Saturday, 25 May 2013

25th May

Another day of glorious sunshine and no wind saw some more quality new arrivals, and has left us all a bit sun burnt! Topping the bill was a Tawny Pipit which showed well in the fields between Howar and Stromness Point in the morning. This is the third record for the Island and fifth for Orkney with all the North Ronaldsay birds having occurred in the last four years. A female Bluethroat at Dennishill was also new and in a good spring for the species another 2 Red-backed Shrikes (both females) were present in the Bewan area, with the 2 lingering birds still at Ancum. The current strange, late spring influx of Snow Buntings continues with 42 present today, 3 Common Redpolls in the north included a smart pink male, the female Blue-headed Wagtail remains while 90 Wheatears included many Greenland race birds. Also of note today were 10 Barnacle Geese (first of year), a Hen Harrier, a Curlew Sandpiper which flew over Howar, 8 Black-tailed Godwits and 13 Lesser black-backed Gulls together in one field. A Common Tern was among 110 Arctic Terns and an hour long sea-watch from the hide saw 728 Puffins fly by.

The Tawny Pipit showed well but kept its distance (photo Gavin Woodbridge)

Its unusual to see so many Snow Buntings in May as they should have passed through some time ago. Plenty of today's 42 were males in stunning plumage just like the bird in the foreground.

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