Saturday, 5 January 2013

Well back from Holland and it's mid September so that can only mean one thing........FOULA time.

Well actually this year it meant marriage time, that's right folks I went and got married, then went on Honeymoon a few days later with mssr's Thomas, Aspin, Brown and French.  That's right I got married and left a couple of days later for Foula, I've found a good un!!!

As usual I traveled up by ferry and had a couple of days on Mainland Shetland before flying onto Foula.  On the Thursday with not much around and time to kill I suggested we visit Eshaness in NW mainland as it's very underwatched and there had been a Baird's Sand on the previous Saturday.

As we arrived Bill and I walked less than 20m from the car and scanned the grassy slope below the car park, whappo!  first bird I saw was a Buff breast.  There had been one present earlier in the month but none of us could remember how long ago.  I found out later there had been one the day before the Baird's and fter our sighting there were two birds.  So the dilema is did we find a new bird?  We'll never know I guess unless someone grills some pics.  But with a gap of 6 days between our sighting and the previous one, plus a few birders looking for the baird's and 2 birds present later there's got to be a good chance ours was a new one.  In his write up about this years Foula trip Paul French suggests Foula must be oe of the most regular places for Buff breast, I'd agree with that but Eshaness probably gives it a good run for it's money, in fact I'm sure some of the birds will be the same ones.

 The next morning we flew onto Foula for my 4th straight autumn on here, Two weeks on the most remote inhabited island in Britain, it's rally hard work flogging all the iris beds and kicking wet grassland and ditches, in fact it can be a really soul destroying place but the expectation keeps you going.  Especially when you land on the island to the forecast we did this year.  We've had some success each year I've been on here but I really felt with the weather a crack team who now know how to bird the island including new secret weapon Golden Balls Brown tht we couldn't fail to score a monster.  As it turned out that bastard place to the south east Fair Isle hammered us, but we put up a good fight.

Frenchy has done a smart write up of the trip plus his extra weeks so I'll just put up some pics and point you in the direction of

Lesser throat, but which race?

The Athertons

Marsh Warbler, foot just out of shot!

Evocative Swainson's

Stunning sprite

Stunning, rare and surprisingly easy to ID

Is this the best Sykes's shot ever taken in Britain?
Can't be many better.  And with a £400 camera too!

Bill and I take full advantage of Dan taking leave 
of his senses, and going up the big hill.  
He found a Blyth's Pipit, no justice!

Foula not that small, Dan is about 8 foot tall!

Gav finally scores with his first Foula rarity after 3 trips trying,
 it's like putting on a hat, apparently

The Sykes's has moved half the length of the island!

 The Aspin antenna.  

Often the only way to find the runt when behind walls,
 or in iris beds

HDR image of the sneck

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