I finally bit the bullet and spent a few nights on Rathlin from 5-8 October, giving it just some of the coverage it richly deserves at this time of year. Winds were from the SW up until the last day which brought a strong westerly with showers. I had a mixed few days, but am fairly pleased with what I managed to see given the unfavourable weather conditions.
Things got off to a promising start scoring a Garden Warbler (113) feeding in Church Valley in close company of 2 Blackcaps in the same thicket. Nice to claw back one of the species I missed back in the spring. Walking up through Ballyconagan I got my first glimpse of a rather large female Sparrowhawk which caused much panic in the nearby Meadow Pipits. I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that the area around the old Coastguards Station was good for buntings and plovers in autumn and was checked daily. First up on the 5th were a nice flock of 22 Golden Plover (114) but a good stomp around revealed just a single Skylark. On my way back to the main road I overheard the sound of one of my favourite birds – the Twite and was soon sat in the middle of a flock of 25 as they fed on withering seed heads.