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Mon 26th October 2009

Posted on October 26, 2009 at 5:40 PM

birds : After getting the kids breakfasted and Anais off to pre-school, we sat outside with our cuppas at about 9 am since it was a very mild day for the time of year. I soon noticed a few small flocks of Meadow Pipits passing through westwards, notable because they were migrating very low, just above the house roof level. With this "vismig" going on I decided a morning of pruning and clipping in the garden was in order. So for the next 2 or 3 hours as I worked away, I recorded over a hundred each of Meadow Pipit and Chaffinch going over, plus single Skylark and Grey Wagtail. Not massive numbers I know, but I wasn't watching constantly and there were more passing I'm sure. Then, just as I was packing away to have lunch at about 12:30, I heard a call from the other side of the house and I thought "that's the first Redwing of the day". I waited for the bird to appear over the roof and rather than seeing a small thrush, I was very surprised to see a pipit quite low above my head. Then it suddenly called again - a loud and clear "psseeeee" and I knew straight away that it was a RED-THROATED PIPIT. It headed purposefully SW and away and left me pretty shocked.

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I have been listening out for this species in Guernsey for a long time as it has not been recorded here before, although it must occur from time to time. The initial thought that it was a Redwing was not surprising as they have a similar-toned call - but Redwings being more subtle and fainter - and I was lucky that it chose to call again when I was watching it other wise I would have assumed they were different birds. So I was well-chuffed as they say and another top bird for the house list. Whether a flyover bird calling twice is acceptable for a first for Guernsey is another question which the rarities committee may have to decide.

Categories: 2009 Autumn