A calmer couple of days albeit with the still brisk wind remaining steadfastly cold and firmly in the NW; there was however some signs of wildfowl on the move with many species showing increased counts around the lochs on the 13th including the first 3 Garganey (a drake and 2 females) of the year on Hooking along with island figures of 2 Whooper Swans, 22 Pink-footed Geese (with a flock of 19 near Howar), 783 Greylag Geese, 9 Gadwall, 18 Shoveler and 30 Tufted Duck while the single Goldeneye remained and 6 Red-throated Divers and 15 Great-northern Divers were counted on calmer seas.
A few wader species were also up including 274 Oystercatchers, 343 Golden Plover, 154 Purple Sandpipers and 409 Turnstone while a Water Rail was squealing away in Brides. Landbirds of note largely consisted of lingering birds but some turnover was evident with counts of 6 Woodpigeons, 7 Rock Pipits, 57 Pied Wagtails, 3 Robins, 33 Wheatears, 52 Redwing, 3 Lapland Buntings and single Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Snow Bunting.
Merlin, photo Simon Davies
The 14th was a pretty nice day with plenty of sunshine but also plenty of showers to keep us on our toes; the first Swallow of the year was the most notable new arrival while the rest of the day’s highlights consisted of lingering quality with the Northern Harrier drifting around, the Green-winged Teal still on Gretchen and a pair of Garganey still on Hooking.
Other birds of note in no particular order consisted of 3 Merlins, the huge, young female Peregrine again, 5 Woodpigeons, a bit of a corvid influx with 3 Rooks and 6 Carrion Crows, 43 Redwing, a smart male Brambling, an increased roost count of 170 Linnets, 5 Snow Buntings and the 3 Lapland Buntings still.
Bar-tailed Godwit, photo Simon Davies
'perhaps you should check the wind direction before vomiting on someone'?!