Going to the 2014 Rutland Bird Fair? If so, please visit the Bird Observatories Council (BOC) stand where Dr Kevin Woodbridge (Founder) and Alison Duncan (Warden) of North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory will be. Not only can you find out about all of the British Bird Observatories but you can also pick up & fill in a 'Friends of NRBO' form and be automatically entered into our prize draw as well as receive our latest bird report & much more. See below for more details...

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

18th - 19th August

The north-westerly winds persist, but as expected the occasional interesting bird trickles in despite the blustery conditions. After a rather stationary 18th when a Swift was the only new bird the 19th was such a day with a juvenile Red-necked Phalarope the pick of the arrivals, joining the lingering adult on Gretchen Loch. Another Phalarope sp. was seen on a sea-watch (also thought likely to be Red-necked) but just too distant to identify, with other sightings from a 2 hour effort being 28 Manx and a single Sooty Shearwater, 8 Storm Petrel and 749 Fulmars-including the first dark morph of the year. A Common Rosefinch in Holland gardens was also the first of 2014 with a Sand Martin around the south end the only other passerine of note.

 
Red-necked Phalaropes


Sunday, 17 August 2014

16th to 17th August

Not much to report in difficult conditions on a wet and windy 16th-a couple each of Green Sandpipers and Sand Martins most notable. With the forecast rain failing to materialise on 17th it was more pleasant birding, but after a calm start the wind had increased to near gale force by afternoon. The Barred Warbler was still at Holland House in the morning, where a/the Tree Pipit flew over and there were also 2 each of Garden and Willow Warblers. A moulting, adult Red-necked Phalarope on Gretchen Loch from mid-morning proved entertaining and may have been the bird first seen a few days ago? 48 Black-tailed Godwits were split between two flocks and Ruff continue to be prominent with at least 49 today-although the actual total could easily be closer to 70!

Arctic Skua


Saturday, 16 August 2014

13th to 15th August

Familiar waders continued to feature as with the previous few days on the 13th but the undoubted highlight was a Red-necked Phalarope on Gretchen Loch briefly in the afternoon. The 14th was a smelly affair with a 9 hour 'Fulmarathon' to ring the chicks along the coast taking priority. A total of 120 were ringed (great experience for our 3 trainee ringers) and the first stranding of adults this year added 10 more to the day's tally. Casual sightings during the day included a Black Redstart, 2 Common Sandpipers and at least 17 Ruff. There was more to report from the 15th which began with 4 Sooty and 12 Manx Shearwaters on a mornings sea-watch. The Golden Plover flock increased again to a minimum of 1250 birds, and found among them mid-afternoon was a smart, adult American Golden Plover. Black-tailed Godwits increased to 32 and at least the same number of Ruff were present, along with 2 Greenshank, 2 Wood Sandpipers and 3 Common Sandpipers. A group of 6 Pochard were on Hooking and a few passerines were also seen with the same Barred Warbler as last week at Holland House again along with 3 Garden Warblers and a Tree Pipit.
 
Its been a busy few days for the observatory, with half the team currently off the island at the Rutland Birdfair. So if your there too-don't forget to visit the Bird Observatory Council stand in Marquee 2 (stand 17) to find out how you can win a week's stay for 2 at NRBO by supporting our work and becoming a 'friend'.
 
 
Record shot's of today's American Golden Plover-plumage features match those of a bird photographed on South Uist last week.  This is the earliest autumn record for the island and it comes just as last month's Pacific might have moved on having been missing for a few days.
 
Greenshank

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

11th to 12th August

As expected, it's migrant waders continue to dominate the sightings. An impressive 35 Ruff (including a flock of 27!), 7 Greenshanks and 11 Green Sandpipers were recorded on 11th with the respective totals for the 3 species dropping to 21, 4 and 1 the following day. A group of 17 Black-tailed Godwits also pitched in that day while the adult Pacific Golden Plover was noted again on the former date. 3 Pochards were new, and though passerines have been in short supply (up to 2 Garden and 4 Willow Warblers) a Whinchat in the Observatory crops was widely appreciated having been the spring's 'bogey bird'.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

9th - 10th August

The autumn sprung into life in dramatic fashion, but we had to endure what must have been one of the heaviest days rain in the islands history on the 9th to get it! From dawn till dusk, torrential downpours battered the island forcing moving waders to drop in in impressive numbers with immediate effect. Birding was virtually impossible, but several pairs of waterlogged binoculars did manage to record a minimum of 14 Greenshanks (equal record count), 11 Green Sandpipers (record island count)and 13 Ruffs. The Pacific Golden Plover was seen at Holm, a Pied Flycatcher at Sangar and 3 Willow Warblers were noted on a soggy walk around the north end in the evening. With the rain clearing away on 10th, birding was a much more pleasant experience and plenty of birds were still around to see. A Barred Warbler caught and ringed at Holland gardens was followed by another at Antabrek a few hours later, with 3 Willow Warblers scattered about and a Black Redstart at Nouster. The Green Sandpiper record was broken again with 13 birds now present, along with 8 Common Sandpipers, 10 Greenshank and 14 Ruff while the first Peregrine for almost 3 months flew over the observatory, and a Common Tern was among the Arctic Tern flock at the south end. 
 
Green Sandpipers
 
Barred Warbler


Saturday, 9 August 2014

7th to 8th August

After a blast of easterly winds and some overnight rain a few migrant passerines were expected on the 7th, and exactly 4 Warblers were recorded! A couple of Garden Warblers were in Holland Gardens and the first Willow Warbler of the autumn shared a dyke at Nether Linnay with the first Icterine Warbler of the year-after a rare, blank spring for the species. After lunch a Honey Buzzard was picked up over Ancum Loch, and presumably having landed somewhere on the west coast was seen heading south over the observatory almost an hour later. The Pacific Golden Plover was seen on both days, with other wader highlights being a Common and 2 Green Sandpipers on 7th with a single of the latter and 6 Ruffs on 8th when a Kestrel was also seen.

Icterine Warbler


Thursday, 7 August 2014

4th - 6th August

Present on all dates were a single Heron, the Pacific Golden Plover and 2 Swifts on 4th reduced to singles on 5th and 6th whilst Ruffs reversed the trend increasing from 1 to 6. Two Green Sandpipers were seen on 5th and a Common Sandpiper, 5 Black-tailed Godwits120 Dunlins and a Garden Warbler at Scots Ha on 6th is hopefully the start of Autumn migration. A Pink-footed Goose at Hooking was most likely the lingering late Spring bird.


 Pacific Golden Plover
 
Ruff


Sunday, 3 August 2014

1st - 3rd August

Returning adult waders continue to trickle in whilst the first migrants appear, including Black Redstart and a couple of Sedge Warblers, the latest trapped at the Bird Obsevatory The Pacific Golden Plover remains and seawatching has started brilliantly with the first Sooty Shearwater and 87 Manx Shearwaters on 2nd followed today by a record breaking 291 Manx Shearwaters in just two hours before fog halted proceedings. Also seen were 4 Sooty Shearwaters, 426 Fulmars and 437 Puffins. Later in the afternoon 4 Greenshanks were seen flying over Ancum.
Adult Purple Sandpipers

Saturday, 2 August 2014

30th -31st July

All notable sightings on 30th but for a Collared Dove were typically waders with the Pacific Golden Plover still, 4 Knot, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Whimbrel and 107 Turnstone. The 31st saw the first Rock Pipit over and a Ruff was by Holm.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

26th to 29th July

Plenty of sleepless nights with 3 consecutive sessions of Storm Petrel ringing between the 26th and 28th. Totals for the overnight trapping have been 71, 104 and 98 respectively with single Leach's Petrels also caught and ringed each time. Daytime highlights included a Hobby which flew south past the observatory on 29th and the Pacific Golden Plover seen again in fields at the south end on 28th. Counts of waders included 164 Oystercatchers, 193 Dunlins, 19 Knot and 97 Sanderlings on 27th, 6 Whimbrel on 28th and 11 Black-tailed Godwits on 29th. A Pink-footed Goose was new in on 27th, while a Pochard, 18 Lesser black-backed Gulls and 213 Common Gulls were of note on 29th.

Friday, 25 July 2014

24th to 25th July

Despite the persistent fog causing havoc with transport to and from the island in the last couple of days there have been a few things to see. The Pacific Golden Plover was seen both days, mainly around the Holland/Mill area with at least 600 Golden Plovers for company, while 153 Dunlin and 14 Knot were counted on 24th. A Green Sandpiper was in the Gretchen area again while a juvenile Cuckoo at Westness was new. Overnight the second Leach's Petrel of the year was caught and ringed along with 17 Storm Petrels.

Cuckoo


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

23rd July

With the Golden Plover flock having built to over a thousand birds yesterday, it perhaps wasn't all that surprising when an adult Pacific Golden Plover was found near Holland mid-morning. After initially being quite mobile around the south-east of the island it went on to favour newly cut fields in the Greenwall/Mill area where it showed well despite the foggy conditions. A minimum of 750 Golden Plovers were also seen along with at least 7 Black-tailed Godwits while overnight 18 Storm Petrels were caught and ringed at the observatory.


Pacific Golden Plover-The 10th (and 3rd in 4 years) to have visited North Ronaldsay!! There can't be any better place in the UK to potentially see the species.



Tuesday, 22 July 2014

20th to 22nd July

The Roseate Tern was back in the Westness Tern colony on the 21st, but it was only present in the morning and has been looked for several times before and after so it obviously visits other parts of the island too. Otherwise it's been returning Waders which have generated the most interest, with a couple of Green Sandpipers on Ancum Loch on 20th, a single near the Observatory the next day when the first Greenshank of the Autumn flew over, the first juvenile Ruff was at Holm on 22nd and 1047 Golden Plovers were counted.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

17th to 19th July

Familiar species continue to pass through the island each day and there was even some unexpected quality on the 19th. The sea-watching season has only just began so the eleventh island record of Balearic Shearwater, which passed by the hide at close range mid-morning was a nice early highlight. More surprising was that the bird flew east with 99% of sea-birds on the move, like the 10 Manx Shearwaters also seen, flying west-perhaps a bird feeding in the area? Topping this though was an adult Roseate Tern (probably present since 15th) among the Arctic's at Westness which becomes just the seventh North Ronaldsay record and the eight individual following last years pair. It showed briefly around mid-day before disappearing but was re-located in the evening and performed brilliantly. Wader species showing signs of increase the same day included 23 Knot, 167 Dunlins and 22 Bar-tailed Godwits, while on 18th 230 Oystercatchers were counted and on 17th a group of 6 Black tailed Godwits dropped into Gretchen briefly. The Grey Phalarope was still there on 17th with a Green Sandpiper and a Pochard at Bridesness. A few single Swifts have also been seen and on 18th a Sand Martin was on the Links and a Carrion Crow at the Observatory.

 
 Roseate Tern

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

12th to 16th July

There have been a few more signs of Autumn migration each day with Wader numbers continuing to build, especially after a blast of easterly winds on 16th. The majority of sightings came from that date when 897 Golden Plovers were counted, along with 144 Dunlins and 148 Redshanks. A Green Sandpiper was heard calling over the Observatory in the evening while there was an unusual mid-summer record of an Iceland Gull near the Lighthouse. 16 Lesser black-backed Gulls were also at the north end, a Common Tern on Gretchen Loch with a Swift there too. The summering Grey Phalarope was seen on 12th and 15th, with 2 Little Gulls still present on the former date and a Collared Dove and Common Redpoll on the latter. The busiest Storm Petrel ringing session so far saw 44 caught and ringed overnight 15th/16th with a Leach's Petrel seen around the nets the same night.

Iceland Gull
 
Juvenile Twite