Sunday, April 3, 2011

After spending the day yesterday watching the Hoopoe, I (Giselle) was knackered. It's hard work! The fall of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs on the island was a spectacle, and as I walked around the plantation, the ground was littered with hungry migrants. They were mostly feeding on flies by performing a short somersault from a tree branch and snapping shut their delicate bill around the unsuspecting insect. Each snap of the bill was very audible, and the sheer volume of feeding birds created a noise reminiscent of crackling embers from a fire. Truly magnificent.

It had been a clear day and evening, but as we headed back to the lighthouse at 11pm the sky clouded over and the stars vanished. Rich said it was classic lighthouse attraction weather. By the time we arrived at the lighthouse not much was circling it, a few Phylloscs, Redwings and Starlings with the odd Manx Shearwater steaming past. We set an alarm for 2am...

For the low number of Phylloscs and Blackcaps attracted there had been a high proportion of fatalities. (c) Richard Brown

I found out this morning with the 6am alarm that Rich had stayed out until after 4am dazzling the attracted birds and trying to direct others to the ground with the big flood lights. He tells me there was a Short-eared Owl also present, probably in search of an easy snack. I on the other hand didn't manage to make it out of bed. 

I offset my guilt by helping him ring the birds he dazzled during the early hours of this morning, with Wood Pigeon being the highlight amongst a Wheatear, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers. (c) Richard Brown

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