Friday, 17 June 2011

17th June

Although rather late in the spring for good birding, light easterly winds still brought some quality new birds and a really enjoyable day. The morning began with 2 new Red-backed Shrikes, a male and a female, and a Crossbill in Holland House garden. An unidentified nightingale was seen fleetingly in the dense bushes of the garden and, after a couple of hours of waiting, it reappeared in a mist net allowing it to be confirmed as a Common Nightingale - only the fifth ever record for the observatory.

Later in the morning a Shore Lark, only the second June record here, was found near Trolla Vatn. The obs staff drove up to see the lark just in time to find a pod of at least 7 Orcas just offshore near Seal Skerry. The Orcas were tracked around the coast and were later viewable from the comfort of the observatory beer terrace!

While viewing the Killer Whales, 3 Storm Petrels (yet another addition to an already impressive year-list) were seen offshore, a Curlew Sandpiper was found in a nearby flooded field and, bizarrely, a Pipistrelle bat was seen flying around the lighthouse in the midday sun.

Other sightings included a Pink-footed Goose, a Swift, 3 Common Whitethroats, 2 Chiffchaffs, 3 Spotted Flycatchers and an unseasonal Brambling.

The day finally ended on a more frustrating note, with a difficult female Ficedula flycatcher leading us all a merry, and ultimately inconclusive dance around Upper Linnay in the failing evening light. Views were either fleeting or in semi-darkness, but it showed several features suggestive of Collared Flycatcher.

Red-backed Shrike


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