The main story of a memorable day began with a sighting of an unusual kestrel flying down the main road. It had a bright blue head; its underparts looked pale and quite plain; it ate insects on the wing: the alarm bells were ringing and demanding further investigation. Further flight views were puzzling and inconclusive, but it was eventually found obligingly posed in full view on a wall at Kirbest, its white toenails glinting in the evening sunlight: identification confirmed - we were watching Orkney's first LESSER KESTREL!
The long-staying Citrine Wagtail spent the day in its usual haunts at Kirbest and Bridesness, and another, at least our third of the autumn, was found near Bewan. This wagtail was a lot less flighty than the previous birds and gave excellent views in the morning.
A juvenile Red-backed Shrike at Quoy Banks was another good bird, while other passerine migrants included a Barred Warbler, a Yellow-browed Warbler, 17 Blackcaps, 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 6 Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Common Redpoll, 19 Lapland Buntings, 3 Whinchats and 3 Robins. The Hen Harrier, 2 Common Kestrels, a Merlin and a Grey Plover were all still present; an arrival of Grey Herons brought the log count to 14; and the Slavonian Grebe remained on Ancum Loch.