Wednesday, 26 October 2011

26th October

After strong south-easterly wind and steady rain overnight, it was not surprising to find the whole island, particularly the leeward coasts, alive with thrushes and other migrants in the morning. There was nothing particularly rare apart from the previous day's Siberian Stonechat and the long-term resident Short-toed Lark, but the numbers of common species were quite impressive.

Counts of thrushes amounted to 1530 Fieldfares, 1093 Blackbirds (the observatory's highest ever count of this species), 470 Redwings, 109 Song Thrushes, 1 Mistle Thrush and, at long last, the first Ring Ouzel of the autumn. A good variety of less numerous passerines included 6 Black Redstarts, 27 Robins, 5 Wheatears, 107 Skylarks, 19 Blackcaps, 6 Chiffchaffs, 10 Goldcrests, 16 Jackdaws, 18 Bramblings, 2 Chaffinches, 2 Greenfinches, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Common Redpoll and 2 Yellowhammers.

Non-passerines were no less diverse and included 31 Woodcocks, 4 Woodpigeons, 2 Long-eared Owls, 2 Short-eared Owls, 4 Sparrowhawks and 7 Grey Herons. A juvenile Long-tailed Skua was lingering off the north of the island, while a juvenile Pomarine Skua was seen harassing Great Black-backed Gulls near Twingness. The first 2 Goldeneyes since early spring flew past at sea, 24 Barnacle Geese were roosting with the gulls on Tor Ness and a migrant Moorhen looked out of place amongst a flock of Blackbirds on the west coast.

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