Monday, 30 January 2017

26th-29th January


The Northern Harrier and female Hen Harrier performed well once again as did 2 female Merlins in an impressive areal tangle.  Further exciting birds included a Peregrine, drake Smew, juvenile Glaucous Gull and either the reappearance or new discovery of a 2nd winter Iceland Gull sheltering from the strong westerly wind by the pier.  Modest counts of commoner birds include 3 Red-throated Divers, 4 Grey Herons, 4 Pintail, 17 Shoveler, 3 Long-tailed Ducks and the highest count of Golden Plover of the year, standing at 540 birds.  30 Bar-tailed Godwits and 3 Tysties rounded off the day.


The lingering pairs of Mute Swan and Whooper Swan were both still present along with a sole Pink-footed Goose.  The first 2 Shelduck of the year were a welcome sight as were several lingering scarcities including 4 juvenile Glaucous Gulls (and a freshly deceased adult), a 2nd winter Iceland Gull and the lingering adult male Northern Harrier (performing well as is often the case).  9 Twite outside the observatory, the lingering drake Smew, 4 Goldeneye and 7 Long-tailed Ducks sheltering on the east coast made for a productive day.  A half hour seawatch off Dennis Head in the morning produced 4 Red-throated Divers, 3 Great Northern Divers, 24 Kittiwake, and a trickle of auks including 14 Guillemots, 2 Razorbill and 15 auk sp.


Noteworthy species were much the same as the previous few days and included 2 Mute Swan, 2 Whooper Swan, Shelduck, 8 Pintail, Smew, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, Northern Harrier, 2nd winter Iceland Gull, 2 juvenile Glaucous Gulls, 7 Twite and 2 Snow Buntings.  Notable high counts involved 86 Ringed Plover and 106 Dunlin feeding together on the East Links.


Some long awaited White-fronted Geese finally appeared on the island following a blank year in 2016.  Following an arrival of birds on Shetland we eagerly anticipated an arrival for ourselves.  A small flock of six birds (including 3 juveniles) were found near Ancum Willows before relocating to the fields near Waterhouse were they were loosely associated with flocks of Greylag Geese.  Modest high counts for the day include 109 Shag, 121 Wigeon, 75 Teal, 30 Long-tailed Duck, 5 Goldeneye and 5 Tysties.

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