Thursday, 31 March 2011

31st March

A decent variety of species arrived on a pleasant morning, and the best find of the day was also one of the first: a Yellowhammer feeding in the potato field at Twingness. A couple of Chiffchaffs, 3 Goldcrests, 2 Grey Wagtails and a Greenfinch were all new species for the year, and 25 Fieldfares were the first for some weeks. A total of 20 Lapland Buntings were counted, including a flock of 15 at the airfield; 7 Wheatears were dotted around the island; and other small migrants included 15 Chaffinches, 3 Siskins, 2 Robins, 8 Dunnocks, 6 Redwings and 85 Meadow Pipits. A flock of 200 Purple Sandpipers was at Bridesness and the itinerant Rook continued to roam around the island.

It was predicted last week that a Pine Bunting would surely soon appear in the newly rotivated potato field. The prediction turned out to be pretty close, but, unfortunately, traces of yellow in the bird's plumage meant that we could only really call it a Yellowhammer.

After last autumn's record numbers of Lapland Buntings, the current influx of birds returning north was not unexpected.

The first Chiffchaff of the year conveniently made its appearance in the Heligoland trap.

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