Saturday, 28 July 2012

27th - 28th July

A Crossbill was the bird of the day on the 27th, when a couple each of Swift and Sand Martin were the only other sightings of any note.

With the gears of landbird migration still struggling to reengage in autumn mode, a timely jump-start in the fantastic form of a Nightjar was a most welcome surprise on the 28th and easily one of July's highlights. Originally flushed from near the observatory, it soon flew into one of the mist nets and provided a rare opportunity to see one of these bizarre nocturnal goatsuckers at close quarters and in broad daylight.

The year's first Hobby a Kestrel and a Hen Harrier were all new raptors in the afternoon, and a Sedge Warbler ringed at the observatory was either an early autumn migrant or dispersing progeny of one of the island's breeding pairs. Plenty of waders were still to be seen gathered in the freshly cut fields, with 6 Whimbrels among the more numerous species.

Nightjar: the scientific name Caprimulgus and the colloquial name goatsucker both stem from the curious belief that these birds use their spectacularly wide mouths to suckle milk directly from the teats of goats during the night. The island has only recently acquired some goats, so we will be keeping a keen eye out for any suspicious nightjar activity in their vicinity.

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