Tuesday, 22 March 2011

19th - 22nd March

There were few migrants of note on the 19th: Skylarks increased in number to 120, an extra Chaffinch joined the 3 already present, 5 Meadow Pipits were counted and 4 Pied Wagtails were also seen. The following day was even quieter, with 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls the only new arrivals noted. A strong westerly wind on the 21st did nothing to bring any more landbirds to the island, but good counts of 15 Great Northern Divers and 8 Red-throated Divers were found sheltering in the leeward bays.

The 22nd produced a slightly more varied morning's birding. A movement of Whooper Swans involved 11 new birds joining the 6 wintering birds at the north of the island. A Great Skua was new to the year-list, 2 Rooks were at Westness, 5 Grey Herons drifted overhead, 9 Red-throated Divers were offshore and a Woodcock was near Ancum. Skylarks were evidently on the move: a count of 221 was the highest of the year so far. Twite numbers reached 145, while other passerines included 4 Song Thrushes, 6 Meadow Pipits, 4 Pied Wagtails and a lingering Dunnock. At least 3 Hen Harriers were present, including an adult male.

Mass hatch-outs of insects on the beaches have attracted large flocks of feeding Starlings.

Today's arrival was the first movement of Whooper Swans this year.

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