Sunday, 24 May 2015

23rd to 24th May

A bit of warmth in the air and possibly some east in the southerly wind on 23rd brought some real quality arrivals. Pride and place went to the islands third Bee-eater which was found on wires at Burray just after midday. Those quick off the mark connected with this the brightest of rarities but after about half an hour (during which time it munched on 4 Bees), it headed off high to the north presumably Shetland bound. Not far behind it was the male Rustic Bunting which re-appeared at Ancum Willows. Though generally elusive and often entering the Irises at Ancum Loch (which we tend to avoid at this time of year due to breeding birds) it even burst into song on a few occasions and was seen again on 24th. Third place, but nonetheless a great find went too a drake Green-winged Teal on Bewan Loch in the afternoon - our second of the year and typical arrival date too. Add in 11 Great Northern Divers, the lingering Garganey, a Sparrowhawk, a new Iceland Gull, 9 Tree Sparrows and a Siskin and you have the makings of a pretty decent days birding on North Ronaldsay. Breakfast on the 24th was interrupted by a phone call alerting us to Killer Whales off the Lighthouse and brief, and slightly  distant views were obtained by the team and guests of at least 5 animals before they headed towards Sanday. Newcomers included a rather tatty Adult Glaucous Gull on the golf course and a Grey Wagtail while there were now at least 4 Common Redpolls present. Spring passage waders have perhaps reached their peak with 343 Ringed Plovers, 119 Dunlins, 297 Sanderlings, 12 Knot and 3 Black-tailed Godwits logged.

Bee-Eater (photo George Gay)
Rustic Bunting (photo George Gay) 
Green-winged Teal ( all photos Stephen Rutt)
And how about this female which was paired with the Green winged Teal? Facially it seems to tick the boxes?
Glaucous Gull (photo George Gay)

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