Sunday, 10 April 2011

10th April

A beautiful summery day brought lots of birds and some thoroughly enjoyable birding. An especially early start was made in order to conduct the annual Black Guillemot count, and a total of 568 were logged around the island's coastline. While conducting the survey, it became clear that other migrants were arriving.

Wheatears were particularly numerous: the count at the end of the day came to 202 birds. Hirundines were more conspicuous than in previous days, with 10 Swallows and 15 Sand Martins seen; the latter of these counts is only 2 fewer than the highest ever Sand Martin day-total here. Lapland Buntings seemed to be arriving all day, with flock after flock descending on the arable fields at Kirbest during the afternoon and a minimum of 65 birds being seen.

Other noteworthy passerines included 221 Meadow Pipits (the highest count of the year so far), the first Blackcap of the year, a Mistle Thrush, 9 Redwings, 4 Dunnocks, 3 Rooks, a Carrion Crow, 12 Redpolls, a Greenfinch and a Siskin. A Sparrowhawk, a Kestrel and 2 Collared Doves were the best of the new non-passerines, while at least 2 Merlins, a Hen Harrier and a Woodpigeon remained from previous days. Visible Curlew passage, involving 46 birds flying north overhead, was seen throughout the day.

Several Lapland Buntings were trapped for ringing in the afternoon.

Wheatears were also ringed during the day. Measurments confirmed that all of the birds caught were of the race O.o.oenanthe, the form that breeds in Britain. Greenland birds are expected to pass through a few weeks later.

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