Monday, 29 February 2016

23rd-29th February

The wind dropped completely at the end of the week, and the flat calm and mostly dry conditions were excellent for birding. A Common Crane was spotted flying in from the sea over Nouster on the 26th. It landed in fields by the Lighthouse, and was later seen at Gretchen at dusk where it remained until the following morning. The drake Green Winged Teal appeared briefly on Gretchen on the 27th and a redhead Smew was on Hooking on the 28th and 29th. The Northern Harrier was sighted a number of times this week, along with up to 3 Hen Harriers, a few Merlins and a Peregrine. Several Great Northern and a couple of Red-throated Divers were seen along the coast, and a single Little Auk was in Nouster Bay on the 26th. Spring is starting to kick in with the first Pied Wagtail and Reed Bunting of the year recorded, and the number of Black-headed Gulls on the lochs rising. Skylark passage is increasing with a flock of 20 birds the highest count so far. The calm weather allowed us to do some mist netting, with a Song Thrush caught at Holland House another first for the year.  We also ringed a Starling roost and nets over Gretchen produced a few Oystercatchers. Strong winds and rain returned on the 29th which meant it was back to dazzling. A Coot was amongst the birds caught, only the 5th ever ringed on the island and the first since 2000.

Common Crane (photo Euan Ferguson)

Spot the Crane!

The Crane at Gretchen (photo Euan Ferguson)

Merlin (photo Euan Ferguson)


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