Today ended up being THE day but it took a bit of time. There were no birds in the air in the morning but we slowly started realising that a lot of Yellow-browed Warblers had arrived. Six here, 10 there, 30 in the nests gave a day total of over 70. But where were the other birds? An OBP that had been ringed two days ago fell into a net again but was not seen or heard in the field and otherwise there was just a couple of Redstarts and Garden Warblers that were new. A flyover Common Buzzard that was later seen on Røst looked like it was going to be bird of the day (less than annual in Nordland and a new species for Værøy) but things changed after I had given up for the day.
It had gone 6pm and after 11 hours in the field I was already in the house and washing up (I am VERY domesticated) when Kjell came in, changed the lens on his camera to 50mm and said “I know something you don’t know” or words to that effect. Geir also came with a smile on his face and I worked out that John had apparently caught something and was bringing it back to the house but they wouldn’t tell me what it was and made me guess. I eventually came to Siberian Thrush after a game of rarer/commoner but they then told me it was a joke and went outside. When I heard the car pull up I looked out the window and Kjell and Geirs actions made it clear that it was no joke! John had indeed caught a SIBERIAN THRUSH!
After that it was all a bit exciting with us fighting for the best photos and selfies but the bird was quickly ringed and released and flew straight into the closest tree where it then sat motionless high in a tree did its best Jack Snipe impression and was still there when we went inside (maybe we will find it again tomorrow).
What a bird and one that qualifies for the good old tag of Cosmic Mind F*cker and so good that I will temporarily put my ringing scruples (and principles) to one side. The ringing that the guys have carried out on Værøy the last few years has revealed few surprises in terms of rare birds (just about all the real rarities such as White’ Thrush, PGT Tips, Lancy and Pechora have been found in the field) but the information on Yellow-browed Warblers has been very interesting with hardly any retraps of birds both within the same and on subsequent days and also very few field sightings of ringed birds showing that there is very high turnover of this species but also begging the question as to where they go right after they are ringed (is there a rare bird paradise on the island that we haven’t found?).
I’ve spent enough time blogging now so enjoy the pictures whilst we celebrate and look forward to what tomorrow (my last day) will bring J
|Siberian Thrush Værøy!|
|Kjell hardly had time to enjoy the bird with all the messages that needed sending!|
|after release - I resorted to flash on the superzoom|
|with blue eye|
|and the only flight shot I managed|
|post release with the bazooka - it was already quite dark|