Sunday, 9 October 2016

Ring Ouzels

When a load of Ring Ouzels come into the UK, you can usually count on the 'Avian Black Hole' to produce a few for us, and sure enough yesterday afternoon two or three were seen in the Underhooken at Beer Head. This morning the clear skies, the prospect of some Ouzel action and the possibility of some good vis mig saw me at Beer Head just after dawn... 

Two hours up here produced;

2+ Ring Ouzel (probably 4+)
6 Blackbird
6 Song Thrush 
2 Redwing
2 Wheatear
2 Stonechat
9 Skylark
60+ Meadow Pipit
10 alba Wagtail
1 Grey Wagtail 
8 Blackcap
20+ Chiffchaff
1 Goldcrest 
40+ Linnet
20 Goldfinch
2 Siskin

So as can be seen from the finch counts, visible migration was really disappointing considering the conditions. In fact the top of the headland where we usually find our birds was really quiet too (except for Mipits), all the action was on the scrub covered slope down to the Underhooken. All but two of the 20+ Chiffs were here, I was so expecting a Yellow-browed to filter through with them but it just didn't happen.  Of course this was also where the Ring Ouzels were, and these two I saw pretty well...

I'm fairly certain this is a first-winter female (along with a male Blackbird) due to no hint at all of a  pale breast crescent.

Not a great photo, but the clean white breast crescent makes this is a male. It had quite a dirty looking bill with little yellow so I'm pretty sure it was also a first-winter bird.

I had so many more glimpses of Ring Ouzels, and heard quite a bit of calling too, my feeling is there were 4-5 birds down there but I just couldn't prove more than the above two. At one stage I had a bird calling way off to the right where I didn't see any of my two go, but I only had the female in view at the time.

A quick look at Seaton Hole afterwards showed another ten Chiffchaffs, but lots of walking around the patch this afternoon has still failed to give me a Yellow-browed. And there were what 10+ on Portland today!? So I have to say I'm feeling a bit like how this Wheatear looked on Beer Head early this morning...

Oh well, must keep at it...

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