Well, here we go again... A strong, touching gale force south-easterly wind had whipped up overnight and from dawn it was pretty obvious there were birds everywhere. The sheltered walls and boulder beaches along the west coast were particularly lively with Song Thrushes shooting out from what seemed like every corner. While the conditions made birding difficult there was plenty of top quality on offer, headlined by not 1, not 2 but a staggering 3 Olive-backed Pipits!! All were found mid-morning with birds discovered at Gretchen, Torness and Nether Linnay, and all were observed at the same time and photographed (there might actually be a fourth present with another possible heard/seen in the south of the island on a couple of occasions but not confirmed). Nether Linnay was clearly the hotspot of the day with a Short-toed Lark in the stubble field there and a Little Bunting in the sheep pund. There were also 2 Long-eared Owls along the west coast and other non-passerines seen today included 4 Grey Herons, 30 Whooper Swans, 203 Pink-footed and 37 Barnacle Geese, 255 Wigeon, a Kestrel and Merlin in the west and 3 Jack Snipe. It was the passerines though that summed up what the day was all about, although the figure of 211 Song Thrush in the log was likely double that number as they proved almost impossible to count by darting all over the place. There were also 73 Redwings, a Ring Ouzel, 33 Blackbirds, plus single Tree, 21 Rock and 116 Meadow Pipits, 9 Blackcaps, 27 Bramblings, 18 Snow and 3 Lapland Buntings. It really was another great day on North Ron!!
Olive-backed Pipit 1-Found by Sara mid-morning right next to the hide at Gretchen before moving the short-distance to the Lurn in the afternoon
Olive-backed Pipit 2-First found along walls at the north end of Torness just a few minutes after bird 1, before moving into the Irises and crop field at Nether Linnay.
Olive-backed Pipit 3-Found in the weedy fields at Nether Linnay. This individual was particularly bright-faced and was seen alongside bird 2 on several occasions over a 2 hour period.