Bits and pieces the last few days with the 9th definitely being the best day weather wise and also for the birds seen. Gull movement was evident with 2 different juvenile Iceland Gulls (Lenswick and out high off the north end) and an adult Little Gull (Bridesness), with 33 Black-headed, 65 Common and 10 Herring Gulls also noted heading out north. A pair of Garganey were at Hooking, with the first Hen Harrier (ringtail) and Merlin for a while with a Sparrowhawk and a late arrival of 8 Woodpigeons also seen. Commoner wader species reaching their highest totals so far were 799 Turnstone and 177 Ringed Plovers with 51 Knot also present while Arctic Terns built to 309. A clear arrival of Hirundines saw 118 Swallows and 8 Sand Martins recorded while other passerines included 2 Black Redstarts, a Whinchat, 87 Wheatears, 4 Sedge Warblers, 14 Chiffchaffs, 5 Willow Warblers a Goldfinch, 3 Redpolls and 3 Snow Buntings. The 10th began dry, but heavy rain and easterly winds made conditions difficult in the afternoon despite the promise of new arrivals the following day. Not much was seen though with a Kestrel, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Greenshanks, 5 Tree Pipits, 2 Rock Pipits (including a 'littoralis'), a Ring Ouzel and Rook the highlights. Despite this promise the 11th delivered fewer grounded passerines than expected with non-passerines dominating the days highlights. A nearly full summer-plumaged Black-throated Diver in Nouster bay was the smartest bird, with a juvenile Iceland Gull in the same area also nice, a late Whooper Swan, a big increase in Arctic Terns to 862 and a flock of 8 Collared Doves leading the way in terms of quality and quantity. Singles of House and Sand Martin were seen with a Rook, 10 Carrion Crows,17 Hooded Crows, 2 Tree Sparrows at Breckan (first of the year) and 9 Lesser black-backed Gulls on the move.
Iceland Gull (photo Stephen Rutt)
Little Gull (photo George Gay)
Common Tern (photo George Gay)
Goldfinch (photo MW)
Arctic Tern (photo Molly Laban)