Tuesday, 1 October 2013

July 2013

As soon as we landed, the Bridled Tern that had been frequenting the Farne Islands for a few days previous became my immediate priority. Despite a 10-hour overnight flight without any sleep, I was totally pumped for the long drive up North. I quickly resolved a few logistical problems which resulted in my mum bringing my car to Gatwick airport as time was limited in order to get the last boat of the evening.

Thankfully the roads were clear, and I even had time to pick Cain Scrimgeour up enroute in Whitley Bay. I have visited the Farnes a few times now and it is always a fun and enjoyable experience with the sheer number of seabirds. This trip didn't disappoint either with stacks of birds flying past the boat as we positioned ourselves between the archipelago. Almost two hours past before we got our first brief view of the Bridled Tern as it did a lap of the boat before disappearing into the Tern colony on Inner Farne. It was a huge relief to have connected with this unpredictable bird, but at the same time I felt very deflated with the very brief encounter.

Another two hours passed, and dusk was closing in before we were treated with another, more extended view as it flew out of the colony being mobbed by a Herring Gull; performing nicely for the small crowd. I managed a few record shots of the bird but nothing worth sharing.

Two days later and the shocking news of an Ascension Frigatebird on the Inner Hebrides got the heart beating for this was a bird many thought would never appear in the British Isles again following the moribund individual of 1953. Despite the chances of it ever being seen again being further than remote; myself, Dan Pointon, John Pegden, and Alan Lewis invested in a weekend on Islay just incase.
As expected there was no further sign of the Frigatebird, but it was nonetheless an enjoyable weekend with singing Spotted Crake, excellent views of Corn Crakes down to a few feet and by far my closest views of a male Golden Eagle holding territory at a nest site.
With the weather for the remainder of the month turning rather nice; attentions were turned to butterflies. These beasts were clearly having a more productive summer this year that gave me the opportunity to catch up (and occasionally photograph) a few species including Purple Emporer, White Admiral, Northern Brown Argus, Purple Hairstreak and perhaps the most difficult thesedays; High Brown Fritillery.
 Silver-washed Fritillery
 White Admiral
 Silver-washed Fritillery
 Dark-green Fritillery
Large Skipper
Purple Hairstreak

Bird wise, waders stole the show with a White-rumped Sandpiper at Lodmoor, Dorset (20th), Pectoral Sandpiper at Pennington Marshes, Hampshire (21st) with both Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stints there (28th). Three Spoonbills also frequented Needs Ore (1 ad, 2 juvs).

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