So October came and went, without too much to show for it, unless you count a little flush of quackers that started with Shoveler, exactly as predicted last time round (but only my third on the island and my first addition in 23 days) and culminated in two Ferruginous Ducks along with a grubby Pochard, arriving next day and still present at the time of writing. That latter appears to be the first island record, as far as I can ascertain, and hence rarer than Little Crake, if you take the parochial view. By any standards, November has somewhat stumbled along too, and, despite some great birding and significant finds to be made elsewhere in the country, most of it has passed us by here. So desperate have times become that I am now reduced to having to go chase other people’s birds, but, with seemingly half the BTO breathing down my neck, I can’t be complacent. Hence I sent Steve out to work his magic on Sunday and followed in his slipstream once I could make an early get-away today: I didn’t need his Hume’s Warbler thanks to this (which was a good job, as I failed this time round) so could concentrate on a recalcitrant and grouchy Red-breasted Flycatcher (at last – was starting to think I was cutting it fine on that one) and, miles better, a wicked Robin that, after a lot of teasing, eventually came out to the tape and showed brilliantly. And was still singing half an hour later when I went back through again. This will hardly seem ground breaking if you are based in the New Forest or Norfolk but out here Robins are ethereal, very scarce and near-invisible chats and, being pale, grey-tinged eastern birds, not bad looking either once you finally get to grips with one. My last on AD was September 2008, and I’ve only seen two others elsewhere in the country since. The last was one I found last December in the west, then twitched by Steve for his year list this January, so some sort of faintly resonating justice there in the end.
I guess 20 Hypocolius aren’t too be sniffed at either, and other decent local records have included a few more Spoonbills, another Pintail, Night Heron again (more this year than ever, by some margin), a few late-running Tree Pipits and the first stonechats and Daurian Shrikes back with aplomb.
Total so far - 193 (107%)
Last additions – Red-breasted Flycatcher and European Robin (13th November)