Another much nicer morning than forecast with just a slack northerly breeze. Our garden was playing host to a Redwing, a Siberian Chiffchaff and 2 Blue Tits all of which boded well. I walked to Valyie and before arriving there I'd seen another 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs together, my first Great Tit of the Autumn and a Hawfinch. There was an increase in numbers of finches in the fields and a few Redwings and Fieldfares were overflying, heading inland. The Coues's / Icelandic Arctic Redpoll was still present, although on its own today when I saw it, but still very mobile around the fields. As I quietly entered the sycamores at Vaylie, all those hours scrutinising the forest floor in southeast Asia paid dividends as a movement in the darkest recess caught my eye... I raised my bins... and there was a Red-flanked Bluetail sat motionless in full view on a low branch - superb! I slowly lowered my bins, raised my camera and hit the trigger... click, clunk... click clunk... I'd forgotten to increase the ISO on entering the garden and the camera was firing at 1/60th of a second! The Bluetail hopped around on the low branch, then down onto the ground and made a few hops to the left and out of view. I cranked up the ISO, moved slightly to my right, but in doing so the Bluetail took flight and zipped to the outer edge of the garden. The adrenaline rush kicked-in and I hardly dared take a look at my images, fearing the worst, but was very pleasantly surprised! I briefly waited hoping for it to return and then saw it again on the outer edge of the garden but largely obscured. I made my way round the barn, approached the edge of the garden with care, only to see it fly along the fenceline and disappear back into the garden. I don't have a mobile phone signal at Valyie so climbed up the grassy bank to Holsen's road where I put the news out. I returned to the garden and Robbie was the first to arrive and we heard the Bluetail calling. A few more observers arrived... and it took a while to relocate... when I again saw it on the very same low branch! I obtained a couple more brief views and I then left, but thankfully it continued to perform for those arriving from further afield. We headed to Skaw and Lamba Ness seeing more Thrushes, another Siberian Chiffchaff and a Blue Tit. Haroldswick added 2 Hawfinches together that flew north. Robbie then kindly told us that a Pallas's Warbler was showing well at Buddabrake that we enjoyed watching late in the afternoon.
2 hours ago