Saturday, 1 September 2012

1st September

An inauspicious start to perhaps the most eagerly anticipated month in the Northern Isles birding calendar had few migrant passerines besides a Garden Warbler and a lingering Barred Warbler. Seawatchers saw 18 each of Sooty Shearwater and Manx Shearwater, 7 Storm Petrels and 1,855 Fulmars from the hide, and a notable movement of 58 Great Skuas was recorded.

Mass strandings of Fulmars occasionally occur at this time of year, usually during periods of calm weather. Birds come to ground inside the island's perimeter wall and, with deep grass impeding their run-up and insufficient wind to take off, find themselves unable to get out again. Passing Fulmars come to investigate and end up getting stranded themselves, usually until the observatory staff arrive to gather them up, ring them and release them back out to sea. The largest stranding of the year took place today, and 170 birds (interestingly, all adults) were ringed in a single field at Bridesness during a very wet and smelly afternoon.

No comments: