flushed again but I got nothing on it, the bird was very flighty indicating it has just arrived.  It was flushed for a 3rd time which made me confirm its identification as it called in flight. The call was a loud ‘psii’ of which I instantly recognized it as a R T Pipit (I have heard them in Israel and on Fair isle before). It flew back towards the road behind a stone wall just as I could see Jack running down the road. I did not want to flush the pipit again so I headed over to meet Jack to tell him the good news. I explained where it flew to so we headed towards the wall. By then it had disappeared but a few minutes later, Jack had just refound it on the other side of the road where it popped up on the fence facing towards me and Jack with sun behind us. It was a stunning male Red Throated Pipit with a pinkish head and a very pink under parts with a few dark streaks on its flanks. The bird flew back to ditch just when Deryk shaw / Rebecca Nason arrived and other birders shortly followed. We all watched the pipit as it fed in the ditch and stayed around the location I found it allowing Birders to get very good quality photos of the bird. We stayed there for about an hour then left the bird to let it settle. It was not relocated the next day.

Thankyou to REBECCA NASON and to DERYK SHAW for taking some fantastic photos of the bird! and also Thankyou to Jack for doing this incredible drawing for me!!

It will be fantastic if you could check out there websites, they have some amazing blogs on the go, with Rebecca Nason reporting on her recent trip to Lesvos, Make sure you check out her Photography website aswell. Deryk Shaw has started the burkle birder blog which makes an interesting read.

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