3rd September. The countdown begins

Well my prediction of Willet fell flat on its arse. Seems more likely that the voice in my head was actually saying Willow Tit as that was one of the 'highlights' of my Saturday morning visit to Whiston Meadows.
With the onset of autumn now upon us it's only natural (from a birding point) to get excited about the coming months offerings and perhaps get all nostalgic about previous autumns. So will this years Shetland trip come up trumps again, 2005 was reasonable, 2006 was great and 2007 blew away the previous two. Surely sooner or later things will turn bad? However perhaps the real reason that so far there has been a year on year improvement is the number of visiting birders. If you're to believe the waffle on Bird Forum then this year the Northern Isles will be awash with birders. But just how active they will be remains to be seen. New visitors unfamiliar with the islands may be unaware just how much land there is to cover and how difficult the areas are to work. What always amazes me is the amount of people who appear, as if from nowhere, the minute a 'rare' makes an appearance. In comparison when the 'rares' are absent you can wander around pretty much anywhere north and south and see no one - where do they all come from? Another important fact that might affect the productivity of this year is the absence of the 'Punks' who after a couple of very successful years have thrown in the towel and headed south west!! Like it or not they found a lot of good stuff and I'm sure they will be missed. My main worry however is the apparent influx may affect the pie supply, with this in mind I may have to pre-order my provisions!! Anyway here's a few pics from the last two years to wet the appetite which incidentally were either found by us or the 'punks'.


John Hague said...

Thought I'd better get my pie-eye in or should say I'm likely to get pie-eyed?

I suspect given the diagnostic features that is a Lasagne Pie, probably of the subspecies sandwickii.

Mark said...

It is indeed a Lasagne Pie of the race Sandwickii. The form Toabii is distinct in that it lacks the freshness of Toabii particularly on a Sunday afternoon.

Andy Mackay said...

The big question is whether South Mainland has been good the last two years because of the extra birders, or whether it actually is the best place for 'rares'? I suspect a lot of good birds are being missed elsewhere because of everyone's obsession with the extreme tip of South Mainland (i.e. Toab - Sumburgh Head).

Perhaps if the extreme south really is heaving with tossers this year we should 'sack it off' a bit more often and go to some of the less watched places?

On the other hand, it could just be like Scilly used to be - hundreds of twitchers crawling out of the woodwork when something good turns up, but who wouldn't recognise a Pechora Pipit or a Paddyfield Warbler if it landed on the end of their scope.

John Hague said...

Oh I'm looking forward to some good pies and pie related nonsense. Did you watch the Hairy Bakers on Monday? It was a veritable 'pie-fest'

Mark said...

Yes John I did see the Hairy Bakers. Left me drooling watching that Aberdeen bakery - yum.