Friday, 9 November 2012

The first full day

I spent the first full day on the Garrison, just searching all cover for migrants.  Cold NE 2-3 wind blowing, but there are plenty of birds around, and moving overhead too.  A couple of Blackcaps were feeding on the berries of an ornamental palm (name=?)  as well as working their way through the Escallonia hedges.  A handy picnic bench was a convenient perch to sit and paint at, even though it was drenched in dew.  While I was sat there, a couple of Redwing dropped in to the pittosporum hedges - the first I've properly seen this autumn.  Attempted some paint sketches, but they soon flew off.
Later a Lesser Whitethroat in pines on the edge of the Garrison (an unusual habitat for one), and great views of the Great Spotted Woodpecker in the lone pine in the Rifle Range / shooting butts.  This is only my 2nd ever Gt Spot on Scilly, my last being on Tresco in 1996. 

Later still, a male Ring Ouzel was present in the same spot where I'd been painting the Redwing and Dunnock this morning!  I spent some time taking photos of this bird, a series of superb shots, including a chance picture of the bird taking off, showing its underwing - an image frozen in time, too brief for the human mind to capture.  Then I somehow managed to delete the entire memory card, so the images don't exist any more.  You can't rely on technology.  It's a useful tool, but can't replace direct observation and sketching.  The ouzel got difficult, and having heard that a Wryneck had been showing well at Tolman Point / Porth Minnick, I decided to heard off for that.  A dumb decision really as I'd left it so long, but typical when I spend too long on one bird.  Needless to say it had gone to ground by the time I arrived there, so I cut my losses and attempted a Great Black-back instead.  But the light was fading fast and it soon flew off; more frustration.

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