Thursday, 14 November 2013

CAPE MAY WARBLER: 2nd for the Western Palearctic!!!!!!!

This is a post about my way up to see the Cape May Warbler in Unst with Alan Leitch and my granddad Tommy Tyler.

The link back to my Fair Isle blog post

The Cape May Warbler has only been seen in the Western Palarctic once before and that was in Paisley Glen, Renfrewshirenear Glasgow on the 17th June 1977

The story of the first Cape May Warbler in Great Britain/the Western Palearctic which stayed for a day

A news article about the second

And here is the story by the finder, Mike Pennigton

So here is the story of how I got to see the Cape May Warbler.

The story started on the night of the 24th when I was at log.

Log then started and afterwards I sat myself among a group of birders who were talking about the Cape May Warbler, Alan said he was going out on the morning flight the next day and how he'd love to see it, I told him that I was going on the same flight and I could arrange for us to go.
Twenty minutes later we had made a plan to give us anoth time to see the bird and get Alan to the Northlink at 5pm, I then said goodbye to everyone in the Lounge because I would probably not be seeing them again.
When I got back to Quoy I spoke with my granddad Tommy and we arranged everything for the next day, the ferries, traveling times etc.

When we arrived at the airstrip at 7:50 on the 25th Alan and his wife were there and at 8.15 the plane arrived and we got on it,  25 minutes later we arrived at Tingall Airport and Tommy was waiting to pick us up.
So we then headed north to the ferry at Toft but with a few stops and detours along the way.
On the way north I got a text from David saying that the Cape May Warbler was still in Unst!
Our first stop was at the Loch of Voe trees, we started at the south side of the trees where we spotted five "mealy" Redpolls and a flyover Common Crossbill.
We then started walking north through the trees and we found two Blackbirds and two Song Thrushes.
After being quite happy with our sightings we went to a garden in Voe where a Red-flanked Bluetail had been seen previously in the week.
Sadly the Bluetail had gone but we did find a lot of birds twenty Redwings, two Chiffchaffs, four Brambling, a Wren, several Fieldfares, three Woodpigeon and some Starlings.
We then made our way to Brae and on the way we spotted Ten Wigeon, a Curlew, six Teal, seven Redshank, seven Snipe and ten Turnstone.
We went through Brae and then to Sullom Voe and we had a look at a large pool which was good for waders and ducks.
On the pool was three Bar-tailed Godwits, about fifty Golden Plovers, fourty Redshank, four Teal and four Red-breasted Mergansers.
We then went to the Toft ferry Terminal and we caught the 10:55 ferry to Yell.
We then drove up to Gutcher and we spoke to Dennis Coutts and a birder who lived in Wester Quraff who were also coming to see the Cape May Warbler, we all then caught the 11:55 ferry to Belmont, we got off the ferry 10 minutes later and we went straight to Baltasound to see the Cape May Warbler.
We took the first left in Baltasound and we went towards the school, immediately as we came round the corner to the school we saw several cars parked up along with some birders.
The three of us got straight out and we spoke to the birders, they said that they had lost the bird a while ago.
So Alan, myself and a pilot of a charter plane went to have a look in the trees at the school.
We had a look in the trees but we couldn't find anything so I went back to see if Tommy and the birders had found anything.
I got back and Tommy had seen something fly into a bush, we all huddled round and soon a Blackcap flew out.
Then I spotted a man waving frantically from an old house at the back of the Old Manse (he was definitely trying to tell us that he found the bird) and everyone hurried over there.
The bird was in a Sycamore tree, then I caught sight of it on the ground and I got some great looks but even better the bird flew away from the Sycamore and onto a wall eight metres way! my camera was up and I got five photos and then the bird flew away onto a wall about thirty metres away.
I got my binoculars on the bird and I got some great views of it before it flew off and the bird disappeared.
The Cape May Warbler was a first for all of us and it was the first time any of us had seen an American Warbler.

My own photo of the Cape May,
(this photo has been cropped, see below)

The original photo

Action Mode!

Afterwards we spoke to a birder with a huge camera lens, he showed us how far away it could zoom and it took a pretty clear photo of a mast 2600 metres away! (2.6 Kilometres).
We then headed back to the Belmont ferry terminal to catch the 1:45 ferry.
So in the end Tommy dropped me off in Mid Yell and then he ran Alan down to Lerwick.
And that ended a great and amazing day...

I had an amazing time in Fair Isle and it was great to meet and speak to all the people who I came across.
I would like to thank everyone at the Obs for being so nice and helping me out.
Also of course I would like to thank Tommy, Henry and Liz because without them I don't think I would of done so many great things and seen so many great birds.
Finally I would like to thank Triona and Stewart for letting myself stay with them, unfortunately I didn't get to see much of Stewart since he was stuck on Shetland but he enjoyed himself
It was so good to see everyone on the Island and I can't wait to come back next year.

Here is the list of birds I saw in Fair Isle

New Species= Dusky Warbler, Dotterel, Red-throated Pipit, Richard's Pipit, Hawfinch, Yellowhammer and Paddyfield Warbler

Total Species= 83

House Sparrow
Rock Dove
Meadow Pipit (Teetick or a Hill Sporrow)
Dusky Warbler
Skylark (Leverk)
Pink-footed Goose
Greylag Goose (Gros Gos)
"Fair Isle" Wren (Sisti Mus)
Snow Bunting (Snaa Ful)
Barnacle Goose (Horra Gos)
Snipe (Snippick)
Merlin (Smirl or a Maalin)
Song Thrush
Eider (Dunter)
Gannet (Solan)
Grey Heron (Haegrie)
Turnstone (Steynpikker)
Golden Plover (Lu)
Raven (Corbie)
Red-throated Pipit
Herring Gull
Kittiwake (Rippick Maa)
Lesser Redpoll
Hen Harrier
Mealy Redpoll
Great Black-backed Gull (Swaabie)
Twite (Lintie)
Redshank (Ebb Cock
Richard's Pipit
Rock Pipit (Tieteck or a Banks Sporrow)
Olive-backed Pipit
Wheatear (Chak or a Steynshakker)
Great Skua (Bonxie)
Long-tailed Duck (Calloo)
Shag (Scarf)
Curlew (Whap)
Mallard (Stock Deuk)
Hooded Crow
Fulmar (Maalie or Maalie Monk)
"Tristis" Chiffchaff
Tufted Duck
Red-throated Diver (Rain Gos)
Common Scoter
Little Bunting
Reed Bunting
Jack Snipe
Water Rail
Black-headed Gull (Hoody Maa)
Common Gull (Peerie Maa)
Siberian Rubythroat
Short-eared Owl
Great-spotted Woodpecker
Paddyfield Warbler
Dunlin (Pliver's Page
Common Guillemot (Longvi)
Black Guillemot (Tystie)
Great-northern Diver (Immer Gos)
Red-breasted Merganser (Herald Deuk)
Whooper Swan
Iceland Gull
Common Crossbill

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