Saturday, 26 November 2016

The 200 barrier

This year I set out to achieve 200 species on my year list having failed the past two years but getting my highest year list total ever.
Though this year felt good even though it got off to a poor start.

After coming off Fair Isle in the middle of October I was on a respectable 199!! I spent the last two days hunting for Mistle Thrush across the islands cliff, the peak number of 11 at one stage that didn't even help for me to see a single one!!

An Isabelline Wheatear had been found the day before I came off Fair Isle (16th) at the Loch of Spiggie, so the next day I headed straight down for that.
I arrived on site and Mark Chapman was looking for the bird but he hadn't seen it so I had a look around the surrounding fields and I spotted this large thrush in the park.
It was big and the ID hit me straight away, a large white bellied thrush with spots running down and a greyish head, Mistle Thrush!! then another thought clicked into place, I'd just broken 200 for the year!

I'd finally reached my target, and you could say I was a bit more than happy, to be honest I felt I would struggle to reach my target but here I am, already reached it!
I had a funny feeling that Mistle Thrush would be my 200th, and that I would have it on Shetland, typical that I spent days hunting for them in Fair Isle!
Though a lifer was still to come, Rob Fray rolled up and asked us if we'd had the Isabelline Wheatear to which we said no as we couldn't see it anywhere, that was because A) we were looking on the wrong side of the road!
Rob had just had it on the opposite side of the road from us so we turned our attention there, it only took a few frantic seconds but we tracked it down! a lovely pale Wheatear, much paler than our own ones, would be my 201st bird for the year and a lifer!
The bird bounded around for a bit before disappearing around a hill and that was the last we saw of it!
I was pretty pleased with that, we thanked Rob and tried our shot at a Bullfinch he'd seen up the road and a Pied Wheatear down at Scatness but with no luck, though our day had certainly been good!

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