It's been another quiet wildlife-watching week at Tense Towers, with little opportunity of spending time 'out in the field'. Which is not to say that I haven't had a few chance encounters with Nature as I went about my day-to-day business.
On Wednesday, whilst working in Shetland, I saw my first Whooper Swans of the Autumn as I drove by a loch, and this sighting was quickly followed by a pair of Goosander near Scalloway.
Orkney had a huge fall of thrushes on Thursday, a fact of which I was oblivious as I left home in the dark. Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Redwings, and Ring Ouzels were everywhere apparently, along with smaller members of the chat family, such as Redstarts.
So, on Friday afternoon, as I unloaded my van at home, I was pleasantly surprised to find a Robin flitting about the front of the house. Yay! Our seasonal visitation from a single Robin! No sooner had I unleashed that thought, when a mewling call from the field opposite attracted my attention. A pair of greyish birds were headed towards me, very low to the ground, the second one hell bent on mobbing the first one. As they neared, I realised that the mobber was a gull, whilst the mobbee was a male Hen Harrier. The resulting flyby put up a wisp of eight Snipe, who circled overhead alarm calling, before heading for safer pastures. Shortly afterwards, Our Lass returned home, and whilst I recounted the birdy news, she spotted a flock of something heading our way. With a bounding flight and countless 'tseep' calls, a big (at least several hundred) group of Redwings performed a slow circuit above the house and disappeared back in the direction they had come from.
This morning, I spotted a lone Hare loping across the field opposite, and so grabbed my bins to watch it. During this action, my gaze picked up a Redwing perched on a wire fence. When it subsequently flew off, I scanned the rest of the fence and was delighted to find two Bramblings in amongst the local House Sparrow flock. I think this is a first for us of this species at Tense Towers. As our attention was now fully occupied with staring out of the window, we also spotted a pair of Song Thrushes.
Perhaps the current easterly winds are bringing more birds in, or keeping in place the ones that are already here.