To say we’ve had it lucky as an SOC group – would be exactly right! Summer, winter, spring and autumn outings have all been a great success over the past couple of years – and all helped by very obliging weather. Saturday’s expedition to Noss Head was no exception – but to see 18 degrees from the middle to the end of the day was a major surprise. The temperature and lack of wind turned a memorable trip into one to dine out on for year’s to come.
The option to go for east coast migration turned out to be a good call. In fact from the word go it ‘felt’ right. A dunlin parked in the middle of the road on the way to Noss Farm was an encouraging omen and seemed to suggest things might just line up for us. And so it was. The morning could hardly have been scripted better, and the lack of a BB rarity didn’t appear to matter.
The first stop at the cottage almost produced the entire suite of ‘British’ thrushes with only Mistle, apparently not lurking in the tiny bunch of conifers. An extremely obliging Ring ouzel was a ‘tick’ for some of the team and gave tremendous views, unlike the Lesser whitethroat which evaporated into the undergrowth – but not before our ‘Tour Leader’ Dan Brown had grabbed it on film.
Ring ouzel / Noss Farm 18/10/14 D Brown
Lesser whitethroat of Asian race blythii Noss Farm 18/10/14 D Brown
On towards the lighthouse, and the sadly out-of-commission Heligoland trap had miraculously been functioning on auto?! Not only had it ‘caught’ an incredibly helpful Siberian chiffchaff, but then, right on cue, with the audience anticipating a bit more of a show – a Common chiffchaff sidled up on stage and posed. For beginners and experts alike it was a textbook moment in fieldguide illustration.
Siberian Chiffchaff / Noss Head 18/10/14 D Brown
Common Chiffchaff / Noss Head 18/10/14 D Brown
A few minutes later a redstart lead us a bit of a dance around the farm buildings before giving itself up and posing long enough for a shot. Turned out to be a splendid Black redstart and another ‘lifer’ for some.
Black redstart / Noss Head 18/10/14 D Brown
Meanwhile Redwings and Song thrushes were pouring in from the east and tumbling out of an azure blue sky. What a morning! Time for a break.
SOC squad (minus photographer) autumn ’14 Left to right: Sinclair Manson, Eric Maughan, Heather Byrne, Dan Brown, Catherine Nicol, Lesley Oliphant. Noss Head 18/10/14 J Smith
Just as we thought we could relax DB decided to go walk-about and persuaded a Woodcock to do a flypast and add yet another new bird to some of the team’s life lists. Just to make sure everybody had seen it well enough the bird was ‘asked’ to repeat the demo – and did it in style.
DB & Woodcock / Noss head 18/10/14 E Maughan
Noss Head itself produced at least two more Ring ouzels amongst the thrushes in the whins and the first Snow bunting for most this autumn.
Snow bunting / Noss Head 18/10/14 D Brown
The club would (as if he didn’t already know!) like to say a massive ‘Thank you’ to Dan for his exceptional skills in locating and identifying pretty well everything. Cheers.