With a calm morning and the return of ornithological staff, the south east of the Island was birded thoroughly for the first time in a while. There were large gatherings of Gulls and Wildfowl feeding in the swell, but the surprise of the day was a flock of 13 Black-tailed Godwits on Bridessness Loch representing the first January record for the Isle.With only one previous record each for December and February (both of singles), this 'flock' is particularly unusual and it will be interesting to see if they remain for the rest of the winter. Among the 370 Common Gulls and 150 Herring Gulls present was a single adult Lesser Black-backed Gull (only the 3rd January record) and 3 Black-headed Gulls while 'white-wingers' were conspicuously absent after the events of last winter. Wildfowl highlights among many Eiders and Wigeons, were 4 Shelducks, 4 Shovelers, 2 Goldeneyes, 5 Tufted Ducks and a single Pochard (although the northern Lochs were not counted today). 40 Fieldfares and 11 Redwings were in the fields and a SongThrush was in Holland House gardens. The cold snap last week has obviously brought a few finches in, as there were at least 97 Twite and 32 Linnets in the Observatory/Holland area.
Also of note, an unseasonable Ring Ouzel seen in Holland House gardens last week was only the 2nd 'winter' record for the island, the previous one being in January 2009.