Birding Heligoland in Late September

Volunteering on Heligoland for a month allowed me to get a way of adjusting migration patterns in autumn. The primary half of September (coated in my earlier submit) was very productive, however the second half delivered some even higher birding.

An instance of the modifications over this time have been the initially massive numbers of Whinchats. These birds have been omnipresent on the bushes and fence posts on the higher land of the island through the first weeks of my keep. Nearly in a single day, the Whinchats had disappeared and have been changed by European Stonechats adopting the identical positions on vantage factors throughout the island.

European Stonechat

Equally, I used to be very delighted once we awoke to Firecrests and Goldcrests flitting round and calling from each bush, and we generally ringed these lovable birds. Nonetheless, I used to be extra enthusiastic about some birds that made extra rare appearances. Having gone years with out ever seeing a Eurasian Wryneck, I used to be very blissful to look at three separate birds throughout my keep on Heligoland. I additionally felt barely mocked by the truth that the species is so common on passage right here that individuals don’t even report it within the rarities teams (since I very clearly confirmed my pleasure when somebody on the observatory talked about they noticed a wryneck on the seashore).

Eurasian Wryneck

Along with three different volunteers on the observatory, I discovered a pleasant vagrant within the type of a Larger Brief-toed Lark. This discovery was a little bit of a fuss as we initially targeted on the close by waders as an alternative and put it off as a Eurasian Skylark. It fortuitously remained for a lot of days, permitting many birders to attach with it regardless of the preliminary confusion. We did see Eurasian Skylark, along with Horned Lark, as effectively although.

Larger Brief-toed Lark

One of the best chook throughout my time on the island was found one afternoon, once we have been shocked to learn a message within the rarities group: “Isabelline Shrike, north-eastern space”. A dash ensued, and inside minutes we have been combing the situation along with a steadily rising variety of different birders (or twichers, though on Heligoland just about each birder turns into a twitcher as a result of twitching right here means simply strolling for 10 minutes). Empty-handed, we needed to return to the observatory for the ultimate trapping and ringing session for the day. Fortuitously, the chook was relocated and we did see it within the night (or components of it – the chook was extraordinarily secretive).

Snow Bunting nevertheless confirmed very effectively – I lay down on the seashore throughout a noon break and watched this chook forage on the minimal focusing distance of my lens. Along with Little, Rustic, Widespread Reed, Ortolan, and Lapland Buntings, this amounted to a powerful six bunting species recorded in September.

Snow Bunting

We weren’t as profitable with coastal and pelagic birds, sadly. Purple-throated Diver, Caspian Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Little Gull, Black Guillemot, Arctic Skua, and Northern Fulmar have been seen alongside the ever-present Black-legged Kittiwake, Razorbill, and Widespread Guillemot. We hoped for some uncommon shearwaters however only a few have been seen, and all the time by different birders.

Widespread Guilemmot

A spotlight of my time was on the ultimate day, after I lastly linked with a chook I’ve been desirous to see for ages: Purple-throated Pipit. The person was discovered within the south harbour space and allowed prolonged views, in contrast to most birds seen on the island as they fly overhead. Normally, additionally it is immature birds which are seen on Heligoland, making this particular person with its rosy throat notably particular.

Purple-throated Pipit

This sighting was the cherry on prime of my keep on Heligoland. I’m sure that I’ll attempt to slot in one other go to to the island subsequent 12 months, as your entire setting with the opposite individuals on the observatory and the birding on the island made for a really rewarding time.

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