The Extra Day
I intimated yesterday that I'd tell you about the highlight of the Shearwater and Skua Cruise. I'm sure you've all been on tenterhooks waiting and I'm also sure that none of you would guess chaffinches was the answer.
Towards the end of the cruise when we were heading back we were caught up by a group of four chaffinches. These little birds had just crossed the North Sea!!! and were now battling into a headwind to make landfall. They were keeping just above the waves and seemed in danger of being caught by any slightly higher wave. They also seemed in danger of being picked off by the Gulls (we'd seen a Redwing being taken earlier), but they battled on beside our boat and to the best of our knowledge made it. So that's a bird that's not exactly the strongest flyer, weighing around 20g that's just crossed the North Sea into a headwind - truly the highlight of the cruise.
Today's photo is of a Yellow-browed warbler. This bird was reported as coming ashore yesterday having undergone probably the same journey as the Chaffinches but it only weighs 7g. Normally a bird of bushy coastal vegetation, this one was taking a well deserved rest inside the Foghorn enclosure at Flamborough Head, just a wee bit off course on its journey from Siberia to SE Asia. It's a mistake quite a few Yellow-browed warblers make and as this guy was looking quite healthy I trust he'll get his compass sorted out and meet up with his mates.
Why the title The Extra Day? Well when my good friend Brian was looking forward to retirement one of the things he really wanted to do was to be on holiday and have the ability to just say "You know what, I think we'll just stay here an extra day" - I can report that he did achieve his ambition, and as we were originally planning on heading home yesterday, this was our Extra Day.