A modest total for the day with Red-throated Diver and 9 Great Northern Diver, Whooper Swan and 452 Greylag to start things off. More wildfowl included one of the lingering adult White-fronted Geese, 3 Shelduck, 7 Long-tailed Duck and 4 Red-breasted Merganser. Noteworthy waders amounted to 74 Lapwing, 2 Knot (the first of the year), 21 Bar-tailed Godwit. 31 Skylark was significantly higher than previous weeks suggesting a small early spring influx. The calm sunny weather allowed the observatory team to encounter a few other passerines including a single Song Thrush and a flock of 67 Twite. The warmth also encouraged swarms of flies to emerge at Westness where hundreds of Starlings gorged themselves, amongst them were at least two colour ringed individuals originating from Fair Isle.
Diver numbers were higher than usual with 10 Red-throated Diver, 15 Great Northern Diver and an adult winter Black-throated Diver in Nouster was a pleasant surprise as it's a scarce bird for the island. Further noteworthy species included 120 Eider, 19 Long-tailed Duck, and 245 Tysties (numbers are really increasing with returning adult winter and summer birds in even proportions). A colour ringed Shag from Fair Isle was a nice encounter. Waders of note included 51 Oystercatcher, 2 Knot and 2 Jack Snipe. Skylark numbers had increased to 49, a Song Thrush was at the observatory and a Rock Pipit was singing in Goo Geo, yet more signs of spring.
First and foremost a big welcome to Simon Davies, our new assistant warden, we look forward to a great time birding together! We've already begun on fixing the traps with his guidance and have made more progress on indoor work, continued with report writing and fixing mist nets. It's a busy and very productive time at the observatory at the moment.
On the bird front, 16 Red-throated Diver and 10 Great Northern Diver. Wildfowl: 2 Pink-footed Geese, White-fronted Goose, Green-winged Teal, 7 Long-tailed Duck, 14 Goldeneye, drake Smew, and 2 Red-breasted Merganser. The male Northern Harrier continues to delight and the first returning Lesser Black-backed Gull of the year was another promising sign of spring to come. Further noteworthy species included 370 Golden Plover, 5 Knot, 148 Great Black-backed Gull, 9 Twite, 6 Snow Buntings.