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Sunday, 17 April 2011

5 BEE-EATER at Higher Lanes!!

HOOPOE on the upper path between the Steval and Woolpack, Garrison 

 Out the front door this morning and the first thing I hear and then see, are 2 flighty Lesser Redpoll on the wires. This was shortly followed by the female WOODCHAT SHRIKE at the golf course. Nearby at Bants Carn, a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling and there was a fly over Tree Pipit.

Female WOODCHAT SHRIKE on the bell post Top shot by Robin Mawer

  I returned home, got in the wagon and started to drive towards the quay to go to Bryher with Higgo for the day. As I pulled away and changed into second gear, ahead of me through the front screen, in the field behind Telegraph junction, was a BEE-EATER flying! Immediately on the wires behind it, I could see 4 BEE-EATER when the single individual joined them. 5 BEE-EATER!! At the junction, I got out and all I could hear was the sound of Bee-eaters. With in a few minutes, the road became a car park and everyone enjoyed these beauties as they graced the skies, showing off all the time catching bees and butterflies in mid-air and then returning to the wires to be greeted by calling birds. They were also displaying and on one occasion, a pair were observed mating on the wires!
  While we were there, I was expecting an old lady to come along and ask what we were looking at? After what's been happening to me in the last two days, her reply would be 'I saw them last week on my bird table!'
   In the last few years, Bee-eaters are becoming a lot more regular and two years ago, 7 flew past me at Old Town Bay. The following year, there were 11 mobile birds that stuck around for two days touring the islands. This was the second largest number to be recorded in the UK after an amazing flock of 18 in Oxfordshire!
  Unfortunately, I had to make a move.

5 BEE-EATER at Telegraph! Turn the volume right up and you can hear them calling to each other


A bit of bonding going on, now and then 

Busy tossing bees in the air

 These birds just keep on arriving and already this spring we could of had as many as 7-8 birds on the islands Top shot by Robin Mawer

The crowd at the junction with the new car park now on Higher Lanes. 

  On Bryher, the sun was burning down on us and Higgo did the north of the island and I did the south. It was hard work finding migrants and at 13.30 we met at Fraggle Rock Cafe. The highlights were a Whimbrel heard and Higgo had a Sedge Warbler. Not good really and so we decided to catch the 14.30 boat back to St Mary's. As we made our way towards Church Town Quay, we bumped into Joe and his mate. We were chatting when I shouted 'BEE-EATER! It flew behind a large pine, so we ran after it only for it to turn back on itself behind the large pine again. We tried to follow it and as we returned to the very spot where I briefly first saw it, Higgo had only just started moving! I guess he's just too bloody slow! After a few minutes, we gave up and there was a change of plan as I was going back with Joe in the rib at 15.45. Walking off, I thought I heard the BEE-EATER, but when I stopped all I could hear was a loud chainsaw. Then Higgo called 'I can hear the bugger, but I can't see the bloody thing!' For half an hour we searched around for it, but it had just simple disappeared.
  We didn't see anything else of note and the best thing I heard singing on the island, was Niel Young coming out from a house with 'Cinnamon Girl' and the best thing I saw, was the homemade burger at the cafe!
  On the rib, Joe rolled gently close to Green Island and as a result we had cracking views of the first summer Spoonbill as it circled us and returned to the island, where there were also a single Wheatear and 2 Whimbrel. We should of done our birding on here, but then I would not of heard Niel Young singing.

A Dwarf Pansy at Rushy Bay... 

..And a big pansy drying his gentle feet after wading in the sea  

Here we see the big pansy looking for his contact lenses  

1st summer Spoonbill on Green Island. I took these shots from the moving rib  

  A quick look at the Garrison found the HOOPOE at very close range on the short turf inside the Woolpack accommodation. As the bird was showing so well, I contacted everyone, but I had to leaveso I could make it in time for my dinner at work.

HOOPOE at the Woolpack accomdation 

Sunset over Samson 

  Just in case anyone was worried, I did make it in time for my dinner.

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