Friday, 11 November 2016

5th - 6th November

Varying amounts of effort in the field has been hampered by strong winds and prioritizing more ringing data entry into IPMR.  Nevertheless, some time spent outdoors on the 5th produced a good selection of raptors including 2 immature Peregrines (male and female) touring Tor Ness and engaging in some spectacular wheeling displays.  A Merlin was also seen as was the lingering star, the stunning adult male Northern Harrier, reliably appearing around the vicinity of the observatory around breakfast time.  Other species of note from the 5th include Whooper Swan, Snow Bunting and Woodcock.

Once again seawatching took priority on the 6th, with a great reward in the form of a close fly-past adult winter White-billed Diver heading north past the hide shortly after 9am!  This elated our spirits greatly and proves just how productive November can be despite the majority of autumn migrants having departed.  Further birds of note included 3 Red-throated Divers, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1208 Fulmars in one hour, 27 Sooty Shearwaters and 3 Long-tailed Ducks.  Yet more seabird passage included 86 Gannets in one hour, 50 Kittiwakes, 15 Guillemots, 2 Black Guillemots, 3 Little Auks and 36 auk sp. all proving just how resilient, diverse and productive marine life can be despite the bleak and inhospitable appearance of the seascape.  A young Gannet was also discovered sat on the field adjacent to the seawatch hide.  It appeared to be in good health and offered a valuable opportunity to watch it close up as well as ring it.

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