Tuesday, 22 September 2015

St Davids Hd am (Harrier)

Just back from Fair Isle where I'd been watching a juv Pallid Harrier with Hen Harriers all week and what suddenly appears in Porthmelgan Valley? Yep a juv lightweight Harrier with unstreaked orange underparts and dark secondaries. I suspect it had missed prey and so was circling up from the valley floor. It was clearly slim-winged, particularly the 'hand' and there was no doubt it was either a Pallid or Monty's but the head pattern wasn't clear to see as it rose against the sky and drifted towards me, awkwardly backlit. I had found the head pattern on the Fair Isle bird could be easy or difficult to make out depending on the light etc and so it didn't mean much. I tried to concentrate on the inner primary tips and could not make out any significant dark areas, sufficient to form a 'border' but don't know how difficult this is to make out on Monty's, not having had recent experience of a juv. There didn't appear to be all-dark tips to the primaries so I think Pallid has to be favourite and a bit more time or a couple of photos would have given the evidence but I had left my camera in the car since the forecast was for heavy rain at times. The bird flew off towards Whitesands/Ramsey Sound and I was able to get a message, via Rich B, to Greg and Lisa on Ramsey. Hopefully, since it has appeared on the island, it may just hang around and get nailed.

A few other birds today included Whinchat, Reed Warbler, 3 Blackcaps, 2 Spotted Flycatchers and about 15 Goldcrests. Robins have arrived while I was away and are holding winter territories (interestingly the first autumn Robin on Fair Isle was last Wednesday so a completely different type of event). No Dunnocks there yet but loads here along with a dozen Choughs. After the far north it was strange not to see Yellow-browed Warbler but they must be on their way with record numbers currently arriving in Shetland and Orkney.