Thursday, 10 November 2016

31st October - More migrants!

The end of the autumn season is drawing to a close.  However, the island has still a lot to offer with seawatching continuing to produce good birds and lingering passage passerines.  The former yielded 9 Red-throated Divers, 10 Great Northern Divers, 1 Pomarine Skua, 1 Great Skua, 32 Sooty Shearwaters, 633 Fulmars (including 1 "blue" morph), 1 Storm Petrel, 5 Red-breasted Merganser and 588 Gannets.  Yet more excitement came with a modest passage of auks, including 5 Little Auks, 10 Puffins, 9 Black Guillemots, 53 Guillemots, 15 Razorbill and 92 auk sp. (those too distant to identify with certainty).  The Glossy Ibis lingered for a second day on the seaweed strewn beach at Hooking, feeding amongst swarms of Starlings and waders.  Evidence of the late autumn passage of Whoopers continues with 17 remaining until the end of the month along with 6 Pink-footed Geese.  Wildfowl numbers have declined somewhat from their monthly maximum counts but are still well represented with 359 Wigeon, 55 Teal, 5 Gadwall, 59 Mallard, 4 Pintail, 13 Shoveler, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 1st win/female type Scaup, 21 Long-tailed Ducks, 1 Goldeneye and a smart 1st win. drake Green-winged Teal on Gretchen

Other non-passerine highlights include the ringtail Hen Harrier, a single Merlin, 2 Woodpigeon and the Hoopoe.  A good diversity and number of waders are also still to be found with totals including 541 Golden Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 58 Oystercatchers, 53 Ringed Plover, 122 Lapwing, 47 Sanderling, 63 Purple Sandpipers, 25 Dunlin, 79 Snipe, 3 Woodcock, 22 Bar-tailed Godwits, 49 Curlew, 134 Redshank and 189 Turnstone, most of which are gaging themselves on invertebrates found amongst the huge banks of decaying seaweed deposited on the east coast.

Last but not least the passerines.  Late autumn passage tends to be dominated by the thrushes with a mixture of lingering birds and the occasional new arrival.  Their totals include 45 Blackbirds, 20 Fieldfare, 143 Redwing.  The majority of other passerines are now centered around our main ringing site at Holland gardens and around the observatory, the main exception being 18 Meadow Pipits, 1 Rock Pipits and a flock of 32 Twite at the northern end of the island.  The rest being 5 Robins, 5 Blackcaps, 7 Chiffchaffs, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling and 3 Lesser Redpoll.  The only non-avian highlight of the day was a single Silver Y, a reminder that migrant birds aren't the only animals to be arriving here.

Fulmar flying through Rainbow - George Gay

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