Wednesday, 28 October 2015

28th October

FALL!!!! With high pressure sat firmly over Scandinavia and the magic combination of strong south-easterlies and heavily overcast skies with occasional drizzle we were treated to a a great days birding. Thrushes arrived in force, there were a number of highlights and leading the way was the fourth record of Smew for North Ronaldsay - a redhead (perhaps 1st winter or moulting drake?) on Bewan Loch briefly. The Northern Harrier was seen a few times and a Great Grey Shrike was discovered as it came into roost at Holland gardens at dusk and promptly devoured an unfortunate Goldcrest! Without doubt the most impressive spectacle of the day though was a mass arrival of 22 Short-eared Owls and 5 Long-eared Owls! The count for the former species is double the pervious high and included groups of 8 together on Torness and 9 in the fields between the Lighthouse and Senness - a fantastic sight! Fieldfares were the most conspicuous of thrushes as large flocks filtered through the island and out to sea to the south. A total of 2525 will have been an underestimate and there was also a Ring Ouzel, 124 Blackbirds, 81 Song Thrushes and 1114 Redwings. Other birds seen on a busy day were 4 Woodpigeons, a Large Pipit sp. south and out to sea with thrushes at the Observatory, 13 Blackcaps, 9 Chiffchaffs, a Siberian Chiffchaff, 24 Goldcrests, the Pied Flycatcher, a Chaffinch, 22 Bramblings, a male Crossbill, Lapland Bunting and 8 Snow Buntings. Along with the rare 'sawbill' there was a big influx of wildfowl with 430 Wigeon, 21 Gadwall, 234 Teal, 7 Pintail, 392 Eiders, 7 Long-tailed Ducks and 5 Goldeneyes. A couple of juvenile Hen Harriers toured the isle, the Whimbrel remains and 8 Jack Snipes and 13 Woodcocks were found. As with yesterday there were large numbers of Gulls feeding in the swell again with 12 Black-headed Gulls, 483 Common Gulls, 304 Herring Gulls and 286 Great black-backed Gulls counted.

Smew (attempted photo Mark Warren)
Short-eared Owls (top 3 Mark Warren, bottom flight shot Espen Quinto-Ashman)

Fieldfares and Redwings passing the Observatory (photo George Gay)

1 comment:

Linda said...

Lovely photos. Thank you so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.