After the successful twitch of the Elegant Tern in Valencia we flew to Corsica. The Island hosts a number of endemics and specialities. The first morning we woke up in the dark so that we could be at the spot for California Quail well before sunrise. Mårten and his friend Martin Berg slept in this very same vineyard almost ten years ago. We playbacked the quail at first light and after a couple of minutes we hear a response from inside the forest. We go closer and position ourselves silently, hidden, waiting for the Quails to come out into the vineyard. The male responds several times and soon we see a few birds poorly some distance away. We playback some more but eventually go closer. The family group took to the wings and flew into the forest. No pics, but decent quick views. The Quail is supposedly difficult to hear and see, so I guess we were lucky.
We moved on towards a spot known for Marmora Warbler, we stopped abruptly on the mountain road instead because we saw Siskins along the road side. And, yes, for sure the Corsican Finch were abundant in the right habitat.
With that cleared up we continued to one of the spots for Marmora Warbler. This is July and nesting season is over, birds are in principle not singing any longer. The Marmora Warbler responded to playback as if there was no tomorrow though. With non-singing birds, finding a skulky Sylvia without playback would be a most time consuming activity.
Last endemic was the Corsican Nuthatch. After a fantastic breakfast in a little mountain village we drove higher, into the high altitude pine forests and almost immediately found a family group of Corsican Nuthatch.
That was fast, all four of Corsicas specialities cleared up in a single morning.
Also common on the Island as a whole was the Mediterranean
Flycatcher. This picture shows nicely the lack of spots on the belly, it’s not a Spotted Flycatcher.
Time to move on, we had no fresh information on the Albatross in Sylt, so that – in combination with very expensive flight tickets to Hamburg made us decide to just fly to Paris and decide there and then what to do next. Once in Paris, we opted to go to London instead of Hamburg. There were quite a few good birds waiting for us on the English east-coast. We drove north from London and slept halfway. When we woke up, we received some boring news. Two of the target birds on the east-coast were gone, and American Golden Plover and a White-rumped Sandpiper had decided to move on the day before. We went for the remaining Pectoral Sandpiper which we failed to find. Just as we’re about to leave the reserve, a local birder found the Sandpiper. Nice.
Spectacular sanctuary with awesome birding in general. The brits have some amazing birding areas.
At this point we were at a loss what to do, nothing more for us in England really. It’s not especially easy to be spontaneous while traveling in England. We have become used to proper Internet connection while driving. This is just not the case in England and it’s irritating. We did see quite a few signs advertising “Psychic Mediums” though and Mårten suggested that – maybe that is how they communicate here.
However a report came in showing that the Albatross had been seen in Sylt the day before. We found cheap tickets from Manchester to Hamburg and immediately embarked on the quite complicated trip to Sylt which including a car train out to island itself. We drove to Niebull, parked as number two the queue for the train and slept a few hours in the car. Took the first train at 5 in the morning. Arrived at the spot and the Albatross was not there, and it also started to rain and we didn’t really have proper rain gear with us. Had breakfast and waited for the rain to stop. Went back to the area where the Albatross had been seen most of the times and the bird still wasn’t there. At this point we started to argue about tactics, and then suddenly it just came flying in. What a twitch.