Saturday, 19 May 2018

18th and 19th May

Another lovely day on the 18th, very calm with varying cloud cover coming and going; the days two main highlights came early on with a GREAT WHITE EGRET found on Ancum Loch early morning (a real island mega - only the 4th island record!) closely followed by a cracking female Hawfinch caught in Holland House gardens – our overdue first for the year.   The short list of other grounded migrants included 3 Woodpigeons, 2 Collared Doves, a Redwing, 9 Sedge Warblers, a Blackcap, 8 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, 7 Tree Sparrows and 2 Lesser Redpolls.

                The selection of lonely wildfowl still lingered with the Whooper Swan, Barnacle Goose and Pink-footed Goose remaining, a Wood Sandpiper was on Garso, 4 Garganey were spread over the lochs, influxes of 18 Great Skuas and 14 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were noted at the top end and the Kumlien’s Gull remained.

                Calm and sunny again first thing on the 19th but the southerly wind gradually picked up through the day to reach force 7 by the evening; there were again a nice list of scarcities across the island with the Great White Egret still on Ancum, a stunning female Nightjar trapped in Holland and a smart female Dotterel found in the afternoon on Torness – this seems to be the pattern so far this spring, a good spread of scarcities but very few common migrants (we still await our first Redstart, Whinchat, Pied Flycatcher and Grasshopper Warbler).

                Other migrant totals on the land comprised a Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Doves, a Black Redstart around Holland, a Fieldfare, a Whitethroat, a Blackcap, 9 Chiffchaffs, a Goldfinch, a Siskin, a Common Redpoll and 6 Carrion Crows.

                Wader totals included 196 Ringed Plovers, 3 Golden Plover, a Grey Plover, 95 Knot, 298 Sanderling, 90 Bar-tailed Godwits and 411 Turnstone while the pair of Garganey were still on Gretchen and the Kumlien’s Gull was still floating around.

Hawfinch                       Simon Davies

Nightjar                                Richard Yarnell

Friday, 18 May 2018

16th and 17th May

Yet another stunning, cloudless day on the 16th but with a chilly westerly breeze to remind you where you were; it was another quiet day in terms of grounded migrants with the highlight being a Nightingale caught in Holland House gardens in the evening (only the seventh island record).   Other totals included 4 Collared Doves, a good total of 37 Sand Martins, 2 Sedge Warblers, a Whitethroat, 3 Blackcap, 13 Chiffchaffs, 3 Willow Warblers, a Goldfinch, a Goldcrest and a Siskin.

                Also of note were 3 Garganey, a male Ruff, an excellent flock of 95 Bar-tailed Godwits roosting on Ancum, 2 Whimbrel and the Kumlien’s Gull still floating around the south of the island.

                Gorgeous again on the 17th, hardly a cloud in the sky or a breath of wind but slightly predictably it was slow in the field again (we are not at all jealous of all the birds on Shetland!); the two highlights of the day comprised a pair of Red-necked Phalaropes which pitched up on Gretchen and the Nightingale re-trapped in Holland House.   Migrant totals were even down on yesterday and included 3 Woodpigeons, a Collared Dove, a Redwing, 11 Sedge Warblers (mostly birds back on territory), 3 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler and a Goldfinch.

                Other little bits included a Heron (first one for two weeks), a good 5 Garganey (two pairs and an extra drake), totals of 191 Ringed Plovers, 188 Sanderling, 94 Bar-tailed Godwits and 394 Turnstone and the Kumlien’s Gull showing no signs of wanting to leave.

Nightingale                    Simon Davies

just keep walking....

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

14th and 15th May

A stunning day with hardly a cloud in the sky on the 14th and a light SE breeze; there was a decent spread of migrants across the island without it being jumping highlighted by 2 Long-eared Owls trapped in Holland at first light, 2 Red-backed Shrikes (females at the Obs and Nether Linney) and a female Bluethroat at Southness.   Other migrants included 5 Woodpigeons, 3 Collared Doves, 57 Swallows, a White Wagtail, 101 Wheatears, a Song Thrush, 4 Sedge Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Whitethroats, 3 Garden Warbler, 9 Blackcaps, 28 Chiffchaffs, 9 Willow Warblers, the first 4 Spotted Flycatchers of the year, 12 Carrion Crows, 3 Rook, 2 Common Redpolls, 3 Siskins and a Tree Sparrow.

                Also of note were counts of 81 Bar-tailed Godwits and 7 Whimbrel, the Kumlien’s Gull again and an adult female Peregrine along the west coast.

                Another lovely, warm, sunny day on the 15th until a band of rain moved in late evening causing the wind to dramatically pick up and switch to the west; there were fewer migrants logged through the day as counts included a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Kestrel, a Merlin, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Woodpigeons, 4 Collared Doves, 16 Sand Martins, a Tree Pipit, a Robin, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 15 Chiffchaffs, 4 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest, 2 Tree Sparrows, 2 Siskins and 3 Common Redpolls.

                Three Garganey were seen again along with the Whooper Swan and Pink-footed Goose still while some increased wader counts included 213 Ringed Plovers, 229 Sanderling, 68 Bar-tailed Godwits and 282 Turnstone.   The Kumlien’s Gull was floating around the Obs again and a new 2cy Glaucous Gull was seen over the airstrip.

Long-eared Owl                                      Simon Davies

Turnstone                               Simon Davies

Sunday, 13 May 2018

12th and 13th May

Misty and murky on the 12th with a few spots of rain and a brisk SE wind – the conditions you dream about on the island but with the exception of a couple of quality birds it was still a bit underwhelming out in the field; the main highlight was a cracking dark, male Honey Buzzard which flew south over Senness and then floated around the south of the island, often landing in the damp weather.

                Other migrants across the island included the second Bluethroat of the spring with a female on Westbeach, a Stonechat (the first since 7th April), 2 Sparrowhawks, a Kestrel (only the second of the year), 9 Collared Doves, a Woodpigeon, a Short-eared Owl, 17 Sand Martins, a White Wagtail, 88 Wheatears, a Fieldfare, 4 Sedge Warblers and 5 Chiffchaffs.

                Lingering wildfowl comprised the Whooper Swan, 2 Pink-footed Geese, a Barnacle Goose and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers while other little bits included a drake Garganey, a smart male Ruff coming into his finery and yet again, the Kumlien’s Gull.

                Another great feeling day on the 13th with a brisk SE wind and increasingly overcast conditions finally giving in to the heavy rain which moved in by late afternoon but this time it paid off as a great selection of migrants were unearthed producing the best day of the spring so far!   A female Red-backed Shrike was trapped in T5, yesterday’s Honey Buzzard flew south down the west coast before meeting the breeding Bonxies and Ravens and being forced out to sea very firmly from where it carried on south and away and 2 Bluethroats completed the highlights with females at Westbeach and Claypows.

                Other migrants across the island included a pair of Garganey, a Sparrowhawk, a Wood Sandpiper south over the Obs, 4 Woodpigeons, 6 Collared Doves, a Cuckoo, a Tree Pipit, a White Wagtail, a Song Thrush, 2 Sedge Warblers, a suspicious unstreaked Acrocephalus Warbler which couldn’t be pinned down, a Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroats, 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Blackcap, 23 Chiffchaffs, 7 Willow Warblers, 2 Siskins and the first migrant Lepidoptera of the year with 2 Red Admirals and 3 Silver Y’s adding to the bubbling anticipation of the team!

Honey Buzzard                                    Lewis Hooper

Bluethroat                                          Lewis Hooper

Red-backed Shrike             Simon Davies

Friday, 11 May 2018

10th and 11th May

A decent day on the 10th with plenty of bright, unbroken sunshine with a moderate SW wind; the nice conditions led to a good spread of migrants across the island highlighted by the first Bluethroat of the year lurking around Brides Loch.   Totals today included at least 5 Sparrowhawks, a Cuckoo, a Short-eared Owl, 14 Sand Martins, 54 Swallows, 2 House Martins, 3 Tree Pipits, 121 Wheatears, a Whitethroat, 6 Blackcaps, 8 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, a Jackdaw, 4 Rook, 10 Hooded Crows, 6 Carrion Crows, 2 Tree Sparrows, 6 Siskins and a Common Redpoll.

                The other main feature of the day was a huge arrival of 1,255+ Arctic Tern scattered along the coast along with some good wader totals comprising 232 Purple Sandpipers, 45 Bar-tailed Godwits, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Whimbrel and 612 Turnstone.   Also of note were 3 Garganey (a pair on Brides and a drake on Garso) and the Kumlien’s Gull again.

                Still dry and fairly bright on the 11th but a cold and pretty strong SE wind made time spent in the field a bit of a slog with not too much in the way of new arrivals usually associated with the SE direction; migrants included a Sparrowhawk, an adult female Peregrine (the first since 14th April), 5 Woodpigeons, 3 Collared Doves, an increase to 31 Sand Martins, 33 Swallows, a House Martin, 76 Wheatears, a Sedge Warbler, a Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, a Common Redpoll and a Lesser Redpoll.

                A single drake Garganey was on Ancum where there were also 2 Pink-footed Geese and the Whooper Swan while 281 Sanderling, 33 Bar-tailed Godwits and 2 Whimbrel were counted with the Kumlien’s Gull floating around.

Arctic Skua                                            Simon Davies

Whimbrel                                            Simon Davies

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

8th and 9th May

Promising conditions on the 8th with a lightish SE wind (although it had moved into the SW by the afternoon) produced a new wave of migrants across the island, giving us some overdue year ticks highlighted by a single Common Crane striding around the fields behind Vincoin but also including our first 2 Whitethroats and our first Sedge Warbler of the year.   Other landbirds included a Sparrowhawk, 6 Woodpigeons, 2 Collared Doves, 17 Sand Martins, 35 Swallows, 2 House Martins, a White Wagtail, an influx of 140 Wheatears, 3 Blackcaps, 12 Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, a Goldcrest, 19 Carrion Crows, a Jackdaw, a Chaffinch and 10 Siskins.

                Other little nits included the Black-throated Diver still in Nouster, lingering Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Goose and Pintail still, a single Ruff at Westness, 6 Whimbrel, the Kumlien’s Gull again and a total of 284 Arctic Terns.

                The wind was more in the south through the 9th and again started light but picked up through the afternoon with heavy rain moving in; these conditions brought some more new arrivals with some quality migrants in amongst a general increase in common birds including a Corncrake flushed from the Irises at Westness, a very tired looking Cuckoo on the rocks at Gue Park and the first Garden Warbler of the year at the Obs.

                Migrant totals through this very enjoyable day included a drake Garganey on Garso, a Sparrowhawk, 6 Woodpigeons, 5 Collared Doves, a Short-eared Owl, a House Martin, 3 White Wagtails, 2 Dunnocks, a Black Redstart, 96 Wheatears, 2 Fieldfares, 2 Sedge Warblers, 6 Blackcaps, 13 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, 6 Tree Sparrows, 11 Siskin, a Common Redpoll and 8 Carrion Crows.

Common Crane                                        Simon Davies

Garganey                                         George Gay

Sparrowhawk                                     George Gay

Monday, 7 May 2018

6th and 7th May

Bright and sunny on the 6th with a promising SE wind but it remained quiet in terms of grounded migrants with the highlight of the day being a summer plumaged White-billed Diver seen briefly off Torness in the afternoon.   Migrants on the land comprised 5 Woodpigeons, a Collared Dove, 13 Sand Martins, 22 Swallows, a House Martin, 2 White Wagtails, a bit of an influx of 72 Wheatears, a Redwing, a Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaffs and a Common Redpoll.

                The lingering wildfowl continued to linger with the Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan and 5 Barnacle Geese still but an extra Mute Swan joined the breeding pair and a single Pintail was seen.   The pick of the waders included 8 Black-tailed Godwits, probably 2 Wood Sandpipers and 4 Whimbrel while the Kumlien’s Gull was seen again and 277 Arctic Terns was a further increase.

                Still promising looking conditions with a brisk wind swinging round between east and south combined with hints of drizzle in the air but again we toiled away in vain across the island with very little in the way of grounded migrants.   The highlight was again a summer plumaged White-billed Diver but this time close inshore off the seawatch hide – probably yesterday’s bird again but with numerous individuals floating round Scotland in late April / early May who’s to say!

                Other birds included a count of 26 Great-northern Divers, the female Garganey again around Ancum and a light sprinkling of migrants with 5 Woodpigeons, a House Martin, 61 Wheatear, 2 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest.

White-billed Diver                                 Simon Davies

Garganey                                        Simon Davies

Sunday, 6 May 2018

4th and 5th May

Damp in the morning of the 4th but it brightened up later in the day; the birding doldrums continued though with another quiet day in field as migrants on the land consisted of single Sparrowhawk and Merlin, 5 Whimbrel, a Woodpigeon, 3 Collared Doves, 13 Sand Martins, 29 Swallows, a Rock Pipit, a White Wagtail, 44 Wheatears, a Redwing, 3 Chiffchaffs, a Brambling and the only notable event of the day – a bit of a corvid arrival including 19 Hooded Crows and 27 Carrion Crows.

                Other little bits included a Manx Shearwater offshore, the Kumlien’s Gull still and the steadily increasing Arctic Terns, today reaching a count of 131.

                Bright and sunny on the 5th with some good wader counts dominating the log which comprised 127 Ringed Plovers, 412 Sanderling, 70 Bar-tailed Godwits, 7 Whimbrel and 357 Turnstone; along with these 202 Arctic Terns was another increase, a female Garganey was on Ancum where the Whooper Swan remained while 18 Shoveler was a good count and 4 Long-tailed Ducks were still offshore.

                Land migrants included a Merlin, 4 Woodpigeons, a Collared Dove, a Short-eared Owl, 18 Sand Martins, 2 Rock Pipits, 51 Wheatears, a Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest, a Rook, 5 Carrion Crows, 2 Goldfinches, a Common Redpoll and a smart male Brambling in full song at the Obs.

Arctic Skua                                           Simon Davies

Mixed waders                                    Simon Davies

Friday, 4 May 2018

2nd and 3rd May

Rain overnight on the 2nd led to a showery morning and a bright and sunny afternoon; it was still fairly quiet as migrants included a Sparrowhawk, a Merlin, a Woodcock, a Woodpigeon, a Collared Dove, 16 Sand Martins, 17 Swallows, a Dunnock, 41 Wheatears, single Fieldfare, Redwing and Mistle Thrush, 2 Blackcaps, 5 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, 2 Goldcrests, the first 3 Tree Sparrows of the year (there were none last year!) and a mobile Lapland Bunting at Kirbest and the near the school.

                Waders included 231 Sanderling, 42 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Ruff and 7 Whimbrel while offshore birds included 19 Great-northern Divers, a single Manx Shearwater past the seawatch hide and an increased 31 Arctic Terns.

                A drizzly morning on the 3rd eased off through the middle of the day but the rain returned for the afternoon giving us only a small window to enjoy the day; the main feature was a little arrival of waders spread across the island which included the first Wood Sandpiper of the year at Garso, the first 2 Common Sandpipers of the year at Hooking and Garso, 50 Knot, 215 Purple Sandpipers, a very respectable 86 Bar-tailed Godwits and a much improved 577 Turnstone.   Also associated with this was an influx of 625 Black-headed Gulls (with flocks offshore) and 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls while the Kumlien’s Gull remained.

                Wildfowl included the single Whooper Swan and Pink-footed Goose while an increased 15 Shelduck was notable.   Landbirds were limited with 22 Swallows, a Redwing, a Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff and 7 Carrion Crows.

Kumlien's Gull - the top picture was taken in February and the bottom picture was taken on 3rd May showing how the plumage, especially the primary tips have faded over the spring

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

30th April and 1st May

An insane day with hardly a breath of wind, not a cloud in the sky and flat, mirror calm seas on the 30th; it was a perfect day for scanning out across the sea and one lucky observer was rewarded with a cracking full summer plumaged White-billed Diver briefly at the mouth of Nouster Bay before flying off round the corner while other totals included 44 Great-northern Divers, the Black-throated Diver again in Nouster, 7 Red-throated Divers, 11 Long-tailed Ducks and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers.

                It was quieter on the land as migrants of note consisted of a drake Garganey on Ancum, 2 Woodpigeons, a Rock Pipit, 2 Dunnocks, 33 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, single Redwing and Fieldfare, 2 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, 4 Rook, 7 Carrion Crows, a Brambling, a Goldfinch and 2 Common Redpolls.

                Another lovely start to the day on the first day of May but the cloud slowly built up and the SE wind gradually increased to become overcast, windy and chilly by the evening (although it felt much ‘rarer’!); the day’s highlight was an immature White-tailed Eagle (probably a 3cy) which flew up the west coast, landed on Torness briefly before flying back south, high out at sea.

                There was a slight increase in common migrants across the island with a few things turning up as the weather changed but it remained generally slow as totals included a Sparrowhawk, a White Wagtail, a Dunnock, a Mistle Thrush (first since 17th April), 5 Blackcaps, 5 Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest, a Brambling, 2 Siskins and 2 Carrion Crows.   Waders continued to trickle in (building up to the usual mid-May peak counts) and included 48 Knot, 86 Sanderling, 33 Dunlin, 52 Bar-tailed Godwits and 206 Turnstone while the Kumlien’s Gull continued to fade and bleach as it keeps wandering up and down the east coast.

White-tailed Eagle                      Mark Warren - Heatherlea

Arctic Tern                                       Simon Davies

Monday, 30 April 2018

28th and 29th April

A glorious couple of days with long spells of pure, warm, unbroken sunshine and the faintest waft of a breeze; the only down side of the stunning conditions is that it’s not really conducive to large numbers of grounded migrants.   The male Grey-headed Wagtail was re-found on the beach at Brides on the 28th while other migrants included a White Wagtail, a Dunnock, 62 Wheatears, 2 Redwings, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Chiffchaffs and 2 Common Redpoll.

                Lingering or departing wildfowl comprised the Whooper Swan, 2 new immature Mute Swans, a Pink-footed Goose, 5 new Barnacle Geese and 9 Pintail while waders included 4 Knot, 170 Purple Sandpipers, a Whimbrel and a much improved 442 Turnstone with many rapidly acquiring their stunning breeding plumage.   One of last years successful breeding Arctic Skuas was back on Torness (the affectionately named ‘notchy’ – a dark phase bird with a distinctive notch out of one of her wings), the two usual pairs of Bonxies were also back patrolling their traditional breeding spots and the first Black-headed Gull eggs were noted.

                An even more stunning day on the 29th but it was also an even quieter day in the field as a result; migrants included a Sparrowhawk, a Woodpigeon, 6 Sand Martins, 10 Swallows, a Rock Pipit, 2 White Wagtails, a Dunnock, 44 Wheatears, 2 Blackcaps and a Brambling.   Seven Arctic Terns were offshore and the Kumlien’s Gull was seen once again – although the longer the spring goes on, the more bleached and pale this bird is becoming, if you saw it new now, you’d be hard pushed to call it a Kumlien’s!

Bonxie                                                     Simon Davies

Friday, 27 April 2018

26th and 27th April

Sunshine and showers again on the 26th but they became fewer and further apart in the afternoon in favour of bright and sunny conditions; there were two main highlights through the day with a smart male Grey-headed Wagtail on the beach at Brides (not a classic bird with some greeny patches in the dark grey head and some little white flecks on the lores) but this was pushed into second place when a LITTLE RINGED PLOVER was found, also on Brides beach by someone trying to twitch the Wagtail!   A regular bird throughout the southern UK but a real island mega, as it was only the second record after one in May 1994!

                It was quiet otherwise across the island as totals included lingering Pink-footed Goose and Whooper Swan, 2 Merlin, the Kumlien’s Gull again, 2 Woodpigeons, 2 Sand Martins, 8 Swallows, 44 Wheatears, a Fieldfare, 3 Redwings, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, 4 Rook, 4 Carrion Crows, a Siskin and 2 Common Redpolls.

                A glorious day on the 27th with hardly a breath of wind throughout and plenty of sunshine; it was (unsurprisingly) again quiet for grounded migrants but the first Arctic Tern of the year was off The Links and a pair of Garganey on Hooking also made it on to the year list.

                Calm seas allowed the Nouster Black-throated Diver to be seen again along with 19 Great-northern Divers and 11 Red-breasted Mergansers while the first little arrival of 12 Knot were on The Links together with 108 Sanderling, 121 Purple Sandpipers and 8 Black-tailed Godwits.   Also of note was another big wave of 862 Black-headed Gulls counted across the island but predictably concentrated around Hooking.

                Landbirds were again thin on the ground but included a Short-eared Owl, 10 Sand Martins (seen prospecting on the sand cliffs of The Links where they bred last year), 7 Swallows, 3 Dunnocks, 49 Wheatears, a Fieldfare, 2 Redwings, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, a Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaffs, a Rook and a Brambling.

Little Ringed Plover                                      Simon Davies

Grey-headed Wagtail                                Simon Davies

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

24th and 25th April

A decent day on the 24th, dry and bright with plenty of sunshine and a light SW wind; it was quiet though for grounded migrants across the island as birds of note just included 2 Whimbrel, 11 Swallows,2 Dunnocks, 4 Robins, 28 Wheatears, a Fieldfare, 4 Redwing, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest, a Chaffinch and a Siskin.   The Kumlien’s Gull was present again.

                A real mixture of weathers on the 25th with bright sunshine interspersed with regular showers, some very heavy throughout the day coming through on the light southerly breeze; the day’s highlight was certainly an excellent looking IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF candidate at Sanger.   It was initially heard singing in the morning and showed very well just as the Obs crew arrived, a net was put up and it was caught straightforwardly; it ticked all the boxes in the hand and the field and the sound recordings obtained also appeared spot on – if accepted it will be the first for North Ronaldsay!

                A few other new bits appeared through the day including the first Kestrel of the year, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Woodpigeon, a Collared Dove, 2 Short-eared Owls, 9 Sand Martins, 9 Swallows, 3 Dunnocks, a Fieldfare, a Redwing, a Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest, a good flock of 7 Rooks which flew south, a Brambling, 2 Siskins and 2 Common Redpolls while 13 Great-northern Divers were counted on the sea.

Iberian Chiffchaff                                      Simon Davies

Monday, 23 April 2018

22nd and 23rd April

A light SE wind through the morning of the 22nd naturally led to thick fog by lunchtime but the wind had switched into the west by the afternoon with the fog clearing almost instantly; it was a bit disappointing out in the field with the interesting and changing conditions as highlights were confined to yesterday’s Dotterel relocating to Torness and the first Goldfinch of the year which flew south down the west coast.

                Migrants were reduced in numbers and included 2 Merlins, a Woodcock, a Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Doves, 2 Sand Martins, 7 Dunnocks, 12 Robins, 49 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, 2 Fieldfares, 2 Redwings, 2 Blackcap, 12 Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinches and a Common Redpoll.   12 Great-northern Divers were offshore, waders included 6 Ruff, 8 Black-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel and the Kumlien’s Gull was still present.

                A brisk and increasing SW wind turned the 23rd into a different kind of day with hardly anything new to mention across the island as birds of note comprised a Merlin, a Grey Plover, 10 Black-tailed Godwits, a bit of an increase to 387 Black-headed Gulls with Hooking Loch becoming noisier and noisier, 3 Sand Martins, 2 Dunnocks, a Ring Ouzel, 5 Chiffchaff, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Goldcrest, a Brambling, a Common Redpoll and 3 Carrion Crows.

Dotterel                                                        Simon Davies

Whooper Swan                                         Simon Davies

Saturday, 21 April 2018

20th and 21st April

Bright and sunny throughout the day on the 20th but the southerly wind gradually increased to become brisk by the evening; the day’s highlight was a very early Little Tern seen briefly in Nouster – continuing the theme of this slightly odd spring as the previous earliest record was 5th May!   More typical were the first 2 Whimbrel of the year which flew over Stennabreck.

                Other migrant totals included 2 Merlin, 2 Woodpigeon, a Collared Dove, 7 Swallows, 7 Rock Pipits, 2 White Wagtails, 43 Pied Wagtails, 13 Dunnocks, 24 Robins, 30 Wheatears, a Ring Ouzel, 60 Blackbirds, 41 Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warblers, 7 Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinches, 5 Bramblings, 3 Siskins, a Common Redpoll and the lingering Snow Bunting.

                Also of note were a single Manx Shearwater past the seawatch hide, one remaining Barnacle Goose, 10 Long-tailed Ducks, 11 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Arctic Skuas, 9 Great Skuas and the Kumlien’s Gull still.

                A gorgeous day on the 21st with a light southerly breeze swinging round into the SE by the evening and plenty of warm(ish) sunshine; there were some obvious new arrivals even though it was generally ‘too nice’ for many grounded migrants.   The highlights were two drake Mandarin which pitched down briefly on Hooking Loch (only the sixth record for the island!) and a still largely winter plumaged Dotterel which was found with the Golden Plover in Loch Park.

                The day’s migrant totals comprised single 3 Woodpigeon, a Collared Dove, 5 Sand Martins, 4 Swallows, 186 Meadow Pipits, 7 Dunnock, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 9 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 3 Chaffinches, 2 Bramblings, a Siskin and a couple of roving Corvid flocks totalling 15 Carrion Crows and 5 Ravens.

Also seen were 10 Great-northern Divers offshore, the single Barnacle Goose and Whooper Swan, 267 Golden Plover, 174 Sanderling, 48 Dunlin, 2 Ruff, a Whimbrel and the Kumlien’s Gull yet again.

Mandarin                                              Simon Davies

Dotterel (honestly!)                                   Simon Davies