Sunday, 14 October 2012

Pied Wheatear

News of a 1st-winter male Pied Wheatear found (as I later discovered) by Steve Rippon on Holy Island appeared just as I was beginning to consider the post-work options, mostly involving sleep after a busy shift it has to be said. Initially reports on the pager suggested a 'male' which was enough to get the adrenalin pumping, so by the time the Tractor Boys suggested there was no access before dusk plans were already in place for an amphibious landing.

Somewhat fortuitously another Holy Island regular was at the front of the short traffic queue as we snorkelled up ready for the crossing. With the current low tides we timed it to perfection with not a minute or an inch of water to waste. Buoyed by up to the minute directions we yomped across Chare Ends to Snipe Point to the big log/branch that it had apparently been hanging out around. Empty beach stretched left and right, the Mars Rover seemed to have more chance of discovering life, we spilt in opposite directions to search and after several long minutes the finder was discovered a little to the east in the company of the tamest juvenile Gannet ever and the sweet wheat.

Still active almost up to dusk it flicked around the nearby rocks, occasionally dropping just a few metres away. I'd left the camera expecting poor light so the above are iphonescoped. Goes for all Wheatear sp. but full of character and great to watch. It looked likely to roost around the upturned roots of a washed up tree-trunk as we left.
Rolling Out The Barrel (literally)

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