Tuesday, 11 April 2017

9th and 10th April

A reasonable morning on the 9th before a band of rain moved in just after lunch saw a trickle of new birds across the island including the first Blackcap of the year at Bewan and the first Collared Dove of the year at Holland; a varied spread of other landbird migrants comprised 2 Woodpigeons, a Sand Martin, 315 Meadow Pipits, 9 Rock Pipits, 50 Pied Wagtails, 27 Wheatears, 32 Redwing, 2 Chiffchaffs, a mobile flock of 6 Carrion Crows and single Snow Bunting and Lapland Bunting.

Blackcap, photo Larissa Simulik

                The usual mix of other bits and pieces included a ringtail Hen Harrier, 3 Merlins up the west coast (one of which caught a Redwing), the drake Green-winged Teal still, a decent count of 24 Red-breasted Mergansers and at least 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls which have been a bit slow in getting going this spring while a pod of 2-3 Risso’s Dolphins were close inshore off Torness.

                With the returning and victorious Green Champions of the Flyway team the coverage of the island leapt up from good to comprehensive the following day, so a decent spread of migrants were dug out despite the strong and very cold NW wind making things tricky out in the field; an early morning seawatch produced more Auks bombing past the north end including 125 Puffins and 1,293 Guillemot/Razorbills.

                The Northern Harrier is generating a range of speculation concerning its continued presence on the island – will he leave at all this year, well not just yet as he was drifting around all over the place today along with the ringtail Hen Harrier, 3 Merlins and single Sparrowhawk and Peregrine (a huge female who caught a Lapwing at Phisligar).   A single Barnacle Goose was new for the year when it flew in from the south while the Whooper Swan and Pink-footed Goose were still with 733 Greylag Geese.

                Landbird migrant totals through the day included 6 Woodpigeons, 277 Meadow Pipits, a White Wagtail with 46 Pied Wagtails, an increased 64 Redwings, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Goldcrests and 4 Snow Buntings while the Green-winged Teal remained, 9 Red-throated Divers and 3 Great-northern Divers were offshore and a single Grey Plover was seen.
This Peregrine really didn't want to relinquish her Lapwing breakfast but did in the end!  photo Simon Davies

While this Merlin was certainly more determined to hold onto his Redwing prize when accidentally flushed.  photo Simon Davies

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