FIRST OF THE AUTUMN - 6 September 2014

Saturday 6 September was lovely on Holy Island. The sun shone, the winds were light and it was pleasantly warm. What a great day for the first of our autumn day tours.

We started on the causeway. Shades of the recce of my previous blog, ticking off the usual mix of waders that included a Greenshank on passage at this time of year. And once again there were 2 Little Egrets. They offered great views up close in good light and we marveled at their yellow feet as they flew by. Then onto the island before the tide came in. We parked up and walked back to the causeway's edge to watch Bar-tailed Godwits and the first Pale-bellied Brent Geese of the autumn. Turnabout and a short walk along Chare Ends to see migrant passerines feeding on insects in the midday sun - Wheatear, Willow Warbler, Whinchat and Whitethroat. We walked back and I checked the causeway posts, now protruding above the water separating us from the mainland. EUREKA! An Osprey was sitting on top of a post well out to sea, taking advantage of this ideal hunting 'perch' (if you pardon the pun). Was that to be our bird of the day?

Of course there was more. An adult Mediterranean Gull among the many score of Redshank on the Rocket Field. The Gannets, Fulmar and Sandwich Terns flying past offshore. The male Pintail on the Lough, still in eclipse plumage. So much to see and enjoy. In all we saw 63 species and that didn't include the young Merlin I spotted as we drove away from the island. What a great day!

Mark Winter

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