Monday, 23 April 2012

22nd April

The deluge of migrants still showed no sign of abating, although what proportion of the Robins and other birds on the island were freshly arrived, and what proportion were simply remaining from the previous couple of days was impossible to determine. The day's Robin count reached 234, and 45 Dunnocks broke the species' all-time record again. Numbers of some other small migrants came to 47 Chiffchaffs, 11 Willow Warblers, 4 Blackcaps, 53 Song Thrushes, 4 Ring Ouzels, 76 Wheatears and 3 Lapland Buntings. A real crow bonanza comprised 3 Jackdaws (the first of the year), 25 Rooks, 13 Carrion Crows, 23 Hooded Crows, 1 Hooded x Carrion Crow hybrid and a migrant Raven, mostly flying back and forth in typically indecisive corvid manner. Other passerine odds and ends from the day's census included a Swallow, 2 Tree Pipits, 2 White Wagtails, the same Whitethroat, a Goldcrest, 4 Chaffinches, 14 Bramblings, and a Common Redpoll.

A Common Buzzard was the highlight of a good raptor day that also brought a Kestrel, a Peregrine and at least 8 Sparrowhawks, as well as another new Long-eared Owl and a Short-eared Owl. A Wryneck on the west coast was presumably fresh-in. The first 2 Barnacle Geese of the year and 3 Pink-footed Geese flew by, 87 Curlews passed north overhead and the 3 Common Scoters still remained. Finally, a whole-island count of Black Guillemots found 565 around the coast, which is just 3 birds fewer than were seen in the 2011 survey.

A remarkable evening ringing session resulted in no fewer than 6 new Sparrowhawks being caught in the mist nets.

Common Buzzard is a scarce migrant on North Ronaldsay, and today's bird was the first for more than a year.

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