Sunday, 11 September 2011

11th September

A welcome return to relatively clement weather gave us an opportunity to find any birds that had gone undetected during the previous day's deluge, as well as any new arrivals that had come in overnight. The first Corncrake of the autumn at Ancum Loch was the highlight, although a drake Scaup sitting on the sea near Westness was a bit more of a surprise. A group of 3 Common Rosefinches at Lurand were a promising start to the day, and nearly 300 Meadow Pipits were counted, but other new passerines were rather thin on the ground: a Pied Flycatcher, a Blackcap, a Sedge Warbler and a Whinchat were the best we could come up with, although at least some of the 28 Lapland Buntings that were logged would also have been fresh arrivals. Small birds remaining from earlier in the week included the Barred Warbler, a Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warblers, a Whinchat and a House Martin.

There was a noticeable increase in raptor activity, with a Peregrine, 2 Merlins and at least 5 Kestrels on the island during the morning. New waders included 2 Grey Plovers, a Little Stint and 2 Common Sandpipers; those that had been seen in previous days included the Wood Sandpiper and at least 33 Ruffs.

Scaup is quite a scarce duck on North Ronaldsay, but this is the third record of the year so far.

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