Friday, 10 September 2021

Quite a week on the patch!

Yes indeedy, the magic didn't wear off on Sunday but kept going right through the week. Monday and Tues were quieter though, with just a new pied flycatcher for me troubles. But things kicked off again on Wednesday when the conditions were very promising - nice light south-easterlies and a bit of patchy mist and drizzle.

With no evidence of anything new at Shite Lane and Marsh lane, I very nearly didn't bother doing the top lane, as I had a ton of brown envelopes to go through back in the office. However, it was very fortuitous that I made the effort.

After bumping into a couple of whinchats, I was scanning the fencelines in the mist when I was momentarily confused by a weird looking male wheatear on a post. But something didn't look right about it, so I edged a bit nearer....

Not a male wheatear...

The penny dropped. Grey shrike sp! Looked small and long-winged - shurely it had to be a lesser grey shrike! Then it flew and I lost it. And in trying to find it got distracted by a bunting going "pwit pwit"....

An ortolan, yesterday

Ortolan bunting! Huzzah! A classic early September score for Galley - we probably average one every couple of years here. Meanwhile where did the shrike get to?

By this time, Chris had shown up with a scope and we managed to relocate it at the bottom of the top lane, where we got better views

Look at the primaries on that! [Photo: C. O'Sullivan]

Whilst watching it, we noticed that it was colour-ringed - and once this news had gone out we were informed of the existence of a Spanish reintroduction programme, with eggs and chicks being reared to fledging and then released into the wild. More on the project here.

Lets leave that there shall we? Did score a bonus turtle dove on another late pm sortie....

Moving on to Thursday, and after the rain moved through I thought I'd have another punt around, only to bang straight into my first pectoral sandpiper at Galley, on the wee stream that flows out of Marsh Lane

A pec sand yesterday (uncropped)

It was really tame, and actually flew towards us at one point. I commando crawled over the shingle to get some closer shots, thinking of Derek Nimmo all the while!


A great wee bird! Twitching a fine wryneck this am surely brings this amayzing spell at Galley to an end? We shall see....

Still second last in the Golden mallard standings tho!

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